When Ron Asheton unexpectedly died over a year ago it was assumed that The Stooges would be laid to rest, especially as James Williamson, his successor as lead guitarist, hadn’t played live since the 70s. Then came the news that the band would be repeating the ATP exercise which worked so well with Fun House in 2005 to bring back the 1973 incarnation which produced Raw Power.
Williamson got a chance to revisit the old songs last September at San Jose’s Blank club, playing with Stooges fans The Careless Hearts. The set straddles Stooges chestnuts and lesser-known outings such as No Sense Of Crime, Paul Kimball doing a boisterous job on vocals. Williamson, formerly a wired, menacing figure, has mellowed over 35 years. Any fears that his chops had rusted up are thankfully allayed during the first bars of Raw Power, perhaps his greatest riff.
Feeling his way as a member of the band, Williamson’s playing on the likes of I Got A Right and Cock In My Pocket is spot on. Joined by real Stooges, May’s shows should be dangerous as ever. Meanwhile, this warm-up sets a benchmark for atmosphere, even ending with Louie Louie. It comes with a DVD, while there’s also a 300-copy coloured doublevinyl version.