Saturday, May 17, 2008

Slammin' to the Oldies: X at the Majestic

The Rock'n'Bowl Outside Detroit's Majestic Theatre

I'm taking a temporary break from my blogging "hiatus" to tell you all about a fun show by X and The Detroit Cobras that I was lucky enough to attend this past Thursday.

The members of the band X are a bit old for a "punk" band, but they still sound great together. They play a very tight and energetic set, dominated by Billy Zoom's crunchy Les Paul Gretsch Billy Zoom Tribute Model guitar. John Doe and Exene were in fine voice, though Exene's mic was a little bit too low in the mix.

It still works because their music is more than just a punk attitude: X plays some of the greatest American rock music ever made. I really can't imagine them sounding all that much better back in the 1980's. But the atmosphere was more subdued than during the heyday of the L.A. punk scene. The crowd, mostly in their 30s, gently "slam danced" for awhile, but that hardcore nostalgia petered out after about three or four songs.

The set list consisted mostly of great songs from X's first four classic albums. Here's a sampling:

X – White Girl (buy album)
X – Blue Spark (buy album)
X – The New World (buy album)

And here's a good one from the Detroit Cobras:

The Detroit Cobras – As Long As I Have You (buy album)

Billy Zoom and John Doe of X

The Detroit Cobras

And now for a word about a worthy charity, the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund:

Sweet Relief is working with X on a series fundraisers offering tickets and VIP passes along with a CD signed by the band for shows on the legendary band's 13 – 31 Tour. Ticket & CD packages will be auctioned on eBay, and will be-available for bidding 2 – 3 weeks prior to the concert date. Each 10-day auction will be posted on eBay at

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund is a Los Angeles-based national charity providing financial assistance to musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. There are many talented artists who will never be rich or famous, but who play essential roles in the transcendent connection between fans and music. Sweet Relief tries to redress some of the imbalance between the few in music who have a lot and the many who struggle; but persist in their art. For more information about Sweet Relief, please visit or their MySpace page at



BillyZoom said...

I appreciate the kind words, but that was NOT a Les Paul. That was a Gretsch Billy Zoom Tribute Model.
I've progressed from being the Gretsch poster boy, to being the Gretsch poster old man, but I've never played a Gibson guitar.

Paul said...


Thanks for playing a great show and for commenting on my little blog!

I'll fix the guitar reference. (Never been a detail guy.) Whatever it was, you sounded great covering both rhythm and lead on it.

Good luck with the tour!

LD said...

Damn. Getting called out by one of the band members normally would kinda suck. BUT IT'S BILLY ZOOM!!! Fuck yeah, flapjack! Sounds like a good time was had by all, wish I could've been there. I must not think bad thoughts.

Paul said...

I know! Really cool. It was a great show.

Al said...

What a great show!

davesap said...

Definitely enjoyed the show. Fun times Paul! Great way to celebrate your b'day. I love your picture of the bowling alley too.

Concert showed that X can still bring the power. Loved all of the tracks from Los Angeles, including the outtakes of I'm Coming Over (I really dig this song) and Adult Books that made it onto the CD reissue. Interesting (and pleasing since Los Angeles is my favorite album) that the LA tracks were the ones that the crowd was most into. Psyched that they are now playing Johnny Hit and Run Paulene. First time that I had heard that live. (I guess the crowd is too old to misbehave now.)

Exene has dropped the sensuality of her live performances from the 80's (most evident during Breathless). I can live with that, but I would have liked to hear her voice.

Kudos to the 30 something skinny dude in the John Lennon glasses for getting the slam-dancing started. This version had no one leading with their fists or elbows, and no huge shirtless dudes dripping with sweat and jumping off the stage. I don't miss that. All in all, a kinder, gentler, much more enjoyable version of slamdancing that left smiles on everyone's faces.

Paul, I finally got my *ss in gear, and did a post on Who You Calling Punk. Hope you like it.