Suicide - The line to get in was crowded with really old weather beaten guys who clearly look like bare minimum survivors from the punk era. Really a good vibe which you can see at other Stooges shows, but not with this concentration thanks to the great London punk scene. When I hit my balcony seat, it was a bit more diverse with a couple of younger Italian guys next to me and some people in front who I would've guessed were Deadheads if not for their stooges t-shirts. Anyway, the pre-punk electronic confrontationalists from NYC hit the stage. They do their first and pivotal album in full with Martin Rev running keyboards, electronics and loops and Alan Vega at the mic. I was not expecting the intense club shows they used to do due to the venue size and maybe their age, the music did the job more than well. The sound was great with lots of throbbing electronica. The Italian guys among others around me left to take a break or whined about things before going. The music still has the power to confront and annoy and be very cool and interesting. I enjoyed it and I did see at least two Suicide t-shirts. So some people enjoyed it and got and the others didn't, which just left us more to "get", if you get my meaning.
Iggy and the Stooges - I saw the reformed Stooges a couple of times when they toured a few years back and caught Iggy and Ron separately in the old punk days. The recent shows were spectacular, absolutely monumental achievements that I am so happy not to have missed. Ron Asheton's death was a sad blow to their continuation, except for one odd deja vu situation. Iggy wanted to work with James Williamson prior to their third lp, Raw Power, and up pulling the Ashetons in for that effort. Ron did not want James as part of the new Stooges, although James was willing to do some work. Then Ron dies and James gets offered a good early retirement package (like I did). So now, Mike Watt fills in for the second deceased bass player (mayber third.. Recca, Zettner?) and we have the new Raw Power lineup. They were here to play the album in full starting with the title cut, then proceeding pretty much in order. The crowd was pumped and the band was hot. Iggy was Iggy and I was impressed that the voice and energy was good on the second straight sold out night. He did not do two shows in a row on previous tours. But he was up for crowd surfing dives, crazed dancing, fans on stage, all their classics. And how he manages those pants, I am not sure I even want to know. I was getting such a unique feeling with the second Stooges version. Although, it is not my favorite version, it is a fascinating different style very key to Detroit rock I believe. After the album, they just continued to let it rip with Cock in my Pocket/I Gotta Right/I Wanna Be Your Dog/1970/LA Blues/an instrumental maybe from Kill City/Beyond the Law/Open Up and Bleed. Awesome songs, enough from the earlier albums and killer material from the unreleased or oddly released stuff of the later era. I was dearly hoping for Open Up and Bleed which is only available from live shows and was thrilled when they went into the snake charming riffs. They encored with Fun House and Kill City which is a nice funky combo to send everyone home with. Glourious, essential music. Mike Watt is kind of the guy people like me from my era look up to as getting to live out his/our fantasy. At the end of the night, he took his bass in one hand and pumped his fist while jumping up and down which was the perfect meeting of minds with me. Do see this band when they hit the States, hopefully later this year.
Signs surrounding the Show: Ever observant of quirky coincidences, I did spot a scalper selling Stooges tickets while a pizza delivery guy rode his bike by with the oddly worded "Raw Pizza" on the box on the back of his bike. Then on the train to Edinburgh after the show, I saw a billboard for an insurance company with two crazy looking individuals and one of them had to be Iggy. If not, he could win a lawsuit, especially in the UK.