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DVD Review: Iggy and the Stooges - "Raw Power Live"

October 18, 2011
Iggy and the Stooges
Raw Power Live
MVD Visual


Just about every ’60s legend that hit the road over the last few decades, from the Stones to the Who, could have taken a lesson from the Stooges. When the original lineup that made The Stooges and Funhouse was resurrected (with Minutemen bassist Mike Watt in the place of the deceased Dave Alexander) in 2003, they were nearly as savage as they’d ever been. With no horn sections, no backup singers, and no auxiliary keyboard army to dilute the energy, at their rippingest the Stooges are contenders for the best rock ’n’ roll band to ever take the stage.

By 2010, original guitarist Ron Asheton, the forever-reigning king of psych-punk guitar, had passed away. But James Williamson, who took over the guitar throne for Asheton for the band’s most famous album, 1972’s Raw Power, was back in the fold. And in September 2010, the band performed the record in its entirety at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Monticello, New York.

That performance is captured on Iggy and the Stooges, Raw Power Live. And while the DVD doesn’t quite capture the crazed electricity in the building that night, it’s a study in how vital a band can remain when they shed the glitz and strip things to their essence. The centerpiece is, needless to say, the impossibly ageless Iggy, who despite what looks like a nasty limp at times, throws himself at the crowd and at and off of monitor towers like a berserker under a voodoo spell. Mike Watt and original Stooge drummer Scott Asheton add up to an amphetamine steamroller on most tunes, and a scary low-and-slow-riding Cadillac junker in others, including the smoldering set highlight “I Need Somebody.”

The DVD includes fan interviews that reveal a thoughtfully reflective Iggy, Scott, and Asheton talking about making Raw Power, and the aspirations of assimilating free jazz, electric blues, and primitive instrumentation that brought the band together before they evolved into one of the most brutally rockin’ combos of all time.

Must-hear-track:
“Your Pretty Face is Going to hell”