Saturday, October 1, 2011

DVD Review: IGGY & THE STOOGES: RAW POWER LIVE IN THE HANDS OF FANS (2011)

IGGY AND THE STOOGES
RAW POWER LIVE IN THE HANDS OF FANS (2010)

LABEL: MVD Visual
REGION CODE: 1 NTSC
RATING: Unrated
DURATION: 81 mins
AUDIO:Dolby Digital 2.0. 51
VIDEO: 16:9 Widescreen
DIRECTOR:Joey Carry

Filmed towards the end of their 2010 reunion tour RAW POWER LIVE IN THE HANDS OF FANS captures Iggy and the Stooges blistering live performance of the classic RAW POWER (1973) album at the All Tomorrow's Parties Festival in Monticello, New York. The performance was filmed by six contestants who entered an online contest for a chance to both meet and document the band at this very performance. The show kicks off all guns blazing as Iggy and the Stooges pummel through "Raw Power" and right into a fiery rendition of the anthemic "Search and Destroy" without missing a beat. Iggy prowls the stage with a gimpy spastic energy, surely rock n' roll must be the fountain of youth because Iggy's 63 and his on-stage antics would tire a younger man of twenty. RAW POWER era guitarist James Williamson fills the void left by founding guitarist Ron Asheton who passed on early 2009. Williamson who also played on Iggy's fantastic solo LP NEW VALUES (1979) wields his guitar like an precision stone-age club, his playing is spot-on and razor sharp with screaming solos and crushing riffs non-stop. On the rhythm section is original founding member Scott Asheton propelling the band with a neanderthal stomp that anchors Mike Watt's snaky groove firmly pushing the rock cacophony along towards total annihilation. Also joining the band is FUNHOUSE era saxophonist Steve Mackay who's wailing is deeply felt throughout the set, particularly the FUNHOUSE and KILL CITY material.

The Stooges are definitely a band I adore and when I say they were on fire this night it's no mere empty adoration, the proof is righ there on screen and pumping through surrounds. Iggy can still work a crowd into a frenzy while pulling fans onstage during "Shake Appeal" or crooning the gritty blues number "I Need Somebody", the band sounds fantastic throughout and the serpentine "Penetration" sounded particularly awesome this night. The entirety of RAW POWER album is performed albeit with some tinkering to the track listing.


It's great to hear the tunes from RAW POWER cranked out but the album that I most often blast in my car is FUNHOUSE (1970). It a primal art-punk masterpiece that channels the Stooges jazz influences so I was psyched to hear the band bust out  "1970" and "Funhouse" plus classics like "I Wanna Be Your Dog" from THE STOOGES (1969) which stills peels paint, love that riff! Enthusiasts are in for a treat as they not only pull from their three major albums but even dust off some very cool post-Stooges tunes in the form of the saxxed-up instrumental "Night Theme" and "Beyond the Law" from the Pop/Williamson demo session KILL CITY (1975) then right into "I Got a Right" from the semi-official bootleg METALLIC K.O. (1976) from which we also get a powerful rendition of "Open Up and Bleed". It's a blistering show and it climaxes with a the dirty stoner-stomp of "No Fun". There's not a misstep to be found this night, the band sounds tight, dangerous and exhilarating from there word go.

DVD: The concert film is presented in 16:9 widescreen. As per the title the cinematography is in the hands of the six contestants but I gotta say it's impressively coherent all things considered and captures the visceral concert experience quite admirably. Audio options include a choice of either Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1 Surround mixes and for the purpose of this review I opted just for the 5.1 and it sounds pretty great. The band is razor sharp and the audio is not overly polished or over-dubbed, it's live and raw and I would expect nothing else, it's pure rock n' roll blasting you from start to finish, a caterwaul of sound in the best possible way.

Special features consist of a backstage interview with Iggy, James and Scott conducted by the six contest winners chosen to film the concert. The band speak to their influences early on, the transformation from avante-garde noisemakers to a bonafide threatening rock n' roll band, their sound, the recording of RAW POWER and what they might do differently if recorded today, song writing and the Stooges legacy. Also included are the submission videos from the contest winners, definitely people who love music and are Stooges super-fans, it must have been pure nirvana for them to have had this experience. Rounding out the disc are two promos for the contest featuring Iggy Pop and Handsome Dick Manitoba, the singer of The Dictators, a classic late 70's NYC punk band and if you don't know who they are I say to you go buy the BLOODBROTHERS album as quickly as possible, yesterday if possible. Lastly, an 8 page booklet with pictures and writing on the band and this performance from former bassist and Minuteman/fIREHOSE frontman Mike Watt who is a world class bassist in his own right and has been plugging away with the Stooges since 2003.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Exclusive Interview with Iggy Pop, James and Scott (43:58)
- Contest Submission Videos (12:18)
- Iggy and Dick Manitoba Promos (5:36)
- Liner Notes by Mike Watt

TRACK LISTING
1. Raw Power
2. Search and Destroy

3. Gimme Danger
4. Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell
5. Shake Appeal
6. I Need Somebody

7. Penetration
8. Death Trip
9. 1970 (I Feel Alright)
10. Night Theme

11. Beyond the Law
12. I Got A Right
13. I Wanna Be Your Dog

14. Open Up & Bleed
15. Fun House

16. No Fun


VERDICT: If you're a Iggy and the Stooges devotee or maybe just into the garage-punk scene this is really a no-brainer. A raucous visual document that is a testament to the burning virility of the raucous music these guys from Detroit made over thirty years ago. I watched this twice the day I received it and twice more since and again now as I write this and let me tell you it gets better every damn time.    

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