If I’d been waiting for something to blow my hair back, I did finally get my wish, and not in the place I had expected. While I might have thought that a young tenacious little upstart band might surprise me, it was actually The Stooges, that 70s outfit of now very-middle aged dudes fronted by shirtless wonder Iggy Pop, that really caught me off guard.
Almost as soon as it was announced that the venerable proprietors of punk rock would be playing at South by Southwest, in conjunction with promoting their new album “The Weirdness,” a line started forming around Stubb’s. And when I arrived, a few hours before the show, the line extended down the street and around the corner. While some concert-goers declared the line “sucktastic” and moved on to other venues, those of us who saw it through experienced The Stooges’ unmistakable fierceness as they cranked out classics like “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Lust For Life.”
Iggy paraded out on stage, bare-chested, running from end to end of the stage and jumping into the crowd. When he jumped into the pit of photographers in the front, every flashbulb in the house went off, and it’s a wonder a riot didn’t break out.
In comparison to the act that played before them, the Austin-based band Spoon, the Stooges were a shot of pure adrenaline. Not that Spoon didn’t put on a terrific performance, or prove their musical talent and worthiness, and not that there weren’t some die hard know-all-the-lyrics Spoon fans in the audience, but the crowd had come for Iggy.
It seems that bands of The Stooges’ era have a different mentality about what makes a great concert. It’s more than just a performance, it’s more than a lot of flashing lights and choreography, it’s more than just sounding good – it’s about being there, in the moment, with the fans. The Stooges were there, and they let you know it.