Real Wild: Iggy and the Stooges at the Hordern Pavillion, Sydney – April 2013

How I Survived Iggy Pop. Words by Adrianne Kern. Photos by Jonathan Armstrong.

My husband wanted to be near the front of the stage to take photos, so we weaved through ageing rockers, neo-punks and goths, to make it to the second row 30 minutes before the concert began. Surveying my fellow mosh pit inhabitants, I immediately felt overdressed and slightly ridiculous carrying my Italian soft leather bag over one shoulder. An uneasy alliance grew, however, between us as we physically repelled front-row opportunists by closing all gaps between our shoulders, arms and elbows in an unspoken but acknowledged right to be near the stage over everyone else.IMG_2546

When Iggy finally came on stage to a primal raw of appreciation, an ancient, emaciated man in a saggy Iggy Pop skin suit took the mic with the smirk of one who has lived and survived 6 decades of heroin, rock and roll and probably some very late nights. At first I thought he had tattoos all over his chest and arms, until I realized they were veins that had been forced to spring up randomly over his torso and take over from his original, but long since collapsed blood vessels, and continue the thankless task of carrying blood around his besieged body.

Holding my ground to random onslaughts from the crowd behind us (think yells and kamikaze leaps into the neck-high barrier), I began to feel complacent. But when Iggy shouted “fuck the security guards, storm the stage” I thought it was over as the poIMG_2690wer of 10,000 Iggy Pop devotees heaved forward as a collective force. I saw a headline form in my mind: “Bondi mother of two dies in crowd stampede at Hordern Pavillion”.

It’s incredible what people will do to get on stage. Some rammed elbows into me, others shouted in my ear (a useless act given we stood in front of literally three giant speaker stacks), and one woman actually used her child (no more than 10 years old, tops) as a weapon to find holes in the crowd and burrow through. Men rammed their flaccid penises into my lower back, while others showered beer (I hope) in the air to disperse the second row. My back was defiled, not to mention the leather bag. I could not bring myself to touch my clothes and clung onto my husband’s pecs for dear life. He, in turn, relinquished one hand from his Canon to hold me in what I realised was a powerful expression of love as I know he must have missed a few good shots to do so.

IMG_2670When I realized I wouldn’t die though, something clicked in the most primitive part of my brain. It switched from survival mode to exhilaration as the adrenalin pumped through my body with no predators to outmanoeuvre. Suddenly I was participating in Rock and Roll’s Last Stand. History was unfolding and I didn’t want to miss a grimy second of it. Iggy was a hero in his final battle against authority and stage managed performances. He knew what the audience wanted and gave it in abundance.

It’s true there were times when IMG_2802he looked more like a white-walker than a rock icon, but it was real.

When the lights finally came up and the last encore had been screeched, I knew I would remember this concert  forever.

And not only because the feedback is still ringing in my ears.

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Burning Down The House: David Byrne & St Vincent, @ The State Theatre, Jan 2013

David Byrne loves to mix it up with interesting arrangements and interesting departures into an eclectic style of music that is very hard to categorise. I was suprrised to see Byrne backed by a brass band, whose members were wandering around in a brilliantly chaotic and seemingly endless combinaiton of superbly choreographed moves. But in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have been, since Byrne loves breaking musical boundaries. The same could be said for his dance moves, which could most kindly be described as quirky, and a little more unselfconscious than they should be. Despite his cult status, which is primarily due to his earlier work with Talking Heads, he seemed only too happy to take a step back and let St Vincent (Annie Clark) take the spotlight (literally). Clark was given more than her fair share of solo microphone time, and performed brilliantly. As Annabel Ross commented, “Clark was a hypnotic stage presence, skittered across the stage like a jerky electric-powered marionette, while Byrne bopped along like a daggy uncle at a 21st”. Except, the daggy uncle is trying to perform a robot dance. But despite the brass band, it was clearly the old Talking Heads material that the audience had come to hear. Every time they were treated to another blast from the past, such as Burning Down The House and This Must Be the Place, they went wild. Sensational!

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Strangeways Here We Come: Morrissey at Sydney Opera House, December 2012

I was devastated when Morrissey cancelled his concert at the Hordern Pavillion a decade ago. This time I was not going to miss out – even if I had to cancel part of a family holiday. Am I glad I did! The concert was sensational. Here are some images:

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This Is How It Works: Regina Spektor @ Enmore Theatre, Dec 2012

What a disappointment. The previous time I saw Regina Spektor play the Enmore, the crowd literally cried tears of adulation. This time, a few years on, the adulation from the crowd was slightly subdued. But surprisingly, and disappointingly, Spektor seemed detached, and even bored. Perhaps she is tiring of the limelight or the demands of touring.

 

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