I saw X play at the Cabooze last night. And, since 3 or more Pipeline People were gathered in one place, it was an Official Pipeline Outing. All in all, it was an outstanding night. Any time you’re seeing a band that’s been around as long as X you wonder if you’re going to be depressed after the show for not seeing them when they were younger and better. But that was definitely not the case with X last night. Exene sounded pretty good, and Billy Zoom is amazing in many respects. Not only does his guitar sound as though it’s powered by nuclear energy, but his on-stage schtick of eery grins, the “Hey, do I know you?” wide-eyed stares into the audience, and the little ritual where he allows people to touch his guitar were all irresistible to watch. It changed between hilarious and disturbing every five seconds. But the dude can play, and after the show he spent a lot of time shaking hands and mingling with people.
In fact, the whole band was pretty affable. And just top notch musicianship, kick-ass songs (virtually the entire two hour set was from their first three albums, which is the way it should be), and not much screwing around. They just cruised through song after song and really tore it up. It was a small venue, so I had a pretty close and comfortable vantage point. It was a great way to see one of the greatest American bands, period.
I went with our friend Debbie, a former punk rocker who saw them in 1986 or so. As we left her house, her son Billy Joe, the kid who just a year ago was borrowing tons of CDs from me and starting to figure out what he liked, was painting his jacket with various punk rock logos (Bad Brains, Dead Kennedy’s). He’s totally caught music fever, is starting to get aggressive about learning bass and guitar, etc. Fun times for him and fun for his mom to share with him. But tonight was not an all-ages show, so Billy couldn’t go. Which is too bad; he would have loved it.
That’s OK, though. It’s nice to still be getting out to shows that we can tell our kids about someday.