X performs at the TLA in Philadelphia
Friday, May 30, 2008
The band stopped in Philadelphia as part of their "13 x 31 Anniversary Tour," marking the bands 31st anniversary. The performance was the first since the bands last visit on their "As the World Burns Tour" in 2006, and featured the original line-up of John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, and D.J. Bonebrake.
Having not released an album of new work since 1993's hey Zeus!, the tour is an opportunity for one of punk rock's seminal bands to connect with their fans. The band played a strong set of material from their first four albums, all recorded during the years of 1980 - 1983.
No material from their last two studio albums was played, with some citing the strong preferences of guitarist Billy Zoom for the earlier work. X came on stage around 10:30 pm and played until close to midnight. Their full-throttle set started with "Your Phone's Off the Hook, But You’re Not," and didn’t slow down after that, although slowing down might be hard seeing as the set was classic punk – high energy songs full of angst and anger. This was moderated though by Doe’s on-going comments to the audience and Zoom's mugging. Exene, dressed in an oversize black dress seemed subdued and her vocals seemed quieter than usual – though her off-key harmonizing with Does’ vocals was true to the song's original recordings. During the second encore they were joined by Rachel Nagy who provided additional vocals. That encore was delayed by Zoom, who was in the audience seemingly determined to meet every woman in the audience.
While X has not produced an album of new material in 21 years, the band did visit recently as their alter-ego, The Knitters. Each of the members of the band has kept busy. Doe has released several solo albums and tours regularly and acts on television; Cervenka fronts the band, the Original Sinners, as well as spoken word performances; Zoom works as an album producer for other bands, and designs his own line of amps and guitars; while Bonebrake works with the Bonebrake Syncopators and Orchestra Superstring.
The opening act for X was the Detroit Cobras. The Cobras, fronted by singer Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez, provided an energetic opening for the headliners. The word for the night was fun as the members of X spent a good deal of time watching the opening act from the sides of the stage, with Zoom flirting with guitarist Ramirez and coming out on stage to wrestle with her. The Cobras returned the favor by dancing on stage during the last third of X's set.
On this tour, X has donated sets of tickets to the non-profit Sweet Relief Musicians Fund to provide assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.
- X - official site