Saturday, August 13, 2016

X at Irving Plaza

Exene Cervenka
In 1976, bassist John Doe, born John Nommensen Duchac in Decatur, Illinois, and raised near Baltimore, Maryland, moved to Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Billy Zoom, born Tyson Kindell in Savanna, Illinois, moved to California in the 1960s. Doe and Zoom met after posting similar ads in a local newspaper seeking other musicians to form a punk rock band. Doe brought to the fold poet Exene Cervenka, born Christine Cervenka in Tallahassee, Florida, whom he met at a poetry reading in Venice, California. Doe also discovered drummer Donald "D.J." Bonebrake of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley when Bonebrake was playing in a local band called the Eyes. Together, the foursome formed X in 1977 and became the leaders of the Los Angeles punk scene. X split in 1988, reunited in 1993, split again in 1995 and reunited again in 1998. The band tours but has not recorded an album since 1993's Hey, Zeus!

X has retained a strong New York following, judging by the substantial turnout tonight at Irving Plaza. X played much the same set as the group has played for the past 30+ years. The set consisted of 24 rapid-fire songs, all from X albums dating back from 1980 to 1983. The set began with five songs from Wild Gift, and stayed close to that raw, energetic sound, hardly venturing into the more folk and country roots-oriented sound of Doe and Cervenka's later solo albums. The staple of the band remained firm, which was the synchronous singing of Doe and Cervenka, with Zoom igniting the songs with blazing leads during their vocal pauses. X performed the old X very well, as energized as its in most primitive, exploratory phase, except that tweaking a song like "The Unheard Music" does not qualify as new material. The public awaits new adventures from X.

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