X at the House of Blues, Anaheim

Concert review by JD Alvarez, June 4, 2011

Billy Zoom at the House of Blues, Anaheim Photography by Michelle Alvarez

A few weeks ago I was having lunch at the House of Blues in Anaheim when I noticed on their marquee that X would be playing there in June. Needless to say I was looking forward to checking out their show.

I started to wonder why I hadn’t heard much about them the past few years. I guess when you really think about it, there’s a lot we take for granted. Considering the latest overnight YouTube sensation making noise, i-tunes releases, that Weenie Roast going on down the street and oh yeah… those other 80’s band reunions making the rounds. No wonder why I couldn’t recall hearing much of what X was up to. I am happy to report that they are up to quite a few things.

Over the years the band members have been working on their own projects. John’s venture into acting has been the most public from the boys in the band. Collectively, the Knitters is the other more public venture. Exene has battled illness, or so doctors tell her. Despite conflicting medical opinions, she remains the same old down to earth gal that all X fans fell in love with so many years ago. With that said, it was only a hop skip and a jump from the house the mouse built where I was finally going to see one of the most iconic bands from the punk genre.

When I arrived at the House of Blues, I noticed the crowd ranged from teens to geriatrics, in some cases a generational showing. Although, I will admit… some of those golden oldies were punk rock geri’s that looked like they could still kick some ass. The fans I spoke with were enthusiastic and loyal. Some were covered in leather from head to toe, tattooed like Mary Ann Martinez from Lakewood who sported her X tattoo. Other fans proudly sported their spiked Rancid-esque Mohawks. There were some Robert Smith and Siouxsie Sioux kin there, and not to be overlooked… the second coming of Dr. Drew and Martha Stewart also attended.  Afterall, we were in Orange county.

Some of the older fans boasted how they have followed the band since they formed in 1977. There were Knitter fans and others that just love Exene’s poetry. Despite the wide range of fashion statements or reason’s why they were there, a common theme emerged. They all expressed their deep admiration for the band as being one of the most influential bands to come our way in generations. Some of the younger fans referred X as having street cred, while the older fans called it respect. Fans like Tony Ten from Santa Barbara said X saved Rock n’ Roll.  Christi Heart from Long Beach was just grateful a band like X was still together.  Father / Daughter fans Brian and Bailey Jones simply expressed their love of their music.

After an enthusiastic performance by Rancid offshoot Devil’s Brigade, X took the stage. They opened with the Hungry Wolf, followed with other classics like Los Angeles and White Girl. In the end, everyone heard all the songs they came to hear. The music was loud and unapologetic, just like the fans had hoped it would be. Billy Zoom sounded great with his punk / rockabilly riffs, sporting his black leather jacket, silverish/glittery guitar while brandishing that devilish smile fans have come to love over the years. DJ was spot on, John and Exene sounded crisp and energetic… it was just like old times.

Although Drew and Martha were somewhat subdued up in the rafters, the fans in the pit were having a great time. Just what you would expect from a band of this caliber. In the end, X did not disappoint and delivered a great show. The band demonstrated what a class act they are by signing CD’s and memorabilia for their fans after the show, something other bands should take notice of.  If you want to check out a class act and experience what Rock n’ Roll is all about, check this band out while you can.

X is currently on tour, go to xtheband.com to get tour details and everything else you can imagine about the band.

X features Exene Cervenka (lead vocals), John X Doe (base and vocals), Billy Zoom (guitar) and D.J. Bonebrake (drums).

Check out TNN’s photos from the show!

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