X-Live at The Sinclair

by Sean Koepenick on August 29, 2014


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Cambridge, MA

Yes, this was a Tuesday night. But it is X for chrissakes, so who cares? I had missed them the last time they came to town, so it was time to get back on that horse. I arrived at the club around 8 PM. Since I was already at my 2 t-shirt limit for the band (plus I think my older shirts had cooler designs in all honesty) I stuck to a couple stickers for a measly 5 clams.

First up was Not In The Face, a four-piece from Austin. Hard to describe them. I heard a bit of Guided By Voices, Bruce Springsteen, even The Waterboys. I was won over by the end of the set. It looked like they were hand-picked by vocalist Exene Cervenka for this tour. She sang a song with them, and then she watched a couple songs from the front. I have probably seen X six times since they reunited with Billy Zoom in the late 90’s. I have never seen her do that before (not even for Rollins Band dude!) so she must really like them. They wrapped up by 9:15.

Next, the fun part to watch was the super-meticulous manner in which guitarist Billy Zoom’s gear was set up by the roadies. It looked like they were  repairing a Rolex, not plugging a guitar into an amp. But that’s how Billy Zoom works his magic!

Around 10:15 X hit the stage. They were tight from the first note and shook it up  on “The Hungry Wolf.” Drummer DJ Bonebrake was given an extended break and then bassist/vocalist John Doe sang a bit without any music. But the set-list featured all the favorites from the Billy Zoom era, minus any tunes from Ain’t Love Grand!, which I guess the band wants to forget (“Burning House of Love,” anyone?)

You can see the full setlist HERE.

Longtime fans also know that Mr. Zoom will not play any tunes from the 2 records X made without him. That’s his right and I don’t fault him for that. But in the past, Exene and Doe have played 1 or 2 songs acoustically. “4th of July” and “See How We Are” are great songs. We should at least get those 2 in that format at each show. Not this time unfortunately. Having seen the band once with guitarist Tony Gilkyson, I can attest that the band still was a force of nature:

No respect to Mr. Zoom-that was then, this is now! The band played until about 11:30 and everyone in the crowd seemed more than satisfied. It was an amazing show and if the band would just put out some new material (it’s not too late) and I would be happier than a pig in a fresh mud pit! Long live X and I hope they keep going as long as they can.

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Sean Koepenick

Sean Koepenick aka Earthdog grew up in the Washington, DC area. He lives, breathes and eats music, with a sweet tooth for punk rock. He loves his wife and 2 kids, Popeye’s chicken and playing the bass guitar. In his spare time he likes to read books that no one would even think of reading for pleasure like Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s August 1914 and William Shatner’s Teklab. Other favorite authors include Charles Bukowksi, John Fante and George Pelecanos. Fun fact: once drove Joey Ramone to the train station after a radio interview in a crappy Chevy Cavalier affectionately referred to as “the Grannymobile.” Now living in the Boston area, he is also a contributor to Razorcake magazine and currently plays bass guitar in Silver Screams: http://www.silverscreams.us/.

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