A huge crowd swarmed to Pike Place Market Sunday evening to witness Raw Power, a makeshift group of four Seattle rock luminaries, perform a rooftop set of seven songs by the Stooges, the legendary Michigan proto-punk band. According to Raw Power singer Mark Arm, the idea came about when it was discovered that the Pike Place Market president and KEXP's CEO both loved the Stooges and rooftop concerts. (What were the odds?) In the preshow speech, Raw Power guitarist Mike McCready credited Lynn Resnick with the concept. Whatever the case, somebody deserves a raise.
Raw Power opened with “Little Doll,” a dour, throbbingly menacing cut from the Stooges’ debut. It was a ballsy, unexpected move; unfortunately, all I could hear from my not-too-distant vantage point was Arm’s vocals and Duff McKagan’s bass. The audio issue remained for “T.V.Eye,” though it was aptly and savagely executed.
By the time “I Got a Right” got revving, McCready’s guitar and Barrett Martin’s drums thankfully became more prominent. The downer blues of “I Need Somebody” followed, then the feral Fun House highlight “Down on the Street,” and iconic Raw Power cut “Search and Destroy” (you know, that song from the Nike ad).
The set climaxed with “Loose,” one of the filthiest tunes in rock history. It prompted the little girl to my right to ask, “Daddy, what’s he mean by ‘I stuck it deep inside’?” Unfortunately, Arm’s scream drowned out her father's answer.
Speaking of Arm: How do you sing Stooges songs with your shirt on? This seemed like a serious violation of Iggy protocol. Overall, though, despite the sound level, Raw Power proved to be a convincing facsimile of these rock deities—even if they failed to deliver the "Dirt."