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Performer Notes
  • For decades, the James Williamson edition of the Stooges has been responsible for a remarkable number of semi-authorized albums featuring live tapes and studio sessions, and it's nice to know that tradition has continued since he returned to the band in 2009. Sadistic Summer is a warts-and-all document of Iggy & the Stooges on-stage at the Isle of Wight Festival on June 11, 2011, and while the reunited edition of the band previously played the venerable U.K. festival with the late Ron Asheton on guitar; with Williamson on board this time, they played a set dominated by material from Raw Power, the Stooges' album that has always held the most fascination for British fans. While the audio on Sadistic Summer is a bit chaotic, capturing plenty of the audience's enthusiasm and the occasional stumbles in the performance, it's also clear and forceful, making this set sound as loud and muscular as it should, and the band is in great form. Scott Asheton's drumming is rollicking and surprisingly hard-hitting, given that this was one of his last performances (he suffered a stroke six days later that effectively ended his run with the band and eventually claimed his life in 2014), Mike Watt's bass is fluid but dead on the mark, and Williamson's guitar sounds like a tuneful chainsaw, which is to say it sounds just the way it did on Raw Power (though he flubs his solo on "I Got a Right"). And if Iggy briefly sounds like he has trouble keeping up, he's in good voice and is still a manic stage presence at 64 years of age, as he goads the audience and insists that Dave Grohl get up and dance. Not exactly essential, Sadistic Summer is still a better representation of the Stooges on-stage with Williamson than any other disc that's emerged to date (unless you count the remarkable disaster that is Metallic K.O.), and it's a fitting tribute to Scott Asheton, who drives this band with authority on this date. ~ Mark Deming
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