TV Party - I

IGGY AND THE STOOGES - A Tribute To Ron Asheton {MVD} This is a rather smart package featuring a concert recorded in Ann Arbor on 19 April 2011 by IGGY AND THE STOOGES as a tribute to the band’s former guitarist who died two years previously. I was a little bit dubious about its quality - especially in light of the piss poor performance (well, Iggy’s at least) on the ‘Raw Power’ DVD from the initial reformation of this line-up and the opening sequences of interview snippets with the likes of HENRY ROLLINS, Jim Jarmusch and Deniz Tek which, while respectful were a tad predictable.
The gig itself opens with MC Henry Rollins followed by Ron’s brother Scott doing a speech that culminates with, "God loves the STOOGES." Rollins returns for a very verbose, very respectful but a bit OTT speech before staying with the band to blast out a damaged, brutal ‘I Got At Right’. Without a break, the ‘Raw Power’ riff cranks out and on comes Iggy dancing like a ballerina on speed. What is instantly noticeable is that this is already infinitely better than the ‘Raw Power’ DVD. Highlights include ‘Search And Destroy’ that literally goes off like a nuclear A-bomb with guitars that simply scorch, ‘Open Up And Bleed’ that’s lurching, precise and soooo dirty while ‘Shake Appeal’ gets the now ubiquitous stage invasion.
Interestingly, ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ is enhanced by an orchestra that sticks around for a few tracks. They add an excellent melodrama to those nihilistic, droning chords while ‘TV Eye’ is not only given an orchestral introduction but includes Deniz Tek (of RADIO BIRDMAN if ya don’t know!) cranking out the guitar jams. Iggy does a speech before something called ‘Ron’s Theme’ appears, which is simply James Williamson playing slide guitar on an acoustic and an Iggy vocal that comes on like Lou Reed. The gig ends with ‘No Fun’ that has Williamson and Tek relentlessly riffing and another stage invasion before a total white out gives way to the credits.
It’s a brutal, emotional and impressive performance filmed on about six cameras with good sound.
There are extras, but they don’t live up to the stunning gig. You get what was the support band, SPACE AGE TOASTERS doing lame versions of ‘1969’ and ‘Little Doll’. Then there are interviews with Rollins who, essentially repeats the speech he did at the start of the show but in interview format; Ken Haas of Reverend Guitars; film director Jim Jarmusch and finally a way too short chat with Deniz Tek. The questions are a bit lame, but worth a watch.
There’s also an 8-page booklet with stills from the gig and credits and another piece from Rollins.
Ultimately, this is all about the gig and, as said above, it’s an incendiary performance but one that is also laced with a vague gravitas. The whole package is very respectful, very well constructed and, some slightly poor interview questions aside, highly recommended. As a bonus, all profits from the sale of the DVD will be donated to the Ron Asheton Foundation. If the music is not impetus enough to get this, that surely must.  (29.06.14)

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