Blondie, Generation Sex and Stiff Little Fingers help Iggy throw his own one-day punk festival
One of the busiest weekends of the summer saw London divided on Saturday night. Spot the different pockets of the crowd on the tube all heading in opposite directions – to Pulp in Finsbury park, to Take That in Hyde Park, or to Pride in Soho. If you saw anyone wearing all black (and not wearing glitter…) they were probably headed south on a punk pilgrimage to Crystal Palace and Iggy Pop’s Dog Day Afternoon.
“Punk” is about as useless a word now as it’s ever been, of course – a term that covers pretty much everything on stage throughout the day including The Lambrini Girls, the Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, Generation Sex and Blondie. From Steve Jones and Billy Idol belting ‘God Save The Queen’ to Debbie Harry rapping on ‘Rapture’, Blondie saw the biggest stage crush of the night with a mirrorball set that sat comfortably between CBGB and Studio 54.
It was Harry’s birthday (78 years young), and here she spent it rattling through her band’s greatest hits – ‘Hanging On The Telephone’, ‘Call Me’ and ‘Atomic’ still keeping their edges sharp even as the audience did half the work. Swapping a silver cape for a mirrored cloak on ‘Heart Of Glass’, Harry dedicated ‘X Offender’ to Iggy Pop, reminded everyone that it was her birthday (for the fifth time) and then finished big on ‘Dreaming’.
But this wasn’t Harry’s big day. Brooding out of the wings like a punch-drunk prize-fighter, Iggy Pop made his entrance to ‘Rune’ – ripping off his top before he even started singing. Now moving like a living monument to his own bad reputation, Iggy wasn’t here to play a legacy show for anyone. He might be punk’s eldest statesman but he’s as relevant now as he’s ever been; lost in the music, veins surging with electricity, fingers flicked up at every f*cker who doubts it.
‘Raw Power’ and ‘Gimme Danger’ swagger off wherever Iggy drags them – now backed by a bigger brass section that gives the old Stooges classics the weight they need to fill a field. ‘The Passenger’ drops the pace down to a singalong beat, ‘Lust For Life’ lifts it back up to violence, while Iggy goes back to glam on the Bowie-tinged ‘Death Trip’ and ‘The Endless Sea’.
Hurling his mic stand off stage for ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ and ‘Search And Destroy’, there’s almost nothing left for the encore, but Iggy finds a way (now fellating the microphone on ‘Nightclubbing’ and spitting straight into the camera…). ‘Down On The Street’, ‘Loose’ and ‘Frenzy’ bleed what’s left of him dry, but there was nothing held back from the very start. This isn’t Iggy Pop at 76, this is punk rock, right here, right now.
Photo credits: Lorne Thomson / Getty