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Iggy And The Stooges: Metallic KO

The death of Iggy And The Stooges is given new life.

Iggy And The Stooges Metallic KO album cover

Ordinarily the notion of remastering and reissuing on coloured vinyl what’s ostensibly a bootleg recording would be laughable. But this is no mere audience recording.

This is the sound of what would be the last stand of Iggy And The Stooges, on February 9, 1974 (as well as an earlier performance), as they disintegrated on the stage of Detroit’s Michigan Palace in front of a hostile crowd that included bikers hell-bent on pelting the band with eggs and glass bottles. More than that, on its 1976 release it became the Rosetta Stone for the nascent punk movement still starved of contemporary recorded documentation of their own.

Yet for all the mythology surrounding Metallic KO – the challenge laid out by singer Iggy Pop to the Scorpion biker gang to do their worst, and his subsequent pummelling at their hands, the sound of glass breaking on the stage – what really stands out on this lo-fi record is the quality of the band’s musicianship.

Despite his chemical dependency, Scott Asheton’s drumming on the obnoxious Rich Bitch remains a thing of wonder as it locks into a murderous groove with brother Ron, who applies his own unique style of aggression to his bass playing. Though ill-served by the recording, James Williamson’s brutalist approach to his guitar – see Cock In My Pocket – is palpable throughout.

But this remains an album for aficionados, and novices are instead directed to the Stooges’ first three studio albums before returning here.

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.