X: live in Los Angeleslive in Los Angeles (2006)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: joegjoeg
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X, live in Los Angeles, has such a satisfying ring to it after tonightâ??s show. While some might say after nearly 30 years as a band they have no business being on stage, X came to the House of Blues and removed any doubts that they can still pack a punch as hard as any...at least harder than many I've seen over the years.

I got in just as the Johns were finishing the last song of their set. It was a packed house and people seemed to be in a great mood. I noticed I had to be one of the younger ones there as most in the crowd were middle-aged folks. But this was to be expected, as the members in X have to be pushing 50. But whatever differences (age or otherwise) any of us had, we were all there to settle in for a night with one of L.A.'s all-time greatest.

Exene Cervenka, John Doe, D.J. Bonebreak, and Billy Zoom took the stage to a big applause and jumped right into the classic "Your Phone's Off the Hook, But Youâ??re Not" off their incredible Los Angeles record. The crowd went crazy and almost on cue, a handful of beefed up, drunk guys started shoving each other around. Good times. I can only describe the next hour and change as pure and total enjoyment and nothing less. The X you hear on record moves you, but the X you hear live almost physically assaults you, and it wasn't the jerks in the pit. From the rhythmic stomp of "The Unheard Music" and "Blue Spark" to the punk fury of "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline" and "We're Desperate," to the galloping kick of "Motel Room in My Bed," the band was nothing short of on fire.

Having been together for so long, you could tell the band has developed a special chemistry by the way they play off each other and laugh and joke around on stage. Guitarist Billy Zoom, with a smile planted on his face the whole set, carried out the rockabilly/punk rock riffs almost effortlessly. In contrast to Zoom's more laid-back demeanor, John Doe seemed to play with an urgency and passion surpassing most guys half his age. The guy was just raging on the bass while equally impressing with his great soulful voice. Drummer D.J. Bonebreak didn't miss a beat the whole night and is as solid as they come. And of course Exene, front and center, was just singing her heart out while having a blast on stage. Exene and her self-proclaimed soulmate John Doe had their dueling vocal harmonies soaring all night, highlighted by their amped up cover of the Doors "Soul Kitchen."

The dynamic between the band and the audience was noticeable. As the crowd up front were dancing and going crazy, the band seemed to feed off the energy and be playing even harder. And after breaking into the quintessential X song "Los Angeles," everybody in that room had to have been screaming at the top of their lungs. I know I was. Unquestionably, the highlight for me was "Nausea." I thought Exene really captured the moody, dark tenor of the song while the rest of the guys did an excellent job as well. They finished with a fantastic version of "The World's a Mess, It's in My Kiss," although I thought this was the only song of the night where the mix was a little off. Or maybe it was just me going deaf after getting the equivalent of audio pummeling the whole night.

One thing from the show I missed was the richness of the organ that could've added another dimension to songs like "The World's a Messâ?¦" and "The Unheard Music." But what do I know, this was my first X show, so maybe they haven't included it in their set for some time. One thing from the show I'm not going to miss is people getting violent, especially when it comes from men fighting women. Talk about ruining the good vibes; I know it shouldn't be surprising, but it still sucks when it happens.

I have to say the appeal of X couldn't be made more apparent than tonight. Talented songwriters, fine musicians (their side projects the Knitters, John Doe solo, Original Sinners are a testament to that) with a wealth of experience, and most importantly, the ability to translate that before a live audience. And tonight, X, live in Los Angeles, delivered in spades.

Set list:

  • Your Phone's Off the Hook, But Youâ??re Not
  • Johnny Hit and Run Pauline
  • Beyond and Back
  • Nausea
  • Sex and Dying in High Society
  • Blue Spark
  • Sugarlight
  • I'm Coming Over
  • The Hungry Wolf
  • Los Angeles
  • The New World
  • We're Desperate
  • Riding With Mary
  • Motel Room in My Bed
  • Because I Do
  • The Unheard Music
  • Devil Doll
  • White Girl
  • In This House That I Call Home
  • Soul Kitchen
  • The World's a Mess, It's in My Kiss


People who liked this also liked:
Night Birds - Born To Die In Suburbia86 Mentality - Goin' Nowhere FastSuicidal Tendencies - Suicidal TendenciesX-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents [expanded]Sonic Youth - Rather RippedThe Weirdos - Weird World, Vol. 1The Germs - M.I.A.: The Complete AnthologyMary Timony - Ex HexAdolescents - AdolescentsDevo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
BrandonSideleau (March 7, 2006)

It seems like they tour plenty here in So Cal.....this is the second time in one year (April 15th) that they've played less than 5 miles from my house and I live a good 50 miles from Los Angeles....in which they've played about 6 shows in the past year lol.

Anonymous (March 6, 2006)

Simply put, X is America's greatest rock n roll band, and they
belong in the damn Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. I'd put their pic right between Eddie Cochran n Gene Vincent. Only one problem; they don't play enough gigs. So boys (att J.Doe) and Exene, how about a national tour!!!! We need you in the Northwest.

BrandonSideleau (March 6, 2006)

Anybody that places music into a "generation" category is a fucking moron and is truely an enemy of music. GOOD music is TIMELESS,,,,when I listen to Black Flag, X, Bad Brains, etc. I don;t hear anything "Eighties" about them....nothing occurs to me that these songs are any less relevant now than then...where on the other hand you might here a fucking Flock Of Seagulls song (ie shitty music) and you think of a certain time period. I have the Flag bars tatooed on my right tricep and I was only 4 years old when the band officially called it quits.....who gives a fuck when music was made, if you like it and it moves you then it's YOUR music. Oh...yes....and X rocks and put on a killer live show.....they've still got the energy, their musicianship has only gotten better and John Doe is a better vocalist now than ever before.....and he's always been great.

Anonymous (March 5, 2006)

I think the idea of "punk as a vehicle for serious change" is dead. The only radical punk is underground, everything else can only be taken on its musical merits. Most of the above ground sucks.


Anonymous (March 4, 2006)

The Knitters kick ass.

Anonymous (March 4, 2006)

im ranting but i will finish here, being a kick ass punk band today has no effect on change as the energy of the genre is branched to a subculture that was caged about 25 years ago.

Anonymous (March 4, 2006)

while i do not doubt that your generation has incredibal bands, my point is more that for the first time in decades the youth have no influence in culture other than materialism, "extreme sports" and various other intrest that do not shake up the bad ideas of our society as a whole.

Anonymous (March 4, 2006)

i may be wrong but i do judge this entire generation because of this; i see nothing happening. every generation since the 20's has defined their voice and some have even gone as far as scaring the hell out of the government. now, in the last 15 or so years i have seen nothing.

Anonymous (March 4, 2006)

while i can admit my observation is silly, i ask where is the jello biafra's of todays youth?
the radio rock of my generation was the who and zeppelin till 80's metal came out and kurt cobain helped kill it thank god.

Anonymous (March 3, 2006)

yes, the most popular of music has always sucked...except the beatles

SlackMFr (March 3, 2006)

One of the greatest bands to exist, and always will be. Damn they have some killer energy. This bands fucking blows away any band today, ANY band.

Nameless (March 3, 2006)

You're lucky! Man, I would love to see them live...

No, "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts?" Bummer.

Anonymous (March 3, 2006)

ah, looks like i just repeated what the_other_scott said. damn, i should really pay more attention to others' comments before i post... anyways yea X kicks ass. i was really bummed out when i missed their show in ATL..

Anonymous (March 3, 2006)

fuck that shit... you cant judge an entire generation by a few shitty bands of the era (which aren't even punk to begin with). i'm quite sure that the generation which produced the germs, dead kennedys (neither of which had any mainstream popularity) produced their fair share of shit as well.

the_other_scott (March 3, 2006)

dude below. while i would consider yellowcard, blink 182 etc. not really my generation i think that's kind of a silly observation.

its not like your generation didn't give us any shtty radio rock. there was plenty of it, that's what made those punk bands so relevant. there are still plenty of incredible bands from our generation, they just aren't covered by mainstream media.

Anonymous (March 3, 2006)

your review is good. its just funny how "young" people see the world as if only their age group knows what's up. while my middle aged generation gave the world X, the germs and the dead kennedy's. your generation gives us yellowcard, blink 182 and good charolette. this not a mean post just an observation.

joeg (March 3, 2006)

i've been in l.a. for almost a year now and when i got here, i was pretty pissed because i just missed x at the henry fonda. well 9 months later, here they are again. you socal people are definitely lucky to see all these great bands pretty much every year.

Anonymous (March 3, 2006)

i know this sounds sillly but if you like X you should really listen to THE FORECAST.


elliot (March 3, 2006)

i want to see X sooooo bad. they need to tour again, and i will drive however long it takes to see them.

what sucks is that everyone should be reading this review, and yet the hawthorne heights review will get like 900 trillion more comments.

RecordTheory (March 3, 2006)

x is so awesome. has anyone heard the most recent john doe solo album? it's also pretty bad ass.

TheOneTrueBill (March 3, 2006)

What about Oddities, Abnormalities, and Curiosities?

Cos (March 3, 2006)

Its funny living in SoCal that you just take for granted that X plays every few months with the original line-up and all the old songs. I saw them at Sunset Junction a few years back and they sounded good. I got to view them behind the stage and witness Bonebreak pound the drums to "Nausea".

Like the Circle Jerks, I still give them credit for not releasing another "big" reunion album--just playing every so often for some money and fun seems respectable to me.


the_other_scott (March 3, 2006)

X and the Stooges prove that the Doors were punk rock. i wish i could see X live.

TheOneTrueBill (March 3, 2006)

I also need to learn to close and correct my tags.

TheOneTrueBill (March 3, 2006)

Damnit, I really really really want to see X. I need< u> to see X. Fuck all you coast people.

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