Iggy and the Stooges rock NXNE

It was a rock and roll weekend in Toronto. Half the city was at the Pavement/Broken Social Scene show on Toronto Island, and the other half crowded into Yonge Dundas Square for the free concert by Iggy and the Stooges that was presented as part of NXNE.

It was an odd crowd that gathered, to be sure. Of the roughly 10, 000 people there, a sizeable number were clearly Stooges fans, hip to the whole punk jive. A friend of mine noted how cool it was to see parents with obvious punk leanings who had brought their kids to the show. Then there were the people who appeared to have shown up purely for the sake of a free party, and while I have nothing against that, they were also the ones who didn’t know a damn thing about concert or mosh pit etiquette. As in, you wanna mosh, go in the pit. That’s what it’s there for. What’s not cool is damn near knocking over the people who are standing further back, just trying to watch the show. That being said, the pit itself was a hell of a lot of fun and pretty damn friendly too.

NXNE is run on a pretty tight schedule, so Iggy and the boys hit the stage just minutes after 9:30 and launched into a blistering version of “Raw Power”. I dialed a friend who couldn’t be at the show and held up my phone until I was afraid it was going to be knocked out of my hand. For the next 90 minutes, Iggy, still shirtless and cut to ribbons at the age of 63,  tore up the stage with a ferocity and pure joy that performers a third of his age dream of having.

‘We’re the remains of the fucking Stooges!” he bellowed, “and before we die, we’re going to do it with you!” Please, sir, may I have another?

The Stooges ripped their way through “Search and Destroy”, “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell” and “Cock in my Pocket” while the crowd rolled and writhed at their feet. Crowd-surfers bobbed their way across the steaming surface of the pit. Down in the pit, it was hotter than hell. Within minutes, my hair was soaking and plastered to my face, and rivulets of sweat were pouring off me. If I didn’t lose 5 pounds in sweat last night, then there is no God.

“I Wanna Be Your Dog” prompted a massive shout-a-long as the crowd assured Iggy that we’d all love nothing more than to be his bitch. With a wolfish grin, he closed the night with “No Fun”, which was a complete lie. Iggy and the Stooges are good bad fun of the highest order.

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