Having attended more than a few "reunion" shows, the only ones that were any good were a Washington, D.C. Damned show in 1988 and a recent Negative Approach show in Albuquerque. Lets face it: By the time most bands reach a certain age, there are good reasons for calling it quits and the motives for resurrection are largely monetary. In many cases the existence of the Casino Circuit enables bands that never should have been assaulting my ears in the first place to once more hit the road and get in my face with billboards along the highways of North America—or at least the highways running through Albuquerque.
The entirely legit performance that the Los Angeles punk rock legend X put on at the Santa Fe Opera last Monday, Sept. 23, dispelled any doubts I might have had about their motives or competence. I was also pleasantly surprised at what a nifty spot the Santa Fe Opera is—and it sounds great in there. There ain't much to say about X: They rocked, they rock and they still rock. With all four original members on stage, X launched their set with a tight rendition of "Los Angeles" and proceeded to rip through nearly two hours of their best songs—that's a lot of tunes—without slowing down, fucking up or retooling their catalog. Guitarist Billy Zoom played with the same panache and chops he had back in 1980 and drummer DJ Bonebrake—though he looked as though he might collapse near the end of the set—whipped it on his snare like Orville Redenbacher makes popcorn. John Doe and Exene Cervanka (or "Cervenkova," as she is apparently going by these days) performed with all the chemistry they showed in Decline and The Unheard Music way back when. The group is obviously enjoying themselves on this tour, with their health and safety in mind, too.
Seriously, folks, if you live near a city the X/Blondie or X/Blasters tour is coming through: Get a ticket and show up. X fans will freak out as the dopamine and serotonin levels in their brains reach pleasure levels produced by only the world's finest live music. Blondie, by the way, while adequate and definitely popular with the choir—oops, I mean crowd—just didn't have the energy and vibe to elevate their set above the rating of "reunion-rock," a term I hereby claim to have coined.