Friday, June 21, 2013

Savage Stooges

Last night I went to see Iggy and the Stooges supported by Savages at The Royal Festival Hall as part of the Yoko Ono-curated Meltdown Festival. If ever a night promised much, it was this one. If ever a night delivered much, it was this one...

I'd heard a lot about Savages, not least from Segs who had posted 'Shut Up' on the Ruts D.C. Facebook page and raved about them generally; the four black-clad figures who made their way onto the stage just after 7.30pm might have been boys, might have been girls, a quick 'Hi!' and we're into the first number, jagged bass and guitar lines colliding with syncopated drums with a solitary vocal soaring above, below, within you and without you. An hour later it ends and what a long strange trip it's been, where The Velvet Underground met Siouxsie And The Banshees at Joy Division's house for white light, speed and cupcakes. I think I liked them although I could be wrong; if I ever find myself with a bit of spare cash I'll buy their album and see if I can decide either way. It feels like it's the least that I can do.

Suddenly James Williamson's guitar is the loudest thing that any of us has ever heard - the opening riff of 'Raw Power' roars out as the rest of the band scramble into place, desperate to get their instruments fired up as Iggy Pop sprints across the stage, dancing to the beat of the living dead as the band that never bit the weenie soars into orbit around him. 'Gimme Danger little stranger' - the pace drops as the intensity rises, new songs follow old songs follow new songs follow old songs, huge slabs of sound ricochet around a room that can hardly contain what's happening within. Tonight 'Search And Destroy' isn't just the best song title ever, it's the best song ever, a tumultuous celebration of rock 'n' roll at it's most potent and powerful. Iggy wants the whole audience to join the band on stage for 'Fun House' and suddenly everybody wants to be in The Stooges, but surely everybody who's there is in The Stooges anyway - at least that's how it feels, it's us against the world and the world doesn't stand a chance. 'Joanna' and 'Beyond The Law' slam into 'Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell' and 'No Fun', 'I Wanna Be your Dog' is heavier than heavy, louder than loud, greater than great. After 'Sex And Money' from the new album 'Ready To Die' Iggy sneers 'you'll all like it in 40 years time' - but suppose we all like it now? Suppose the world finally caught up with The Stooges at last? What A Wonderful World this would be, as someone once sang. Meanwhile 'Open Up And Bleed' and 'The Departed' take the mood down below sea level before a bone-crushing 'Louie Louie' bombs out the last pockets of resistance. It's all over - or is it? No one leaves the stage - 'better play another song then' says our leader and an outrageous 'Cock In My Pocket' brings an unforgettable evening to a close. Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin, and The Stooges rule - ok?

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