By MIKEL TOOMBS
How cold was it Friday night in Seattle?
It was so cold that X guitarist Billy Zoom (he was the one with “BILLY ZOOM” emblazoned on his guitar strap) had to blow on his fingers to keep them nimble. So cold that singer Exene Cervenka kept moving her arms between songs (although that may be normal for her).
All this, mind you, was taking place indoors, at the venerable Moore Theatre, as X ushered in Year One One with a magnificent New Year’s punk-rockin’ Eve.
The “Los Angeles” band played a few covers: The Doors’ “Soul Kitchen,” of course, as well as a killer “Breathless” (FYI, Jerry Lee Lewis himself, 75, is scheduled to play Snohomish Casino on April 21) and, yes, “Auld Lang Syne” (old acquaintances are not only not forgot, they’re revitalized for the occasion).
But this was more a night to celebrate 30-plus years of the thoroughly original, still-potent punk poetry of X, previously documented in the 1985 rockumentary “The Unheard Music, a lo-def screening of which served as Friday’s “opener,” and the ‘80 debut album “Los Angeles,” which the band played in its entirety, as it’s been wont to do. (Amusingly, there were set lists written up for this, which later, more reasonably, were passed out as mementos to fans in front of the stage.)
Of course, in true punk tradition this only took up about one-third of a 95-minute performance. For the remainder of the evening X, looking slightly geriatric but rocking with abandon (drummer DJ Bonebrake was more animated than he was in the 25-year-old film), powered through its greatest “hits,” from “We’re Desperate” to “The World’s a Mess, It’s in My Kiss” (glorious) and “Year One,” with Exene greeting 1/1/11 by banishing the “bad year” that preceded it. One notable omission: “Adult Books,” but then, maybe Jackie Susann meant it that way.
(Mikel Toombs is an occasional contributor to GeneStout.com. Read his recent review of Ronnie Spector’s Christmas album here. And read Gene Stout’s 2008 Seattle Post-Intelligencer interview with Exene Cervenka here.)