- The Washington Times - Monday, July 10, 2017


Iggy Pop has declared he is done recording and touring, content to enjoy his golden years as punk’s elder — and somehow still-living — elder statesman. The story of the recording of “Post Pop Depression,” Mr. Pop’s alleged swan song, is the subject of the new doc “American Valhalla,” directed by Andreas Neumann and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Joshua Homme, who co-produced the album.

Less a traditional documentary than an immersive musical experience, Messrs. Neumann and Homme follow their subject to the deserts of Joshua Tree near Palm Springs, California, where Mr. Pop, Mr. Homme and their coterie set to work on an old-fashioned album creation. (Mr. Pop is heard in the film decrying digital studio tricks.) Vague pronouncements about the mysticism of Joshua Tree are made by the musicians, but the mystery is far less compelling than the end musical result, which is vintage Iggy in all his still-youthful angst.

Contemporary concert footage of the band on tour shows why this Michigan man has been such a rock mainstay for a half-century, as crowds from the youthful to the very-no-so gyrate and pump their firsts as their hero gives them one helluva show. (Mr. Pop, at one point discussing certain physical ailments, says his fans will be disappointed if he does not jump into the crowd.)

The most poignant segment of “American Valhalla” follows news of the death of Mr. Pop’s friend and fellow iconoclast, David Bowie. Despite his grief, Mr. Pop soldiers on to rehearsal the same day, which many of the band describe as the greatest ever.

The doc takes on an elegiac tone near its end as Mr. Pop., Mr. Homme and their bandmates prepare for the final curtain call at London’s Royal Albert Hall. That particular concert wasn’t “the end,” Mr. Homme observes, but it was “the conclusion.”

“American Valhalla” screens — and screams — at the Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

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