Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Iggy at the Royal Albert Hall and all

Wonderful, said the Financial Times. We'll never see his like again, said The Independent. Triumphant, said the Telegraph.  Primal, priapic and peerless, said some clever-clogs at The Guardian.

Happily, the Daily Mail appears not to have sent a reviewer. But Iggy Pop's show at the Royal Albert Hall last Friday seems to have been momentuous. He played with a band that included Josh Homme and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders and by all accounts it sounded fucking great.

Actually, it sounds fucking great in the many videos of the show that have turned up on YouTube. The show focused on the two albums David Bowie produced for him, Lust for Life and The Idiot (he also did 'China Girl'), and his most recent album, and Post-Pop Depression, which he made with Homme.

He's 69 years old and that might be his last album, and this might have been nearly his last show. He bounds on to do 'Lust for Life' like a crazy man.

His bung hip  starts to trouble him soon enough. He has an old man's body. But 'The Passenger' is just joyous:

And here's the final song of the night, 'Success', and he's still stage-diving and charging out to invite hugs from woman and man alike.

More to the point, his voice is tremendous and his band (lord knows this hasn't always been the case) is tight and knowing. Ive never really been a fan of Queens of the Stone Age, but Josh Homme is clearly a brilliant bandleader here. 

Inevitably, many of those visible in in the crowd are not exactly youthful themselves. Hell, it's more than 35 years since I heard an Iggy Pop song. But if I'd been there ... yeah, I'd have given Iggy a hug if he came looking.


If you read around the genesis of disco and thence what we know as dance music, one name that keeps coming up is that of Alex Rosner. Rosner was the gifted audio engineer who turned the system at David Macuso's invitational party The Loft from a superior home rig to a thing of sonic beauty.

This short Red BullMusic Academy documentary finds Rosner in good form still. He mostly customises sound systems for churches not nightlubs now, but perhaps there's not so much difference between the two.

One thing that comes through in the video is the value placed on sound that is "good" rather than simply loud. There has been talk in the past year or two of a return to that ethos, but there are currently no clubs or bars in New Zealand that meet it. It would be nice to think that one day a club will open having spent its money not on bathrooms or lights but this kind of sound.


Terry Elliot Tolkin wants to write a memoir. Who, you say? He was an A&R executive for Elektra, indie label owner (he signed the Butthole Surfers), DJ, club booker and other things.

He's going to need an editor. But if all his stories are as great as the one feauring Letterman, Dinosaur Jr and Donald Trump that's on his Kickstarter page, hell, I'm in.

I would note that this story is a hundred times better than anything that happened in the first series of Vinyl.


And that's yer lot for the week. I've been listening to the new James Blake and Ahnonie albums, but I don't have any time to write about thatbecause I'm off to Wellington soon for the Canon Media Awards, where Public Address is a finalist for Best Blog Site and I'm in the final three for a health journalism scholarship.

Feel free to post your own stuff in comments. Remember that you can embed any YouTube clip by just pasting in the URL – no need for any code.


The Hard News Friday Music Post is kindly sponsored by:

The Audio Consultant

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