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Iggy Pop & his QOTSA/Arctic Monkeys band played SXSW (review, setlist)

lead photo by Tim Griffin

Iggy Pop at SXSW 2016
After taping an episode of ACLTV (pictures) at Austin’s Moody Theater on Tuesday, Iggy Pop and his band — which includes Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Dean Fertita and Troy Van Leeuwen, Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders, and Chavez’s Matt Sweeney — returned to the same venue for an official SXSW show Wednesday night (3/16). The setlist was the same both nights, pulling mostly from Iggy’s late ’70s Bowie collaborations, The Idiot and Lust for Life, and Post Pop Depression, the album he made with Josh, Dean and Matt that comes out this Friday. The new album sounds more like those Bowie collaborations than Iggy’s stuff has in a while, and if you had any doubt about how the new stuff measures up, seeing it played side by side with the classics crushes that doubt. No question the true highlights were times like when Iggy and this ace band took “Nightclubbing” into “The Passenger” into “China Girl” to end the pre-encore set, but then when they came back out to “Break Into Your Heart,” it was just about as satisfying. As anyone who’s seen Iggy recently knows, he is still unstoppable live in ways that almost seem physically impossible. This 68-years-young man runs around stage more than most people half his age, yells his heart out, throws his mic stand, and at one point flung himself into the crowd with zero hesitation. Not to mention he still sticks to the long-haired, shirtless, tight pants look. There may not be a person alive who’s more rock ‘n’ roll than Iggy Pop.

I would’ve liked to have heard a Stooges song or three, but the setlist he did choose worked really well and there was no lack of great material. In addition to three mentioned above, other classics included “Success,” “Funtime, “Sister Midnight,” “Lust For Life,” “Baby,” and still more (full setlist below). If I had one revelation of the night, it’s that I think the best song on Post Pop Depression is the closing track, “Paraguay.” It’s the one on the record where it truly feels like the collaborative work of Iggy Pop and members of Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys. When the backing band sings the repeated, “Wild animals they do / Never wonder why / Just do what they goddamn do,” it’s a refrain you could picture on either of the recent QOTSA or AM albums, and Iggy just goes off over it in the way only Iggy Pop can go off. Not to mention it gives Matt Helders a chance to get a bit looser after keeping things a bit more straightforward on the other tracks. He’s one of the most thrilling drummers in modern popular rock, and seeing him with Iggy is the kind of collaboration you’d come with in a barstool rock nerd conversation. “I just love to listen to Matt drum,” Iggy said at one point. Me too, Iggy. Me too.

Check out pictures of Tuesday’s taping here. More pictures of Wednesday’s show are here.

Iggy Pop @ Moody Theater – 3/16/16 Setlist
Lust for Life
Sister Midnight
American Valhalla
Sixteen
In the Lobby
Some Weird Sin
Funtime
Tonight
Sunday
German Days
Mass Production
Nightclubbing
The Passenger
China Girl

Encore:
Break Into Your Heart
Fall in Love With Me
Repo Man
Gardenia
Baby
Chocolate Drops
Paraguay
Success

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