Photos by Michael McGrath, story by Molly McGrath
Punk is in its forties now, and everyone is celebrating, including LA’s iconic X. On their 40th anniversary tour, X is showing people that age has changed little, as their live performance remains extremely passionate and exhilarating. This tour included all original members of the band: Exene Cervenka, John Doe, DJ Bonebrake, and Billy Zoom. X rocked the Summit Music Hall last Saturday for an excited, age-diverse crowd.
Ahead of X’s return to the Summit stage, Oklahoma City’s Skating Polly provided a set that represented the post-millennial voice of the punk movement. Fronted by 17-year-old Kelli Mayo, the band brings together the eclectic aesthetics of 90’s girl grunge and the chaotic energy of contemporary teenagehood- picture Veruca Salt and Hole having a baby with Darby Crash, but now it’s a teenager and very angry.
X kicked off the set with “Beyond and Back”, and played a 20+ song set representing a variety of their albums. As they played the audience began to push and mosh, and frontwoman Exene Cervenka suggested they “push backwards” to protect people (especially girls) in the front.
Guitarist Billy Zoom, who has recently beat bladder cancer, put on a spectacular show, constantly smiling and making eye contact with members of his audience. Frontman John Doe is essentially ageless. Despite being a man in his sixties, he has the power to create and expend more energy than almost any other artist I’ve seen.
As someone who has grown up on X and loved their music for years, it was an extremely impactful experience to see them live. Exene Cervenka has been one of my idols as a female artist for years, and her performance was radiant. Their show at the Summit reminded me why X is one of the most important American punk bands. Their music, an eclectic combination of punk, blues, and rockabilly, expanded and changed the punk genre, and the lives of so many. It was an amazing experience, and in general, just an extremely impressive set of music.
X is on a limited tour for the rest of September. Check them out!