• X at the Roseland, Portland, OR, 1.1.2011

    Punk legends X played the final date of their very-short "Xmas Tour" at the Roseland Theater here in Portland earlier this month.

    Their live sets were preceeded by a screening of the 1986 film X: The Unheard Music. It's a pretty good docu about the band and I recommend it if you are even remotely interested in this unique, seminal band. The show was pretty well sold out in this large venue so a lot of folks had to stand to watch the movie. A free-standing screen was on the stage and the DVD projected there. DIY, perhaps? I don't know but it had that sort of feel to it all. It was also heartening to not be the oldest person at the show AND to have quite a few youngsters and families in attendance (the all-ages section of the floor space was right beneath our balcony seating).

    Perhaps the best part of watching the docu was enjoying the crowd reactions, laughing or applauding some Billy Zoom craziness, John Doe sexiness, DJ Bonebrake uber-talent-ness, and Exene self-indulgent-ness. The crowd gave a resound BOO! to footage of Ronald Reagan which warmed my heart. I can only wonder, though, what the band themselves think of seeing this film now, so many years later. It's an interesting self-expose that they'd show images of their youthful selves and then, immediately afterward, take the stage all (I think) now in their 50's.

    But take the stage they did, perhaps energized at seeing their youth on display. They quite literally tore through the entire Los Angeles album, John Doe even introducing mid-way "And now, side 2." Their second set was Wild Gift in its entirety to boot!

    While Billy Zoom can't quite stretch out like he used to he's certainly lost none of his chops. DJ is, well, DJ - consumate, amazingly good drummer. Exene kept the chatter to a minimum which I appreciated. Maybe that's her MS doing that, I don't know, but she was definitely a trooper, belting out the songs as best she could. John Doe was all over the place, clearly still having a ball. It was obvious that those who are still regularly playing (Doe, Bonebrake, and Zoom) haven't lost a step at all, either.

    So, yes, they're old and hearing We're Desperate now might not have the same personal resonance it once did but that's no knock against them. X still know how to bring it without coming across as another aging band trying to capitalize exclusively on past glory.

    I managed one phone pic that I was happy with, too:

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Roderick's Avatar
      Roderick -
      Nice write up. I saw them at the Moore in Seattle on New Year's Eve and it sounds like pretty much the same experience. It was a bit of a mind bender to see them turn old before your eyes as they hit the stage after the documentary. But they played tight and looked like they were having a good time.