LIVE: Iggy Pop Is Worth a Million in Prizes (3/16/2016)
Post Pop Depression comes to SXSW.
March 16, 2016
Iggy Pop’s body is sixty-eight years old. And it looks it, to a certain extent—when he removes his blazer on stage at Austin’s Moody Theater, revealing the world’s most famous torso, he’s slightly bent, a little hunched, that saran-wrapped flesh sagging ever so slightly.
But his body does not move as though it’s sixty-eight years old. Pop bursts—positively bursts—onto stage to the pound of “Lust for Life,” throwing kung-fu punches and furtive kicks and skipping across the stage. He exhorts the crowd, throwing his hands in the air and craning his arms in a scarecrow pose. And when he finally settles in to sing, he lurches into that opening line with all of the menace and swagger he brought to the Lust for Life sessions thirty-nine years ago; Johnny Yen is here again.
While it hasn’t been impossible to see Iggy on stage in recent years—the reconstituted Stooges have been a staple of the festival circuit since 2003—his recent partnership with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme seems to have reinvigorated Pop’s interest in his solo work; half of the set is taken from his 1977 double shot of Lust for Life and The Idiot, both of which were produced by David Bowie, and he eschews Stooges material entirely.
The set is bolstered by the moody and existential dry-heat of Post Pop Depression, his Homme-produced new record. Homme is on stage playing the sideman, but aside from a smattering of backing vocals, he stays in the shadows, leading Pop’s ferociously loud band. The group, which Homme assembled for the tour, easily massage the Depression tracks in with the older material, churning through both with the brute efficiency of a garbage compactor. When Pop exits the stage at the end of his opening set, Homme and guitarist Matt Sweeney add an instrumental coda to “China Girl,” each of them pulling harsh tones and braiding them together like strips of cheap foil.
Pop has intimated that this may be his last album and tour, and, to be sure, it’s hard to imagine him being able to put his body through this set for much longer; by the end of the night, he’s lurching across the stage, even grabbing a seat for “Nightclubbing.” But then, about halfway through the song, he kicks the stool away, and for the rest of the night the only time he’s not on his feet is when he’s diving into the crowd to surf. It feels like an honor to watch him fight. FL
“Lust for Life”
“In the Lobby”
“Some Weird Sin”
“Break Into Your Heart”
“Fall in Love With Me”