paulwitcover (paulwitcover) wrote in theinferior4,
paulwitcover
paulwitcover
theinferior4

  • Music:

The Church of Iggy

 Not quite "Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here" . . . 

 This is the sign outside Manhattan's splendiferous United Palace Theater, home to gonzo showman Reverend Ike and, last night, for one night only, the stomping grounds of the reconstituted Stooges.

 This glitzy, gold-drenched honeycomb of a church, formerly one of five Loew's Wonder Theaters, was the perfect spot for the Rock Iguana and his band to tear through a frenetic set of loud, driving punk, in which the shirtless Igster, he of the perenially low-slung jeans, let his freak-flag fly not once but twice.  Gimme Danger indeed!

 The band -- with originals Ron Asheton on guitar, brother Scott bashing away on drums, and Steve Mackay on sax, joined by ex-Minuteman Mike Watt on bass -- was seething with the dark and violent energy mostly missing from their new album, The Weirdness.  Iggy, alternately boinging around the stage like a spastic Daffy Duck on steroids and stalking the proscenium edge like some demented preacher from the pages of Blood Meridian (the Judge, anyone?) was, as always, mesmerizing to watch, a fearless performer who did not hesitate, at the age of 60, to fling himself repeatedly into the crowd.  

 Asheton (otherwise known as "Number 29") didn't move around much, but his ferocious guitar playing was incendiary.  Mike Watt complemented him perfectly, and even though I imagine it's a bit of a drag to work for Iggy, he seemed to be totally enjoying himself on stage, weaving his own little black magic circle of dread and destruction.  Mackay's sax gave everything a  spooky snarling undercurrent, some sonic barbed wire strewn across the no-man's land of bass and guitar.  After kick-ass back-to-back versions of Now I Wanna Be Your Dog, TV-Eye, and Dirt, they launched into No Fun -- and Iggy invited the audience up onstage.  There must have been well over 100 people crammed up there, a seething mosh pit of barely controlled aggro.  Iggy was in the thick of it, riding it, snarling out the lyrics as people all around him toppled or dived or were shoved from the stage and equal or greater numbers of people fought their way on.  It was wild!  The man was fearless. 

From that moment on, there was an exhilarating sense of some shocking disaster just seconds from occurring -- this for the remainder of the show.  Chairs were flung on stage from the standing room section (who the hell left free-standing chairs, or anything not bolted down, out for audience members to throw?  I guess that shit just doesn't go down at one of Reverend Ike's sermons!).  

By the end of the night, Iggy was limping, battered but unbowed, his jeans dropping to half-mast or lower as he dumped bottles of water over himself.  

Finally, alone on stage, he took a long bow, loathe to leave the scene . . .  and nobody in that audience was eager for him to go anytime soon, either. 

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