Iggy & the Stooges
Iggy & the StoogesMohawk, Wednesday, March 13
You can all go home now. The conference is over. The world's greatest rock & roll band has played. No one else matters. Iggy Pop wanted to debut material from the 40-years-overdue follow-up to Raw Power at SXSW. He got his wish, even forcing bassist Mike Watt to come home from his own European tour. And with hardly a fuss, they're off: "Raw Power," bam, James Williamson riffing like a hyperthyroid Dave Davies, with Watt and drummer Toby Dammit deputized for brotherly rhythm section Scott and the late Ron Asheton. Funhouse saxman Steve Mackay, now a full Stooge, honks and drones à la Coltrane beside Williamson, Iggy charging hard at the mic, a Tasmanian devil uncaged and unleashed. The energy doesn't relent through the cooldown of "Gimme Danger." Three songs in, the first new track, "Burn." Over the course of an hour, no one's phoning this in. Iggy's pacing himself, not quite the manic hellion of old, but he's only slowed down in comparison to his own past. He concentrates on delivering that death-house baritone, then giving the popping eyes and flashing feet, still occasionally falling into the audience (to be dragged back by overzealous roadies). He walks offstage a second, and a pedal steel player sets up next to Watt, looking straight out of Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours, with Williamson moving to lap steel. Iggy walks back, and the Stooges deliver a somber new tribute to Ron Asheton, complete with an atmospheric rewrite of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and funeral-march drums. Then a trifecta: "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "Search and Destroy," and an encore segueing "Fun House" into a "No Fun" that resembled the Sex Pistols' powerslam remake. It's over, kids. Go home. The Stooges have spoken.