Iggy Pop at the Vic Theatre
May 21, 2001
By Jim DeRogatis, pop music critic
An Iggy Pop show circa 2001 holds few surprises, but that doesn't mean that it
You can almost always count on the insanely energetic, unnaturally well-preserved
singer bounding onstage shirtless to bellow a handful of tunes from his newest album
before diving deep into his catalog to deliver the classics.
On Friday at the sold-out Vic Theatre, the former James Osterberg opened with a trio of
songs from "Beat 'Em Up," his hardest-rocking effort in years, to be released in
July. Then it was on to Stooges songs that established his reputation as a godfather of
punk: "Raw Power," "Search and Destroy," "Now I Wanna Be Your
|Iggy Pop at the Vic Theatre
"Beat 'Em Up" is Iggy's 13th solo studio album, but huge tracts of his
discography go untouched in favor of the familiar anthems. In fact, of the 20 tunes
delivered during a gripping 90-minute set, almost half dated from the Stooges and the
early '70s. This makes it hard to explain why the singer has rebuffed attempts to reunite
the band, especially given former guitarist Ron Ashton's fiery performance at the South By
Southwest music conference in March.
Iggy's current touring band of guitarist Whitey Krist, drummer Alex Krist and bassist
Pete Marshall certainly isn't anything special. A third of the audience (a nice mix of
gray, grizzled veterans and young punks who weren't even born when Iggy recorded
"Lust for Life") probably could have filled in and played just as well.
But an Iggy show isn't really about the song selection or the quality of the backing
band. It's about watching Iggy, and he remains almost as vital and vibrant at age 54 as he
was at age 20, even if his self-destructive "Death Trip" (to borrow the title of
another Stooges song that he performed) is now more play-acting than reality.
Iggy hurled himself into the crowd. Iggy threw his microphone stand with wild abandon.
Iggy terrorized the bouncers at the lip of the stage and twirled the mike in a giant arc
above his head. It was impossible to take your eyes off him, and it was hard not to be
swept up by his passion, which seemed more focused and on-target than ever.
It's an extremely angry Iggy who can be heard on "Beat 'Em Up," ripping into
"the weasels" who control the music industry and the unthinking public that
takes what it is spoon-fed. Onstage at the Vic, he ranted about the lack of justice in the
world and the tragedy of people who don't share his lust for life.
Predictable or not, it's what we need in these rock-starved times.
Opening the show: Box-O-Car, the hard-rocking Chicago glam-pop quintet led by Vic
employee and former Charming Beggars singer Skid Marks and guitarist Ken Sluiter, best
known for his production work at Kingsize Studio.
The group unleashed a tight and spirited if slightly overlong set, building to a climax
with a killer cover of Brian Eno's "The True Wheel."