Exene Cervenka Archive

The Monday Set: X – Los Angeles – 1/28/2012

X
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
Los Angeles, CA
28 January 2012

It has been far, far too long since I last posted on TSOI. The brief explanation is a change of venue, combined with a fair bit of sloth. Carlie and I left Louisiana back in August for a new life in southern California, and it bears mentioning that TSOI’s Kevin has been one of the reasons our transition has been as smooth as it has. Even so, new places take time for adjustment, and so it wasn’t until last month that we actually got our shit together enough to go out to a show. But what a show for our intro to the LA rock scene!

Contemporary art aficionados are likely aware of Pacific Standard Time, the current retrospective of southern California’s contributions to the art world from the end of the Second World War to the end of the twentieth century. This event is sponsored by the Getty Trust, but is actually happening at dozens of venues from LA to Orange County and beyond. The Museum of Contemporary Art’s location in Little Tokyo hosted (until today! go if you have time!) the show concerning art produced in Los Angeles between 1974 and 1981, which they called Under the Big Black Sun. Punk-rock fans will recognize that this title was lifted from the third album by LA’s own pioneers, X. To celebrate the exhibition, MOCA organized a concert in the plaza outside the Geffen Contemporary featuring X together with their contemporaries from northern California, The Avengers and the now-Jello Biafra-less Dead Kennedys.

We had seen Exene Cervenka playing a solo acoustic set only a year ago in New Orleans, but had never had a chance to see X live. It’s fair to say I was blown away — not only having this classic LA experience be my first live show in this new hometown, but also seeing how tight these guys are. Billy Zoom is a ridiculously talented guitarist, with a beatific grin on his face the whole time, never once looking down to the instrument to see what he’s doing. And DJ Bonebrake‘s drumming set (and sets) a standard for any punk drummer. I don’t need to say anything, probably, about Exene or John Doe and their chemistry, since their reputation precedes them. A dynamite show from top to bottom.

Setlist:
1. Your Phone’s Off the Hook, But You’re Not
2. In this House That I Call Home
3. We’re Desperate
4. Blue Spark
5. Beyond and Back
6. Barricade interstitial
7. It’s Who You Know
8. Year 1
9. Los Angeles
10. The Hungry Wolf
11. The World’s a Mess, It’s in My Kiss
12. Sugarlight
13. True Love
14. Breathless
15. Back to the Base
16. Nausea
17. Johnny Hit and Run Paulene
18. Because I Do
19. Motel Room in My Bed
20. Devil Doll

Download: X – Los Angeles – 1/28/2012 – 263 MB

Sample: Los Angeles (Live)

Exene Cervenka and Kevin Seconds – New Orleans

Two of West Coast punk’s most accomplished performers — Exene Cervenka and Kevin Seconds — were recently on tour together, and we caught them playing solo acoustic sets at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans in March. Kevin opened with some high-energy songs that were all the more impressive for the relatively sparse attendance. The songs were great, and he just projected an incredibly friendly and cool personality, both on stage and in person. He lives in Sacramento now, and I happened to be going there the following week for a conference. When I asked him between the two sets about places to go while I was there, he was full of great advice (keeping up my string of getting good travel tips from rock stars, starting with Jens Lekman and his hometown of Gothenburg).  I had an awesome time in Sacramento; it is definitely not just a boring government town. Thanks, Kevin!

Exene, on the other hand, can really play the grande dame — which is not to say she isn’t awesome, just that she ain’t afraid to bring the attitude when necessary. There was a fair amount of chatter among the audience during her set. That’s bad enough during an electric set (at least when you’re trying to get a halfway-decent recording), but it is a royal pain in the ass when it’s just one person on guitar. Finally, she just quit partway through one song, saying, “Even I can hear what you’re talking about up here!” Right on, Exene. Things got quiet real fast.

So here you have a pair of tracks from each of these legends: “There’s A Hole” and an as-yet-untitled track from Kevin Seconds, and “Already in Love” and “Surface of the Sun” by Exene Cervenka, showcasing her country stylings.

Download: Kevin Seconds: There’s a Hole/Untitled (Live)

 

Download: Exene Cervenka: Already in Love/Surface of the Sun (Live)