Posts Tagged ‘ Iggy Pop ’

AMERICAN VALHALLA

American Valhalla

This documentary about the making of Iggy’s final album, Post Pop Depression, with collaborator Josh Homme from Queen’s of The Stone Age is a fascinating insight into the working processes behind what became a great album to rival Iggy’s previously best works.
Directed by Andreas Neumann and Homme himself –he obviously understood the momentous scope of the project and wanted to capture every detail on film or in journals and diaries- it is an intimate portrait of an artistic endeavour few outside the inner working circle of record making very rarely glimpse. The fact that not only are Homme and Pop huge influential characters on the music scene but both have immense charisma means that this film has an advantage over other films in its genre. Never once does it lapse into muso ramblings or terrain which might appeal only to the most avid fan.
Instead it compels and draws you into the process from its very first frames wherein we see the band about to perform the album live for the first time with them already onstage playing the upbeat and frenetic intro to the classic ‘Lust for Life’ while Iggy limbers up behind a monitor waiting to explode onto the stage. When he does a huge surge of adrenaline coursed through my body and a huge smile erupted across my face.
Even at this late stage of his life Iggy is still the personification of what rock and roll is really all about!
As for the recording process, most of it took place at the legendary Joshua Tree ‘home’ studio for authenticity; to try to capture a feel suited to the album’s subject matter.
The recording complete segues into the realisation that the results were so good that there was a need to tour the album culminating in the now legendary show at The Royal Albert Hall in London. If I have one criticism of this film it is that there could maybe have been more footage of this kind as it merely whetted my appetite.
Leave them wanting more I guess.
There was also a great sense of rapport, understanding and respect between Homme and Pop as witnessed in the latter interviews of the pair in an empty auditorium. One particularly touching moment is when they are discussing a major interview for the album wherein Iggy has to travel to New York on a morning flight but is awoken in the early hours to be told David Bowie had passed away. At this juncture he wells up-as did I- and you can see he is on the precipice of an emotional collapse but the camera cuts away as a mark of respect.
Apparently this was a one-off screening of this film so I am unsure whether it will make it into the cinemas again but if you can see it in any way at all then please make sure you do. As for the record itself, well it definitely ranks up there with The Idiot and Lust for Life as one of Iggy’s best and most consistent solo offerings and one that no-one expected from the then 69 year old. Then again superseding everyone’s expectations is always what Iggy does best!

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NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

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Scarecrow thin and shadowing the ceiling of the Usher Hall like a towering Nosferatu, Nick Cave launches into the opening track, ‘We Know Where You Live’ from his outstanding new album Push the Sky Away, with little fuss and a great amount of confidence. An understated and beautiful start he barely pauses for breath in a set which manages to incorporate numbers from every era of his impressive oeuvre.
With the Bad Seeds restructured and providing license for him to perform his role without a safety net, they in turns rumble and rock, soothe and caress, thrill and enthral as each individual song demands providing a musical landscape which leaves Cave free to sulk and skulk, stalk and talk, crouch and tower as required.One minute ripping open the belly of the underside of life allowing the demi-monde to slither and slide then the next the tortured romantic, his words spill out in a variety of tones but each one overwhelmingly, unquestionably and utterly his own.
Thus we are entreated to a throbbing and unsettling ‘Tupelo’ a romantic ‘Into My Arms’, the reverential ‘quiet as a mouse’ hush of ‘God is in the House’, a skulking stalk on the wild side with ‘Stagger Lee’ and an exhilarating thrill of a ride in ‘The Mercy Seat’ which shows no mercy and is in need of a crash helmet and safety belt just to see it through to its shuddering, explosive conclusion.
It is an enrapturing show which proves conclusively-if proof were ever needed- that Cave belongs in that hallowed pantheon of rock nobility foraging their own path and a collection which includes Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Dylan, PJ Harvey, Bowie, Iggy and the recently departed Lou Reed, who could have been his spiritual father so much similar terrain do they cover. Able to blend the corporeal and cerebral seamlessly into his performance he shows the young pretenders how a rock star could and should behave. Like the aforementioned he has that all encompassing sense of belief permeating his work and is therefore able to take the audience with him on his journey through his extensive songbook and poetic observations.
From its understated and confident start through to its riveting conclusion of four encores, the energy levels never let up and throughout the band followed his lead as if they were snaking his movements and lyrics; which no doubt they probably were. At the shows end he left us wholly satisfied yet somehow still wanting more- he never played my favourite ‘The Ship Song’ but I didn’t feel in any way cheated by this- and this in itself is a talent that stands alone.

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