A Heart Full of Napalm


12. Sep. 2007, 3:36

Tue 11 Sep – Iggy Pop, The Stooges

Well, I'm writing the review so immediately after the show that last.fm still won't let me add a review and I'm doing it in 'notepad' to add later. Just 15 minutes walk down the road from my apartment, just strolled back with a nice vibe inside me, listening to 'Fun House' now.

Fucking thank you, Iggy, Mike, Ron and Scott. Fucking yeah. Fucking cool.

The only other time I saw Iggy Pop perform was in Moscow too, in 2002, at an outdoor, all-day, festival of music; Russian bands all day, and Iggy at the end, and then too, he was saying shit like 'fucking spasibo' ('thank you' in Russian) and tonight it was 'fucking zdravstvuite' (i.e. 'fucking hello') as well as plain, in English, 'fucking thankyou'.

Incidentally, that festival was the very same festival at which a year later there were terrorist suicide bomb attacks, which you might have seen on the news. I was at that festival (with my boss again (see below)) but the crowd was kept inside in ignorance, and mobile networks shut down locally, to avoid a panic and crush to leave at which another bomb could potentially have been even worse (though terrible enough the 2 successful bombs were). So I didn't see or hear it, but the woman I love saw it happen right in front of her. Awful shit just to see that, but I'm thankful she wasn't nearer; but then others weren't so lucky with their loved ones as I. So I went off on a tangent that has nothing to do with tonight's show or really even Iggy Pop but fuck it.

Anyway, the year Iggy played, the previous year, was a lot happier, although most people left before he came on, because they were there for the big Russian bands. I, sadly, had been there so long with my boss of the time, who was back and forth to the bar with 2 beers each a time all day, that I spent a good part of Iggy's set seeking a prefab toilet, and then couldn't get back through the police cordon. But you don't give a shit about that either, but I'm just writing whatever comes into my head. But, anyway, tonight was properly focused on the man and his band, though in a way it was kind of sad that the crowd seemed to see it as an 'Iggy Pop show' and not quite appreciate what band they were seeing. In all the anticipation as the crowd grew to near bursting the place before they came on, the crowd kept entering into chants of 'Iggy, Iggy', but not once did I hear even one solitary shout of 'Stooges'. But, of course, this is fine. Probably a bunch of fans know it all, and then some have some idea, and then a mass just want Iggy, but why not?

And Mike fucking Watt was on the stage too, and he's maybe about as close to a rock'n'roll hero that I could have (probably I'm even more apt to put Iggy there too, after tonight) and the Minutemen, Mike Watt's first band, are probably my favourite band, though I love plenty of others, but for getting all the things together in one form, and evoking the approach to life that I most value, they probably do (did) it for me better than anyone else.

Fuck knows how many Russian kids at that show tonight have any idea of who the Minutemen were, let alone what other stuff Mike Watt has got up to and is still getting up to, and again they maybe would rather read here about Iggy Pop, or the Stooges, but I'm being a 'tangent fiend', wandering off wherever, what the fuck. Maybe people know at least that bit of the song 'Corona' from the Minutemen Double Nickels on the Dime, which is used for a theme for 'Jackass' (incidentally, Iggy said at one point tonight 'MTV......is bullshit!'). Probably some have been reading, downloading and listening because of his playing with the Stooges and probably some know through other stuff.

I saw two Black Flag t-shirts tonight, so there maybe are some people who know about all that california underground stuff of the 80's (and beyond California) and those great bands like Black Flag (SST Was their label), Minutemen, Saccharine Trust, but, for those who don't, after seeing Mike Watt tonight, go check out that stuff, go read about his bands Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Dos, the Unknown Instructors, his brief side-project in the 80's with members of Sonic Youth that was called Ciccone Youth and his later and latest projects Banyan and the Secondmen and the Missingmen, go check out his wikipedia page or his own hootpage or his myspace page or his internet radio show called 'the watt from pedro show' or watch some of his latest videos here (i like the 'Tied a reed round my waist' one best, where you watch his band in their rehearsal space, get to see him paddle a canoe around San Pedro harbour, and hang out and show you some artworks at Raymond Pettibon's apartment). Oh yeah, and if you're really serious, go and check out the DVD about the Minutemen called 'We Jam Econo' here and see a trailer for it here (or get friendly with me and you can come around to my apartment on Leninsky Prospekt and I'll show it to you). Or you could read the chapter on them in the book 'Our Band Could Be Your Life' (a line from a brilliant song by them) or even read Mike Watt's book 'Spiels of a Minuteman' (I have this at home too). Is that enough Mike Watt for you? You fuckers should get the chance to appreciate the bonus you got of having this man on stage in front of you, as well as having the original Stooges members, the Asheton brothers, as well as having Iggy Pop. This was even more of an event than maybe some realised.

