Nightclubbing [Swingin' Pig]
Live San Diego University, Nov 16 1977.

First things first… this show is actually from 1978, when Pop toured not to promote the two albums that had brought him back from the grave the previous year, but because he wanted to… for the hell of it… and because he had a new live album (the hopelessly misunderstood TV Eye) on the streets. And anybody who considered that set an impenetrable rumble of distortion, damage and stubborn obscurity hadn’t heard anything yet.

Backed by much the same band that accompanied him on the fall 1977 tour, Pop pieced together a set that pointedly eschewed almost every familiar reference point. Clattering and tumultuous, the opening "One Two Brown Eyes" is a new song, a thunder of percussion and yowling that almost unwillingly resolves itself into a seething "I Wanna be Your Dog," taken at half the speed we’re accustomed to, and festooned with swooping synths and the Sales brothers’ trademark tuneless backing vocals. Another unfamiliar number, "Modern Guy," bleeds into an almost panic-stricken "Lust For Life," and "Rock Action" sounds like something out of Metallic KO, minus the hand-grenades, but with added slime and sleaze.

The mutant funk of "Fall In Love With Me," and a spastic "Shake Appeal" maintain the mood, while the garage chestnut "Gloria" has never sounded so dissolute, swaggering out of the speakers with both malicious intent and a threatening revision of its chorus chant… "my name is I-G-G-Y-P-O-P." A raw "TV Eye"… a loping, glutinous "Nightclubbing" (complete with the "Oy Vey" refrain that so pissed off certain period obsevers)… a breakneck "I Got A Right"… and, finally, "Raw Power," with the band now verging on speed metal energy, and Pop himself almost muffled by the mayhem exploding around him. The silence that follows the end of the disc is a masterpiece in its own right, and if you don’t flop back in drained amazement, then you’re probably not alive. Quite simply, this is the essential solo Iggy live disc, danger and dementia in equal proportions, and so vastly superior to every other concert recording out there (TV Eye notwithstanding… but that endured a lot of post-production work before it hit the streets) that you could use all the others for coasters, and you’d never feel deprived. The myth of Iggy Pop means a lot to rock history. This is what he sounded like when it meant as much to him. - Dave Thompson

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September 29, 2006