SXSW Part Two

SWSX 2007. It was the year of the female singer. And of course of Iggy. Let's do Mr. Osterberg first. South By Southwest usually saves the best for last, which always seems to mean the final act at Stubb's on Saturday night. For those unfamiliar with Austin, Stubb's is a BBQ joint, once owned by CB Stubblefield or "Stubb," a Navasota, Texas native who opened his first pit out in Lubbock after returning from the KO-rean (as they say it in Texas). While C.B. and his Lubbock restaurant are gone now, his name lives on in a line of nationally marketed sauces and in the Austin location, which has what can only charitably called a "venue" out back. Big, slanty, mudhole is more like it. Instead of an amphitheatre, Stubbs is a hillside sloping down into a gulley which collects rain, trash and chicks showing their tits to whatever heartthrob (Iggy Pop?) is onstage at the time. If it rains, forgetaboutit. Last year I stood in the rain and watched the Pretenders and promised myself nevermore. This year I watched an earlier act on the same bill, the Kings of Leon, who were absolutely wonderful except for the fact that they've now adopted a weird, pretty boy kind of look. They played a set heavy with the material from their new record, Because of the Times which was Stereophile's Recording of the Month for March, and it rocked.

By the time Iggy went on I was beginning to feel as if an alien was inhabiting my body. Sleep deprivation will do that to ya. As a rule, by Saturday night at SXSW, the four day hangover slash schmoozing overload is so severe that Robert Plant could be singing you a lullaby and you'd never hear it.

Fortunately, several Stereophile music writers stayed inside for the entire show and reported that Iggy, with the other two surviving Stooges, Ron and Scott Asheton (guitar and drums respectively) sounded as primal as ever. Wrinkly–er but still loud and raw. Opening with "Loose," Iggy was jumping into the crowd by the second song, the immortal, "I Want to Be Your Dog." The material from the new record, The Weirdness like the songs "Trollin'" and "ATM" also sounded very Stooges–esque although more than one writer mentioned to me that Iggy was trying too hard at times to be "punk" and "a rebel." Too much leering, too much posturing and too much self–conscious body contorting. My personal highlight of the show, which again I was in and out of rather quickly, was seeing him alternately flashing peace signs and his middle finger. Did it change my life this show? Definitely not. Sorry Stooges fans that was then and this is most assuredly now. I'll see him here in NYC again in a couple weeks so maybe my opinion will change.

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