So, Stooges. I can't remember everything, but the tracks I do remember are, from the 1969 album 'The Stooges': '1969', 'I Wanna Be Your Dog', 'Funhouse', 'No Fun', 'Real Cool Time' and 'Not Right'; from the 1970 album 'Fun House': 'TV Eye', 'Dirt', '1970', and I think they played 'LA Blues' and 'Funhouse' too;from the 1973 album 'Raw Power' I can't remember that they played anything (edit - later the day after I wrote this I watched some vids about Iggy Pop and the Stooges on YouTube and realised that this is of course because 'Raw Power' was not a project of the Asheton brothers, although, as I understand, they were eventually recruited to play on the album). I would, from that album, have loved to have heard 'Search and Destroy' (I love this song, and the title of this review is half of a line from it, but I was lucky enough that Iggy played it as the opener when he played that festival in 2002, which resulted me bemusing a line of cops standing right in front of me by pogoing to it drunkenly and singing along), 'Raw Power' and 'Shake Appeal', but who can complain, we got a bunch of great stuff tonight, and from their latest, 2007, album 'The Weirdness': 'My Idea Of Fun' and 'I'm Fried'. They also did Little Electric Chair, which is the opening track, and which is played with the Stooges, on Iggy Pop's album 'Skull Ring'.

So, I haven't even started a review.

It can seem a little weird in a way to see how much Iggy Pop is worshipped and treated almost like a god, certainly as some kind of icon, but I realised that might very well be natural, and it's simply because he represents, simply by living it himself, total shamelessness, lack of pretense, openness, straightforwardness, complete lack of any complexes. This is why he's the 'Godfather of Punk', because that's what punk is all about, although other things are and were about just that besides punk.

Our heroes, if we're sane, are those people who show us how we can break down the barriers and systems that keep us from a direct, grounded, honest and open relationship with our own lives and whatever they contain. Iggy was punk before punk not just because of the power and form of the music, but because of this total 'nakedness'. He gives himself up to a process of just going with whatever he feels, and the music, the words, the simplicity, the 'kicking loose', the youthfully enthusiastic jumping up and down and jiving around and waving at the audience and gesticulating and flexing and vocalising it all are just someone being as free and himself as can be.

And so it's true that all sorts of is just that; all sorts of other bands may have been very different in many ways, but the core and common thing was that letting go and being true: the Ramones with their poppy, singy, kind of twisted fun, the Screamers with their performance-art-like, theatrical, wacky but twisted and dark raving,Black Flag with their dark, no rules, sharp and sinister raging, the Minutemen with their down-to-earth, doing-it-for-each-other, unthreatening, unviolent, yet rollercoastering and racing and cuttingly aware and honest political and psychological analysis.

All these people just have the gift of an unashamed expression of a deep and sharply focused reaction within themselves, true to and purely of themselves, to their real-life context. It's just real, engaged, full, broad, deep and sharp awareness, and expressed with the minimum frills and bullshit and the maximum honesty. Mike Watt might use the word 'econo' here, as in 'we jam econo'. And it was interesting to see how Mike Watt onstage with the Stooges behaves and reacts differently to how he ever did with the Minutemen, fIREHOSE, or whoever, far more freaking out and almost trance-like, more
'rocking' and getting crazy, because he's in a different process (he might say a different 'river') and he's just letting himself go with it, and that's the beauty of any good music, any good art, and punk is the philosophy, or the simple feeling it and living it, of letting yourself go with whatever that 'flow' is inside you in reaction to the world to the maximum.

Total escape from bullshit external expectations and side issues.

The other side of this point, of course, is that all the bullshit music that takes the external form of punk these days and going back into the 90s, but is really just surface and more focused on getting adoration and money than any real expression, is not really at all. I bet you can click on that link for and see many such bands there.

