Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Beyond and Back

X with Julianna Hatfield @ The Theater of the Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA 12/8/05
Opener Julianna Hatfield played a solid if not particularly spirited or memorable opening set. It was nice for me to see her perform live for the first time since 1994 (when I saw her play at my college). However, my favorite part of her set, by far, was when John Doe (of headliners X) came out and harmonized with her on The Everly Brothers classic “When Will I Be Loved”, an unexpected and welcome treat.

Headliners X came on and just dominated. I’d never seen them with the original lineup before, so this was a real treat for me since I’ve been a big fan for years and I consider them to be one of my favorite bands ever. Opening with “Beyond and Back” from 1981’s excellent Wild Gift (one of my favorite albums of all time), they stormed through an hour-long set of classic after classic from their 1st 4 (great) LPs including the more well-known cuts like “Los Angeles”, “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene” (both from 1980’s debut Los Angeles) alongside Wild Gift’s “In This House That I Call Home”, “We’re Desperate” and “I’m Coming Over” (though sadly “It’s Who You Know” and “Some Other Time” weren’t played on this evening). Songs played from 1982’s critically-favored Under the Big Black Sun included “Because I Do”, “Motel Room in My Bed” and “The Hungry Wolf”, which was one of several songs played in the short encore. 1983’s equally excellent but underrated More Fun in the New World was represented by “Poor Girl” (perhaps my favorite song in the X canon aside from “Some Other Time”) and “The New World”, though “Drunk in My Past” and “I See Red” would’ve been great additions as well.

Still, the complaints I had were very minor considering how tight the band were. The audience (aside from some very drunk fellow that security escorted out in the middle of the set) ate it all up, singing along with all the songs as if they were at a Southern Baptist church. The “let’s have fun and enjoy this” attitude is so refreshing in light of the joyless vibe that many indie-rock shows give off. All in all, this was the best concert that I’ve seen all year!


Anonymous Mike B. said...

Your response to the original lineup of X mirrors mine. Still a force.

8:30 AM

Blogger frankenslade said...

I'm bummed I missed that show. Seeing them in a tiny dance rehearsal studio on a 6-inch stage at the time Under the Big Black Sun was released still ranks as my favorite live show ever.

4:37 PM


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