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  IGGY & THE STOOGES w/ Suicide  
  Hammersmith Apollo  
  London, UK  
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  
Photographs by:
  Indoor Miner  
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:

The HMV Hammersmith Apollo. Apparently it is behind an overpass...

The drum machine beats that burst in from nowhere were startlingly loud, but if you thought that Alan Vega and Martin Rev were just about to come on, you were mistaken. Those beats kept going for a good few minutes, gradually becoming more meaty, before our aging heroes eventually sauntered on stage. Rev, sporting an almost Star Trek: The Next Generation-like appearance c/o of some wraparound shades that sported small blue lights, barely looked a day older than he did on their debut album more than thirty years ago. Vega, however, was a different kettle of fish. I might have bought the 70th birthday singles that have been released intermittently over the past year or two, but I'd never been entirely convinced that he was really that old. Seeing him live and close up made it easier to believe as there did seem something, well, doddery about him. And with his woolly hat, large shades and zipped up jacket taken in conjunction with his yelping and somewhat weird movements, he resembled some deranged Big Issue seller you'd cross the road to avoid.

He was, however, in really good voice, screaming Ghost Rider as you'd expect whilst hearing Suicide perform Cheree brought a tear to my eye. The show had been billed as performance of their classic debut album, but it wasn't really. It was more of an approximation of it, as some songs went on and on with Rev really hammering his keyboards to quite extraordinary effect whilst Vega hit his chest and bellowed at the members of the audience without the aid of a mic. I was quite near the front, but I've got no idea what he was saying to them! There was a lovely moment early on when, with the audience applauding, Rev walked over to Vega as and the two hugged. I'm probably reading too much into this, but it seemed as if Rev was the one doing the re-assuring. Anyway, it was nice to see them go down well. However, even after all this time - and I say this as a fan - there was something strangely bewildering about them, more so than on the one other occasion I had seen Suicide supporting the Banshees in the late 80s, a fantastic performance that somehow managed to provoke the most hostile reception from an audience I have ever seen. Maybe the world has finally caught up with Suicide, because this was no quaint run through of an old album by any means, but there was definitely some warm applause. They were as uncompromising as ever but, whilst Vega was great to watch for forty minutes, you'd probably put him in a home if he was your dad.

Iggy was certainly on good form, too, with energy levels that were quite astounding for anyone, let alone a man in his sixties, as he danced, ran around the stage and dived into audience for pretty much the entire set. Opening with Raw Power itself, they waltzed through that album in great style if not the correct running order. I lost sight of Iggy for pretty much all of Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell as he mingled with the front row. He eventually returning to the stage with his leather kegs pulled down so that they were barely covering his bits and, not for the last time during the performance, his arse was exposed to the world. Highlights included a heavy Gimme Danger, a sublime Penetration, and a Shake Appeal which saw Iggy encourage the audience to join him on-stage. This resulted in god knows how many people dancing around him whilst quite a few tried to take sneaky close up photos at the same time. It was great to hear Iggy croon I Need Somebody too, as that has always been a favourite of mine and - like Vega - the voice is still thankfully there. By the time they got to Death Trip, everything was so loud that it was barely recognisable where I was. At this point I'd probably have been happy if they'd gone off and then come back for a quickfire encore, because I definitely think they went on too long, and staying on and following this classic 1973 LP with Cock In My Pocket as fun as it was seemed anti-climactic to me. They kept going with I Got A Right, I Wanna Be Your Dog, 1970, and Beyond The Law (which again seemed anti-climactic after those three tracks) before finally closing with Open Up And Bleed, which saw Iggy indulge in a spot of minor chest scratching.

They encored with Funhouse, which James Williamson who had been great on the Raw Power material didn't quite nail, although in fairness his guitar's volume seemed to have been toned down to allow us to hear a little more of Steve Mackay's sax which had struggled in the mix for much of the set. Williamson also seemed unhappy with his tunings as the start of Kill City which followed before the gig finally ended with Johanna. Even after all this, Iggy then danced on-stage again a few minutes later. Were we going to get some more? No. I quickly checked the time on my phone and when I looked back up he'd gone!

So whilst it maybe went on too long (there's no pleasing some folk is there!), it was a fun night which left me thinking that, whilst I'm not sure what rock'n'roll is nowadays, I know for a fact that when I was a kid it never used to involve a bloke in his 60s baring his arse. But as I'm not too sure how much longer we can expect Iggy to maintain this level of almost super-human energy, I suggest you see him while you can.

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