Photography and review courtesy Joe Stadele for TWTHS. Photos may not be used without consent and credit. Published April 8th, 2016.
I remember seeing Iggy Pop at the New Rock Fest ‘97 in Milwaukee, WI. At the time, Pop was 49 years old and coming off the resurgence with the release of the hit cult film, Trainspotting, which featured Berlin-era tracks like “Nightclubbing” and “Lust For Life.” He amped up the audience atop a stack of Marshall amps and with the exception of Beck, he outperformed a majority of the younger acts which he shared the stage. Fast forward 19 years later and Iggy Pop is still at it; still sans shirt, still manically engaging the audience and still outperforming the very people he influenced. Monday night’s stop at Northrup Auditorium was pure energy and celebration that spoke to Pop’s vitality and influence.
For the uninitiated, Iggy Pop’s Post Pop Depression is a collaboration with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. On the surface, it is a QOTSA album with Iggy on vocals. Scratch a little deeper and it is the sound of a musician collaborating with an artist he truly admires and wants to place back on that pedestal of greatness. In every sense, Homme succeeds as Post Pop Depression is Pop’s strongest album in decades. With album contributors Dean Fertita (QOTSA) and Matt Helders (The Arctic Monkeys), plus Troy Van Leeuwen (QOTSA) and Matt Sweeney (Zwan/Chavez/Slint) the Post Pop Depression Tour resurrects the best of Pop’s Berlin-era David Bowie collaborations with the new album.
“Turn the house lights on, let me see everybody! Oh shit…leave them on for a minute. Wow! Fucking, thank you for coming out! Fucking thank you!” said Iggy Pop.
From the top of the show there was an air of excitement in the room. As the lights dimmed, Native American Pow Wow chanting pushed through the deep red curtains of the Northrop Auditorium. The curtains opened to the tune of “Lust For Life” and revealed the band donning matching red brocade tuxedo jackets. Pop emerged from the upstage darkness in a black jacket; wasting little time whipping the audience into a frenzy. The jacket didn’t last long. After “Sister Midnight” Pop was warmed up, shirtless and ready to cut into Post Pop Depression.
The new tracks sound decisively Queens of the Stone Age-esque yet feel contemporary among the bounce and immediacy of songs culled from Lust For Life and The Idiot. The use of vintage amps helped connect the new and old. PPD’s punch-chugging “Sunday” and brooding “German Days” felt relative among “Tonight” and “Mass Production.” “Gardenia” was the clear singalong as the audience chanted along with Iggy. There’s no mistaking the power of the timeless; everyone in the audience knew “Nightclubbing,” “Lust For Life,” “The Passenger” and “China Girl.”
Despite the obvious star power and sound of Josh Homme, not to mention the pure musicianship of everyone in the band, the men remained servants to Pop’s music.
Homme’s backing vocals melded nicely along Pop, yet never overpowering. All the men took turns on refrains. Troy Van Leeuwen played the part of multi-instrumentalist, adding Bowie-esque horns to “Sister Midnight” and “Mass Production,” steelpan drums to “American Valhalla” and keys, tambourine and guitar support where needed. Only after Iggy left the stage for “China Girl” did the band walk downstage in heat of an extended jam session.
At nearly 69 years of age (as of April 21st), Iggy Pop claims Post Pop Depression will be his last album. There is an elegance and appreciation to seeing an artist cap off their storied career on an artistically high note. In the wake of David Bowie, Iggy Pop has out-lived many of his contemporaries and as demonstrated on the Northrop stage, he continues to out-perform generations of musicians he inspired. With the support of Homme and Company, this tour shows Iggy Pop at his absolute best.
Lust for Life
In the Lobby
Some Weird Sin
Break Into Your Heart
Fall in Love With Me