This DVD Should Come With Earplugs

Jesse Christen

Jesse Christen

Ouch, my ears hurt! And it’s a DVD’s fault.

That’s how it’s supposed to be with Iggy and the Stooges. Original Stooges Iggy Pop, brothers Ron and Scott Ashton and bassist extrodinaire Mike Watt kick out a sound that hasn’t changed one bit in the 30-plus years since they last played together.

This disk, Live in Detroit, is from the Stooges homecoming show in the Motor City. I can’t believe how good this concert sounds. Scott Ashton pounds the drums with explosive force and never misses a beat; Ron Ashton’s guitar work splits eardrums in two; Mike Watt plays the bass so well that an uninformed fan would think he’s the original bassist; and Iggy, looking like he’s weathered a decade or two stuck in the desert with no shelter, still hasn’t lost any energy or charisma since the ’60s.

Now, more about why my ears hurt: Live in Detroit sounds like you were there. The bass pounds on the listener’s chest and the upper guitar frequencies make your eardrums feel uncomfortable, even at low volumes.

Effects like hearing damage are exactly what the Stooges set out to do in the first place.

With a raw and violent sound, they sold few records in their day, but have gone on to continually influence future musicians and draw new fans.

This swirling silver disk of raw power is as perfect for someone who’s never heard the Stooges as it is for longtime fans.

Unlike other reunion projects, all members of the Stooges have kept an active schedule. Of course, everyone knows about Iggy’s solo career.

The Ashton brothers, despite lacking the notoriety and fame of Iggy, have always been working on new bands – Dark Carnival, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band and Destroy all Monsters, to name a few. So unlike big rock stars who lay around their mansions on a diet of expensive drugs not playing their instruments, all Stooge members have kept their chops up.

And it pays off. With a bare bones four-piece band, the Stooges sound big, loud and full.

No need for them to bring countless back-up musicians along like many of their peers who still go out on the road.

The only extra is saxophonist Steve MacKay wailing through the songs “1970” and “Funhouse.”

And MacKay has a reason to be there: he played sax on those numbers on the masterpiece album Funhouse.

The disk features a bonus NYC in-store performance with just Iggy and the Ashtons.

Ron plays electric guitar through a little amp and Scott plays a drum set made out of a suitcase and cardboard boxes, and it still sounds great, andIggy is never as good as he is with the Stooges.

5 stars (out of 5)