Raw fucking power.
If there was any downside at all to Iggy Pop’s Ottawa CityFolk performance on Sept. 13, it’s that he didn’t play more songs from his excellent new album, Every Loser — produced by A-lister Andrew Watt, who was in the news last week for having the same role on The Rolling Stones’ upcoming album Hackney Diamonds.
Iggy gave us two new cuts. The first was Modern Day Ripoff — a catchy banger which didn’t seem the least bit out of place amidst what could be called a “OMG YES!!!” inducing set list. It was The best of Iggy Pop, Live! if you will.
But as I’ve never managed to see Iggy live before, and likely won’t have many more opportunities, who cares? He could have performed his awful pandemic song Dirty Little Virus over and over and I wouldn’t have cared.
What we got instead was an inspired, energetic and memorable performance from a living legend who proved he can still belt out the rock, punk and proto-punk with character, power and sincerity.
The best part? His smile. Time and time again, the 76-year-old icon beamed. He was obviously having a great time. Like the hometown show at the end of a tour. Ottawa was into it — just under 5,000 in attendance — and Iggy fed on that, reciprocated and expressed his gratitude numerous times.
Wholly unpretentious. Totally unique and genuine, the impish Pop leapt around the stage despite obvious discomfort due to his plethora of physical maladies — a twisted spine from scoliosis, a bad hip, a sports injury from his youth which caused his right leg to be an inch and a half shorter than the other. Years of leaps, falls and on-stage self-mutilation have left scars and limitations. But, for a man without boundaries, these physical limitations only succeed in bringing him toward more normal levels of activity. He writhes like a snake with brand new robotic legs. And never stops moving.
Iggy’s band largely hails from France and flew to Ottawa separately from Iggy, who flew from Los Angeles for the show. There’s no time off between shows, as the Iggy et al are playing in Victoria, B.C. on Friday.
Wednesday’s setlist was one which has been tried and true throughout the current Every Loser tour — starting with Five Foot One from 1979’s New Values, an album I bought for the track I’m Bored, which he didn’t play. But no mind — he also pulled out The Endless Sea from that record, which certainly qualifies as a deep cut.
Pretty much everything else would have been on most fans top-10 lists, apart from Frenzy — the other new song — which he used to wrap the three-song encore.
I know a few people who have seen Iggy live before this, but not loads. He’s only played Ottawa a handful of times: Twice at Carleton University, a few times at the old Barrymore’s Music Hall and once at the Civic Centre, which stands on the same property as the lawn at Lansdowne Park where he performed Wednesday. His first visit to the city as a performer was in 1981 on the Follow The Sun tour, whatever that was. His most recent record at the time was Party, which came out in June ‘81. The last time he was here was the Brick By Brick tour in 1990. We used to play the shit out of Candy from that record.
Another one I kinda hoped he do was Cold Metal from 1988’s instinct. Aside from Real Wild Child (which he also didn’t do), I believe Cold Metal was my real introduction to Iggy Pop. I saw him on Late Night With David Letterman, and became a little obsessed. I went out and bought Instinct and Raw Power — and immediately realized this guy was indeed what they said he was: The godfather of punk.
Well, Wednesday my opinion changed. He’s the father.
Five Foot One
Modern Day Rip Off
Lust For Life
The Endless Sea
I’m Sick Of You
I Wanna Be Your Dog
Search And Destroy
Down On The Street
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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.