Concert review: X | 07.09.24, Delmar Hall (with photo gallery)

Photo of Exene Cervenka of X by Laura Jerele

w/ Jesse Ahern

Despite having a new album Smoke and Fiction out this August, this tour is the swan song for the band X as they’re saying goodbye to their longtime fans on this year’s tour. X currently consists of all four founding members (singer Exene Cervenka, bassist and singer John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom, and drummer D.J. Bonebrake) which is such a rarity these days. Oh sure, guitarist Billy Zoom did leave the group in 1986, but he’s been back in X since about 1999, so does that even count in the music business? There is such a spirit of punk rock survival in the band X, always dedicated to that pioneering punk rock spirit born in Los Angeles, while mixing bits of other genres from rockabilly, rock n’ roll, and a little bit of the blues.

I don’t want to say something cliché like “they’ve still got it,” but I feel like I have to! You simply can’t have a band that’s been together since the late Seventies and deny the way they lock into each other in concert. They were fun, they were vibrant, and they sounded amazing! They pulled in a huge crowd at Delmar Hall (especially for a very rainy Tuesday night), and that crowd was not all comprised of aging punks. There were some…but the amount of youngsters up at the rail did my heart good. They brought a huge setlist that included new songs like “Sweet Til The Bitter End” and “Ruby Church,” and more classic tunes like “Breathless,” “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts,” and “Water & Wine.” 

Singer-songwriter Jesse Ahern was a fantastic choice opener, full of East Coast humor and brashness (along with a heart of gold). There is something amazing about an artist like Ahern who willingly takes the stage with just a guitar and harmonicas with a full intention of winning over a crowd. And he did just that! Don’t get me wrong, he had his own fan base right up front, singing every word to nearly song, and I know he left there last night earning a helluva lot more. He’s gritty like Strummer meets Waits, honest like a Guthrie, melodic like Springsteen, but Ahern is definitely all his own despite anything you want to compare him to. Check out “Back Against the Wall” and “Daughter and Son,” you can thank me later. | Laura Jerele 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *