X - live in Agoura Hills (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


live in Agoura Hills (2005)

live show

Wow, now this band knows how to play! That should come as no surprise, since they've been in existence for more than a quarter century, but it was a blast to witness nonetheless. I had been to the Canyon Club twice before (once for Bad Religion and once for Dave Chappelle) and I've always found it to be a pleasant yet slightly awkward venue. It's nice, small and has a great sound system...but it's located in the heart of suburbia. When I arrived at 7:30pm (for the 9pm show) I was startled and I thought I had come the wrong night; the place was packed with "40+ aged" people and they were all sitting and eating quietly; there was absolutely NO security or barrier, and the dance floor was empty. I had expected to see at least "some" 20-somethings, but instead at that moment I had to be the youngest guy there. So, I waited around and gradually people (of all ages) began to arrive, so I decided to stake out a spot sitting literally at Exene's feet. What a varied crowd; to my left were a bunch of high school girls and to my right was a 47-year-old man with some interesting stories about X's heyday.

Shortly after 9pm, X took the stage and I must say, for a bunch of guys/girl who must be close to or over 50, they hit it pretty fucking hard; harder than almost any band half their age. John Doe is a wild man, chaotically thrashing around stage while still managing to play his bass perfectly; his stage precense reminded me of Greg Ginn (yes, I know Greg plays guitar). Billy Zoom was, as always, solemn and quiet, yet a true old-school master of the guitar; his playing is phenomenal yet he rarely moves an inch; it's incredible to witness. Drummer Bonebrake hit every beat viciously and got the job done, while everyone's fave Exene was the same as you might have seen in the movie "Decline Of Western Civilization," switching between singing and yelling while sounding great the whole time.

They opened the set with "Johnny Hit & Run Pauline" and the place went absolutely nuts; the opening by Billy Zoom never fails to send an audience into fits. They went on to play (beautifully might I add) such other classics as "Los Angeles" (which, I believe, is a story about how urban alienation can lead to xenophobia), "Beyond & Back," "We're Desperate," and "Nausea," among many others. The whole, while having a good time, I couldn't help but feel like a roadie since I constantly was trying to fix the front speakers, which kept getting knocked around by the guys moshing further back. Exene said she wanted them facing her, so every few minutes I'd have to readjust these things (with the help of a few others occasionally).

They closed out this sweaty, wild set with their classic hyperactive Doors cover "Soul Kitchen" and promptly left the stage with John saying "we'll be back REALLY soon," which obviously meant "encore," so I remained. They came back out and proceeded to play 5 songs and 2 encores!

I left the show amazed at just how tight and energetic this band was. I arrived slightly worried that they wouldn't be able to capture the energy of their early days, but left content that they not only did, but may have even surpassed it! If X comes anywhere near your town you'd be doing yourself a great disservice if you pass them up.