CAN IGGY REALLY BE TURNING 68 ??!
As the opening credits of MVD Visual’s DVD state, (and I quote), "On September 3, 2010, Iggy and the Stooges performed Raw Power live in Monticello, New York. Six fans filmed the concert and interviewed Iggy and the Stooges after the show."
Really then! A concept so crystalline in both its simplicity and beauty – much like this month’s birthday boy himself, one such as myself could argue. But the result is mountains above and beyond the ultimate DIY epic for Generation YouTube: What we have here is a real-time and, of course, real LOUD (thanks in no small part to the work of audio recordist Max Bisgrove) down 'n' dirty antidote to all those precious Jonathan Demme-style concert films regularly being awarded art-house praises and prizes.
Raw Power Live: In The Hands Of The Fans is in fact, with all apologies to The TAMI Show, the best on-screen rendering of rock 'n' roll I have ever seen.
First off, we are introduced to the six esteemed camera(wo)men/filmmakers themselves:
But enough of this yakkin'! It's time to cut straight to, in bassist Mike Watt's words, the small Borscht-belt town of Monticello and a pad called Kutsher's for this 70-minute concert rendition of Raw Power and then some which is both furious and fabulous in both its, well, power and rawness. I mean, what else can one expect from a set list which kicks completely off with "Raw Power," "Search and Destroy," "Gimme Danger" and then "Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell," I ask you?!
Next though, things get even more raw as Iggy invites the audience – that is, as many as the startled security staff will allow – to join his Stooges on stage for "Shake Appeal" (I wonder if Edwin Samuelson made it this time?). The accompanying mosh-eye-view offers all the unmistakable cinematic aesthetics of your standard riot police surveillance footage …that is, until Mr. Pop asks "the talented and personable New York State dancers" to exit at song's end (and, in true New York State fashion, few oblige).
It should be noted however that Iggy doesn't return the favor by leaping off stage, in his own time-tested inimitable way, until twenty seconds into "Death Trip." But by then we've already been treated to a deliciously cheesy/sleazy rendition of "I Need Somebody" which would not sound one inch out of place in that peeler bar a block behind your local bus station. James Williamson's trademark teeth-pulling guitar work reaches all new depths of delight on both this and the Sun Ra-by-way-of Mothers of Invention "Night Theme" which follows Iggy's refreshing mid-"1970 (I Feel Alright)" Evian water bath. P.S.: Special mention must be made here to accompanying saxman-in-the-shadows Steve Mackay for helping keep the John Coltrane/Harry Partch portion of the equation alive and honking.
"Beyond the Law," "I Got A Right," "I Wanna Be Your Dog" (complete with completely crazed audience sing-along) and an encore "Fun House" wherein Iggy delivers "a message to Heaven; to James Brown: Hey James? Lemme in!" and quicker than it all started there's just "No Fun" left for the good citizens of Monticello.
But we the viewer still have forty-four minutes of post-gig interviews with Iggy, James and Scott "Rock Action" Asheton to enjoy, during which we discover the "template" for "Death Trip" was none other than Frankie Ford's 1959 "Sea Cruise" …not to mention Mr. Goldman learning all about those notorious fade-outs, of course.
It must go without even saying that Raw Power, to say nothing of Iggy Pop himself, seems to have aged not one iota since those g(l)ory days of '73. But what is surprising is just how perfectly this film captures every grunt, howl and lambaste of the original's pointed purpose, doing both the landmark album and its creators more than proud. Director/editors Joey Carey and Luis Valdes should immediately be awarded a trunkful of Oscars for bravely adhering to Iggy's "Fuck the dramatic hocus-pocus" edict throughout their production, I do say.
Because, as no less an authority as the head Stooge Himself proclaims, "This shit really sizzles and we are so obviously a crack band in a class of our own."
Raw Power Live is the living proof. Watch it today, and often.
And Happy 68, Iggy !