Telluric Chaos

Iggy Pop And The Stooges

Skydog, 2005

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


At least nobody is throwing a beer bottle at the stage this time.

The last time the Stooges played onstage was at the infamous double set of shows documented on Metallic K.O. in 1974, right before the band fell apart. In 2003, Iggy Pop reunited with the guys on four tracks for his solo album Skull Ring, which then led to a tour with four of the original five Stooges (minus Dave Alexander, of course, who died in 1975, and James Williamson, who played guitar on Raw Power but was not part of this reboot).

So that leaves Iggy, the Asheton brothers, and sax blower Steve Mackay. The quartet powers through the majority of The Stooges, Fun House, three songs from Skull Ring, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 and a new track. The name is meant to evoke memories of the other live album – say TelluricChaos and MetallicKO quickly, one after the other – but this time the band is far less sloppy and the Tokyo crowd is clearly receptive to these proto-punk, proto-grunge, foulmouthed heroes.

Now, that doesn’t mean the band has suddenly become mature or anything; they barely rounded the corner from “competent” a few minutes before the show. And where the studio albums had at least a hint of dynamics, favoring a similar approach to the basic rock songs but with some variation, here those differences are ironed out in ear-bleeding fashion. Loud, crude, and basic, these are the Stooges we know and love, and it’s great to finally hear them back together.

Both the classic albums are played almost in their entirety, with only the experimental tracks missing (and completely not missed). It’s a joy to hear the band tear through the classics like “T.V. Eye,” “Loose,” “1969” and “1970,” “No Fun,” “Fun House,” and the closing “Not Right.” For some reason, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” makes two appearances, but with limited material to choose from, I suppose one repeat was inevitable, and the crowd digs it.

2003’s Skull Ring was one of Iggy’s better solo albums and is worth looking at if you’re a casual fan of his, and both the title track and “Rock Star” slot in nicely with the older material here. “Electric Chair” is a fun romp with inane lyrics, while new track “Idea Of Fun” just continues the themes without really building on them. For his part, Iggy curses and howls and whoops and even sings a bit, occasionally baiting the crowd, who respond with cheers because they expect it now (whereas in 1974, it got him into a fistfight with a biker gang).

In short, if you’re a Stooges or Detroit rock fan, this is worth hearing, if only because the original band is back together and because it’s so difficult to find these songs live. Those new to the band may not get it (and should start with Fun House anyway), but for longtime fans it’s a treat.

Rating: B

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