Iggy Pop

support Noveller
author MIN date 05/05/16 venue Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, DEN

Iggy Pop, one of the last living legends, a pioneer of protopunk and one of punk rock’s definite establishers, has decided to grace the Copenhagen venue Falconer Salen with his presence. Not only has the dog himself decided to show, but he’s also brought along with him the backing of amazing musicians such as the legendary Joshua Homme from Queens of the Stone Age, Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys, and several others. Needless to say, tonight is a night I’ve been looking forward to a lot, although a few thoughts are running through my head prior to the show: “Is he still able to deliver?” and “what will the infamous soundscape of Falconer Salen be like?” Well, more on that later. Iggy & co. have recently released an excellent album called ”Post Pop Depression”, and the greatness of that album alone should be enough reason to not only look forward to hearing some old classics but also embrace some of the newer material.

All photos courtesy of Stefan Frank Thor Straten

Noveller

Since American indie pop band U.S. Girls suddenly had to cancel their tour, support for tonight’s show is being taken care of by Brooklyn-based experimental/ambient musician Sarah Lipstate aka. Noveller. On my way to the show I listened to some of her material, and honestly, it’s a really good companion when you’re alone on the train, staring out the window. Something about the soothing experimental ambiance mixed with hints of krautrock makes me see why she has been chosen as a suitable support for tonight’s show, since Iggy himself toyed a little with the latter of these genres in the 1970s. But when placed in a live setting on a national holiday where people just want to chat and drink beer before their favorite artist plays a sold-out show at a relatively intimate venue? Not such a good idea: Most of the time it was actually hard to hear what was being played due to a combination of the quietness of some of Noveller’s music and the loudness of drunken Danes.

On her own terms, Lipstate actually does a really good job. Her music is created solely by a guitar and a pedal board, and as a guitarist, she is quite talented. Whether she plays a tapping solo, a Chinese guitar-inspired riff or an ambient soundscape that progresses like the rumbling of a volcano just before it erupts, she excels – hell, she even picks up a bowstring now and then to spice up the soundscape. But many of the minor details get lost in the loud room, and honestly, the instrumental set gets a little tiring after ten minutes. If you went to a show where Noveller was the headliner and people were tuned into this kind of music, then sure, it’d probably be great and quite mesmerizing, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, the show comes off as incredibly misplaced, and although the reception that Lipstate receives after she’s thanked the audience for coming out tonight is decent, I feel like this support slot could’ve been used on a more suitable band.

5

Iggy Pop

All clad in red, glittery jackets and black shirts, Josh Homme and co. enter the stage which is filled with everything from oil drums and glockenspiel to keyboards and synthesizers. When they strike the first few notes to Iggy Pop’s classic song “Lust for Life” it quickly becomes apparent that this show is going to be intense, but also marked by poor sound as the rhythm section is just too loud; already by this point it’s hard to hear the guitar, and when Pop himself comes crashing onto the scene, swaying and staggering around like a mad man, the words being sung are actually hard to hear. If I didn’t know the words before coming to the show, I’d have a hard time telling what’s going on. Luckily, after a few songs, the soundscape becomes much clearer, but it’s never as good as one could’ve hoped for. But enough about that, onto the performance at hand.

Iggy Pop himself is virile beyond belief: If I did not see him perform before my own eyes tonight, I would’ve never been able to fathom the energy and raw power he musters to show off. He’s a true performer right down to the core, and he’s oozing out sex from every pore and fiber in his body. We need not go past a few songs before he takes off his black blazer and throws himself right into the audience just to be crowdsurfed back to the stage: Truly an impressive performance by any man, let alone someone at the age of 69. Plus, while he’s doing all of these things, he still manages to deliver the songs flawlessly. I wanna know, where the fuck is Valhalla? Iggy Pop asks, and immediately the crowd roars in response. Everyone present is willing to carry him all the way if necessary, but by the look of it tonight, Pop’s able to get there himself.

But let us not forget the rest of the band: The impressive backhand that Iggy’s brought along with him tonight. As most of our readers already know, few people look as freaking cool on-stage as Joshua Homme. The tall red-haired man primarily known as the frontman of Queens of the Stone Age has no problem playing whatever solo or riff is required of him (while lighting a cigarette, mind you), and his arsenal of guitars switches from a six to an eight to a twelve string. Every time Iggy throws himself into the crowd or takes a walk to greet the people closest to the stage while flashing his butt-cheeks, Homme majestically strides forward to the edge and takes control. Meanwhile, Matt Helders on the drum-kit is pounding the skins like usual, although it’s highly entertaining to see him take on some of the old Iggy Pop songs, where the drumming is relatively simple, and then spice it up with some extra fills or faster drumbeats. The rest of the lineup is doing great too, providing solid and smooth basslines, excellent guitar riffs and atmospheric soundscapes via keys, synths or any other of the several instruments they’ve brought along. It’s hard to find a better lineup than the one present tonight.

The setlist is one of the best string of songs you could imagine at an Iggy Pop concert (despite the lack of The Stooges-songs), primarily featuring songs off the classic albums “The Idiot” and “Lust for Life” plus the latest full-length. Especially when we reach the eleventh track the show seems to be really building up to its climax: “Mass Production” is a huge, droning krautrock epic which features united fist throwing throughout the venue, and “Nightclubbing” gets people nodding their heads and bopping along before the following three masterpieces are performed. The first part of the set ends with amazing deliveries of such classic songs as “The Passenger”, new favorite “Gardenia” (which gathers a huge sing-along during the chorus) and Bowie-reminiscent “China Girl”. Especially the latter receives much applause after Homme has nailed the ending-solo perfectly, raising multiple hairs on several people’s arms.

The encore features no less than seven songs, and during the second one Iggy decides to take a stroll all the way through the crowd, behind the sound-engineer, and back again, singing “Fall in Love with Me” to everyone he meets – although, surely by now, every member of the crowd has already fallen in love with the man ten times over. Ultimately, this is possibly the best way to experience Iggy Pop live, if only the sound had been better. Especially during the second-to-last song in the set, “Post Pop Depression” album-closer “Paraguay”, real emphasis is lacking on the bombastic raucousness the song normally presents. By the end of the song you should be able to hear Josh Homme lead an incredible jam session behind Iggy Pop’s furious shouting, but due to the vocals being so loud at this point, the finer details in Homme’s guitar playing is hard to hear, and it ruins what could’ve been a great finale. I can’t help but think that the show should’ve ended a few songs earlier, but I’m still really surprised at not only the musicianship present today, but also the fact that Iggy Pop is still one hell of a frontman. If you still have a chance to see this ferocious legend live, don’t miss out.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Lust For Life
  • 2. Sister Midnight
  • 3. American Valhalla
  • 4. Sixteen
  • 5. In the Lobby
  • 6. Some Weird Sin
  • 7. Funtime
  • 8. Tonight
  • 9. Sunday
  • 10. German Days
  • 11. Mass Production
  • 12. Nightclubbing
  • 13. Gardenia
  • 14. The Passenger
  • 15. China Girl

- Encore

  • 16. Break into Your Heart
  • 17. Fall in Love with Me
  • 18. Repo Man
  • 19. Baby
  • 20. Chocolate Drops
  • 21. Paraguay
  • 22. Success

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