Last Thursday, the newly managed Greek Theatre was in for a treat. While fans waited in hour long lines to get into the Greek, it was clear that the LA Dept or Recreation & Parks was doing a poor job of taking over the once famed Nederlander venue. While the evening kicked off on a negative vibe, Post Pop Depression soon made us forget all of our woes as we willfully surrendered to the music.
Iggy Pop, the king of all things punk rock was making his Los Angeles tour stop for his latest project titled Post Pop Depression. The new collaboration features the unique marriage of Iggy Pop and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme. Naturally, it was absolutely amazing live.
While many Stooges purists were hoping for the punk lashings of Raw Power, I think they were pleasantly surprised to hear the illustrious creations of Pop and Homme.
Kicking off with a little something familiar, Homme and company were dressed in dazzling red suits as they played the well-known intro to Pop’s “Lust For Life.” Before you could get your first shimmy out, that wirey motherfucker known as Iggy Pop made his raucous entrance. Dressed in a black skinny suit sans dress shirt and tie, Pop worked the stage like it was “1969.” You would not have guessed that this robust character had recently turned 69. As Pop jumped around the stage serenading the crowd to his 1977 cult classic, Homme and company did a stellar job of harmonizing the chorus and shaking things up with slick instrumentals. It was the perfect way to jazz up the crowd and warm up purists to the new sounds.
The stupefying two-hour + set would take us through an enticing bevy of Post Pop Depression and Pop’s debut solo album The Idiot. The combination of Homme’s signature sounds with Pop’s notable croons was pure genius. Songs like “Gardenia,” “American Valhalla,” and “Sunday” struck a chord in our blood while the familiarity of “Night Clubbin’,” “Passenger,” and “China Girl” comforted long time Pop fans with a sing along.
One of the most memorable (and entertaining) Post Pop Depression numbers was “Sunday.” Pop strut his stuff across the stage, giving the crowd a peek at his red bikini briefs and randomly yelled: “Shut the fuck up asshole, don’t you know it’s Sunday.” As the sexy beats of Pop Pop Depression’s most dance-friendly track — “Sunday” — made its way through our bodies, you couldn’t help but be haunted by the stark chorus: “Got all I need and it is killing me and you.” Everything about this song is spectacular. From the self-realizing words to the funky beats and guitar grinds.
At about mid set, Pop stared into the crowd with that trippy “TV Eye” of his and noticed some empty box seats. “Let’s pick four poor people to occupy those four empty boxes,” summoned Pop. “Someone’s beating off or snorted too much coke in their Excalibur.” As Pop called out for “young and lively” fans, the crowd got out of their crappy seats and made their way to the “rich people / industry” boxes before Pop rolled into “Passenger.”
Without a doubt, we all love singing along to the Pop classics we’ve grown up with, but the uncharted waters of Post Pop Depression was a most incredible experience. This album is best experienced live. That is where it really shines. It’s poetry, it’s cabaret, it’s punk rock — it’s everything that it should be and much more. What I loved most about seeing Post Pop Depression live was hearing the signature sounds of both Pop and Homme. You can identify Pop’s baritone croon from a mile away. And any true Homme fan can recognize the lucious orchestrations produced by this man of endless craft.
Another song that instigated hip thrusts, “German Days” had us dancing in the darkness. “How about a robotic euro song with tectonic Slavic tones,” yelled Pop to the sold out Greek Theatre crowd. The funky dark sounds of “German Days” came into play. Undeniably, this song drips with Homme’s creative aural flare.
What we witnessed with Post Pop Depression was the best collaboration of the year, and quite possibly the past decade. The union of Homme and Pop is something beautiful, yet badass. These rock stars dazzle! Yes, they dazzle. It’s Pop’s poetry, insecurities and deepest secrets being shared with Homme and brought to aural and visual life. It makes you feel. It makes you think. And it makes you crave more. While I hope this isn’t the last we hear from Post Pop Depession, it would make complete sense if this was the collaboration’s sole work. Afterall, you can’t duplicate a masterpiece.
Words: Sandra Burciaga-Olinger
Photography: Ben Irwin