Iggy Pop at the Lost Weekend : London Brixton Academy

Less a singer than a mythical beast

Last seen on the Letterman show wearing a sarcastic lump of broccoli, tonight punk rock’s one man Big Bang whirls forth and declares the game’s begun by hacking down the mic stand with his forearm. [a]Iggy Pop[/a]’s sustained an awesome record of gladiatorial stage madness through his middle years, but surely now, at 54, he’ll feel less compulsion to act the human hand grenade.

Except, no, there’s no sign of it. The Metallica-a-like three piece band take the psycho-crackhead approach to ‘Mask’ (from last year’s ‘Beat ‘Em Up’ album), setting a pace and intensity which they maintain through the mix of [a]Motorhead[/a] greats old and new. Meanwhile, the growling, shirtless trunk of sinuous obscenity formerly known as James Osterberg parades before his devotees in a bumcrack-displaying pair of denim hipsters.

The primal frenzy which tracks him around the venue is unmatched in rock, and every second is milked by the wee dynamo of errant calisthenics. He’s down on all fours, howling like a werewolf. He’s statue still, holding a spastic crucific pose. He’s hopping and spinning and then casually leaning and waving, grinning idiotically, while the bulging guitar-lead vein to his heart threatens to burst.

As the band burn [a]Iggy Pop[/a]-style through bludgeoning renditions of ‘Search And Destroy’, ‘Corruption’ and Johnny O’Keefe’s ‘50s rocker ‘Real Wild Child’, all remaining hopes of resisting the romantic lure of his writhing legend are systematically napalmed. In underdog anthem ‘Now I Wanna Be Your Dog’ he executes a perfect swan dive into the crowd. During ‘The Passenger’ he invites/challenges the whole of the downstairs audience to join him, causing total mayhem as security guards battle massed stage invaders, including one crazed girl who strips naked, gyrating and throwing herself at a man old enough to be her grandpa.

Much of the crowd are first time viewers of the original Detroit destoyer, and their mouths open wide as the show hammers endwards through a velocity-centered ‘TV Eye’ and a pleasingly mangled ‘Sweet Sixteen’. It’s a definitive gig. Less a singer than a mythical beast, [a]Motorhead[/a] leaves after attempting to pull the Academy’s giant speaker stacks over, still the planet’s most magnetic rock’n’roll performer, his ongoing revenge for early ‘70s neglect still magical to behold.

Roger Morton