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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Concert Fri Jun 19 2009

Review: X at the Double Door 6/18/09


It's been nearly 30 years since California punk band X released their debut album, 1980's Los Angeles but you wouldn't know it from the youthful vigor they played with. Starting off a three-night run at The Double Door, X pleased fans by allowing them to vote on their favorite songs and creating a setlist spanning their entire career and back catalog that was sure to make many devotees in attendance very happy.


Perhaps the only clue that X has been playing music for nearly three decades was how tight they were between the four members. It was great to see John Doe and Exene Cervenka trade off on vocals, Cervenka dancing with the mic in her hand, sometimes while she was singing without missing a beat. Cervenka's voice still retains the ability to soar and be as hearty as those songs demand.


Walking the line adeptly between genres of punk and country, the songs were played slightly faster live and with more of the country overtones emphasized. Between the live chemistry between Cervenka and Doe and the smiling presence of guitarist and original founding member Billy Zoom, the band appeared nothing short of charming in the midst of the energy of their songs.


Though their set was very focused on their music playing, X did encourage the audience to keep voting, which should come to fans no surprise considering their politics. John Doe also voiced appreciation for the crowd and for the city they have played in many times over the years. It was also great to see a good turnout with a crowded room of fans, many of whom when asked insisted that they were planning on attending all three nights. Highlights of their set included: "Los Angeles" "Johny Hit and Run Pauline," "Breathless," and "Sugarlight." Throughout their 90 minute long set, including a four song encore that emphasized More Fun in the New World one couldn't help but notice how well X's songs had held up throughout the years.

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David Baum / June 22, 2009 4:43 PM

Back in their hayday during the very early 80's punk scene, X would often due 3 nights in a row at the Whiskey in LA, playing to sold out shows. According to Billy Zoom they'd play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Well for those of us who were too young to be there, the best we could do would be to get ahold of a bootleg copy of Decline of Western Civilization, turn up the volume on the tv and try and imagine what the atmosphere would have been like. Fortunately X has done some really great shows recently at venues like the House of Blues so the younger fans have had the oppertunity to see them. But let's be honest. The polite polished atmosphere of a place like that just isn't the same as seeing them in a good old fashion sweaty rock venue. Well, perhaps in an homage to the Thursday, Friday and Saturday blocks at the whiskey, those of us who dearly love this band had the rare rare oppertunity to see them up close and personal the way the spirit of the songs were ment to be experienced. I myself made it a point to attend all three nights and I can say without hesitation it was some of the best live music I've ever witnessed. Forget genre's like rockabilly or punk, X are, quite simply, of the greatest American bands in the last 40 years. To see such great talent in such an intimate atmosphere was truely a once in a life time experience.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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