Punk legends who should be mercy-killed

One of the best bands ever emits a massive turd of a record and should probably be taken behind the barn and shot. PLUS CKUT turns 25, there’s a new Trigger Effect record, NDQ gets a Distroboto, Bloodshot Bill plays in the afternoon and a true-blue soul man comes to town.

Well, another Stooges record, aptly titled Ready to Die (Fat Possum), has swooped down on us. Unsurprisingly, it stinks worse than a garbage strike in Cornwall.  Admittedly, this is far better than their first attempt to reclaim their crown, 2007’s The Weirdness, but fuggit, even Sum 41 were putting out better records than that piece of shit. In short, if you’re expecting another Fun House, you definitely won’t find it here.

What marred their 2007 travesty is that Iggy and co. didn’t even bother to retrace their own steps but actually stooped to trying to imitate their imitators, and even failed miserably at that. Gone is the sense of nihilism and danger that fuelled their early records. Despite having long-time bassist Mike Watt anchoring the low end, the band are toothlessly gnawing at their own dry bone.

The fact of the matter is the Stooges recorded two of the greatest rock records of all time, their eponymous 1969 debut and Fun HouseRaw Power is a righteous jammer, but a flawed one, while their first two vinyl stabs just sheer yer head off every time. I mean, Jeezus, those are some pretty fucking hefty records to have in your arsenal, so if you’re going to haul around the same brand name, you better be prepared to back it up. When the Stooges were firing on all cylinders almost 35 years ago, they had a heart full of napalm, filled with desperation and screamed the whole venomous mess out to an uncaring world from the desolate and burning streets of Detroit. Those days are long, long gone.

Things are just too comfortable here as Williamson gives a lesson in histrionics with predictable riffs you could set a watch to, while Iggy leaves his trademark swagger in his other designer pants. When the godfather of punk wraps a crusty ol’ raincoat around his sinewy and leathery frame on his ridiculous toss-away ode to tits, “DD’s,” he’s as sexy as open-heart surgery.  I mean the guy’s on the wrong side of 60, fercrissakes! Oddly, it’s when the band shake off their comfortable penny loafers on the ballads “Unfriendly World,” “Beat That Guy” and the blues-tinged “The Departed” that something gets salvaged here.

Original Stooge Steve Mackay’s saxophone, the same horn that fuelled the free jazz fuckery of Fun House’s glorious “L.A. Blues,” proves to be as welcome as a fart in an elevator. His tired brass blasts just topples Williamson’s Marshall stack and gives the whole thing a cruise-ship-band sheen that just dashes any chance of songs like “Sex & Money” and “DD’s” to get off the ground.

If the Stooges come to town, don’t think twice: go see ‘em. They’re still a killer rock band. But as far as writing new material goes, it’s definitely time to take Iggy and Williamson behind the barn to put them out of their/our misery.

Shits and gigs:

Tuesday – Normally, I would’ve said the pick of the week is Sweden’s Ghost (now Ghost B.C.), who return to the Corona Theatre tonight with Ides of Gemini, but unfortunately I cannot bestow this great honour on them. The last time they played the same digs about a year and change ago, I was pinching myself. 2010’s Opus Eponymous was one of my favourite metal releases of that year, with its cross-pollination of ’70s prog, vintage Blue Oyster Cult riffs and Sabbath sludge, with a great sense of theatre — how could you go wrong? Uh, apparently very wrong. The band kept getting tripped up on their own shtick and couldn’t get out of their one-dimensional cardboard characters, the riffs wrung dry while digitally harmonized, enhanced vocals just stopped things dead in their tracks. Ah jeez, enough of my whinin’. What the fuck do I know? I’m probably still just pissed about that new Stooges record. If Ghost still put the bacon on your burger, knock yerself out.

Wednesday – A great start to your hump day would be to catch the launch of the new Distroboto machine that will take up residence at Notre Dame des Quilles. The launch runs from 5–9 p.m. and will feature a Q&A session with Distroboto head honcho Louis Rastelli and other surprises from Distroboto-distributed artists.

Still cresting on their hype, Foxygen will park their twee psych-pop at Il Motore, with Crumbs.

A better bet for some solid psych would be to catch the speedy return of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (weren’t they just here?) with Thenewno2 at Theatre Corona.

ThursdayLe Kid and les Marinellis return to town after their recent European tour and play at their favourite local haunt, l’Escogriffe. Elbowing in on le Kid’s garagey primal stomp will be El Napoléon, the Knows and the busiest rock DJ in town, Mathieu Beauséjour, stickin’ the needle in the groove.

Friday – Montreal’s favourite punk creeps Trigger Effect will launch their new rekkid What’s Left to Eliminate? at Il Motore. Helping to apply pressure will be the BCASA and Hopeless Youth.

Taylor Knox and Nanimals will be playing at Divan Orange, but the real reason you’ll want to show up is to catch the glimmering power pop of Dany Laj and the Looks. Full disclosure: Laj bought me a beer at the Redd Kross show so the bespectacled pop genius will always be golden in my books. Payola aside though, the kid’s got the chops.

Saturday – Happy birthday goes out to CKUT, who’ll be celebrating their 25th anniversary of electrifying our local airwaves. To help celebrate, they’ve kicked up a shindig at Sala with Key Lites, the Dykes on Mics orcHerstra, CKUT DJs Butcher T., Professor Groove and the Venus Collective. They’ll also have a photo booth and other surprises. Good on ya!

Sunday – Your perfect Sunday afternoon definitely starts at Sound Central at 4 p.m., when you can catch one of Montreal’s best performers ever, Bloodshot Bill.

Monday – Post-punkers les Zerreurs will burst out of the gate at le Bistro de Paris with help from ex-Jesuslesfilles band Teen Seizure.

Ex-Old Time Reljun and current member of Arrington de Dionyso Malaikat dan Singa will blow minds at Casa with stellar support from David Kristian and Schroeder.

Finally, my pick of the week falls on Monday, when the healing soul power of Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires descends on Corona Theatre. Most current “soul music” phones it in, but Bradley is the real deal. Don’t miss this chance to see this living legend sweat while he pours his heart out. If you don’t believe just how good Bradley is, check this out and try and keep a dry eye. ■

Current obsession: The Stooges, Funhouse

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