Iggy just gave his all to the process, and bared himself to the crowd, and that's his power and his value to them, and why they (we) lapped it up and felt so good about it. Our freedom is there too, even if in some ways, for some people at least, it might only be potentiated. And that's what this music is about, and that's what the Stooges were/are, and why they were so radical in their early days that they were generally rejected by most everyone.

Total freedom, with absolute no-bullshit honesty and utter openness to others.

He loved the crowd as much as they loved him, and was fully focused on them, smiled and paid attention to them, and loved them doing their own thing. He even picked out some kids he knew would go for it to dance and sing on stage with him, two guys joining him for 'No Fun' and one little guy, almost a kid, joining in for the second performance of 'I wanna be your dog', which Iggy decided to play again as the final track, because he saw how much the crowd loved it the first time. And he just let these kids do what they wanted, and it worked so well, and he helped them so well, and he obviously had been paying attention to the crowd and had a real eye for who would do it well (that kid at the end, when Iggy got on his hands and knees like a dog, went over and did some inspired spanking (he posted a video of it himself on youtube, although the spanking part was unfortunately before what you see here)).

There was a real sense that he's really engaged with the audience in a way that maybe no one else ever is, and it's all again just a part of this total openness, no bullshit, immediacy and reality.

That's punk, and it's existed, somewhere or other, in some form or other, as long as humankind has existed.

And great to see this mass of people in this country, where you might get the wrong impression that narrow proclamations of how you should live and be decent are pushed too heavily onto people by the 'heavyweights' who pontificate and pass judgement all over the place. This would be 'razlozheniye obshestva' (decay of society) not just to square-headed soviet stiflers, but also to many who carry on to this day in the same tradition in positions of influence here, even if they claim to be of a new breed. But this is freedom, and freedom leads to real perception, and real perception leads to real intelligence, and here's some hope that Russia can shake off some of that stifling shell that weighs it down. Here are kids lapping up the Stooges and loving that openness and honesty, and freedom for all, and who know that all those rules of how they are supposed to be decent people are just too narrow, too simple, too bullshit, and that 'fucking yeah' is as intelligent a phrase as any of those self-important speeches.

Fucking thank you to the Stooges.

(edit) here's a link to photos taken by realMAcroS


and a link to a video posted by constttlinoleum


and you'll see around 25 other videos of the night there too.

edit - and here's a rough translation of alenitchev's review of the event. No judgement either way is intended by me or required of the reader; I just thought it was a great evocation of the youthful freedom that this is all about

An account of, a report about...that event, on account of which people left their women, gave away everything they have...is difficult...:) It so happened that this event coincided with my first trip on ecstasy...It just worked out that way...A concert in a club, a club narcotic, so I gave it a try. :) After work I went home for the tickets, which had been forgotten on account of an active weeklong drinking binge. I managed to get hold of the tablet on the way.

It came on somewhere around 'Prospekt Mira', so that is to say that the feelings from my first trip on ecstasy were with me the whole time, and even now the impressions are not small...:)...I'll start off by saying that everything-everthing-everything was punk. Absolutely everything. The girl that was accompanying me (a well-loved 'friend') took offense at the vomit that I left near the entrance, for the pleasure of the cops, security and other punks. I met loads of amazing people. I was called a 'beauty'. I fell in love, I drank myself stupid, I was surrounded by people who understood me, I was in seventh heaven from happiness. I started various kinds of relationships with various people, and all the time I was flying around in my own dream world. I didn't see anything, but at the same time I felt everything. Iggy Pop rocked out on the stage. I jumped, waved my arms, and got up to some shit near the bar...:)

It really was an excellent punk rock show. The huge store of energy that I had brought with me transformed into an even bigger quantity, which stayed with me forever after leaving this spectacle.


  • ulyanoff

    I love your reports man, thanx, keep on, please. After the concert I felt reaaly happy with my lip injured, my watch fucked up and my t-shirt ripped. that was a real thing. and this has been a great year in terms of concerts, a lot to remember

    12. Sep. 2007, 7:24
  • jheisel

    great gig, great review. let's meet at some gig, i'll buy you a beer. send me a message if interested...

    12. Sep. 2007, 15:17
  • carcade

    I really like your reviews very much.

    17. Sep. 2007, 22:31
  • Abstraktions

    that was inspirational, just reading that. Fucking excellent, man.

    20. Sep. 2007, 17:52
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