I have seen X one other time, in 1994—well, technically twice, as I won tickets for a Cleveland radio station and got to see a noontime set earlier the same day.
On Wednesday August 9, my friend Carillon and I went downtown to see X with Rollins Band and the Riverboat Gamblers. The venue was moved from The Quest to The Fine Line Cafe. The last minute change caused us to walk in right at 8, at which time the Riverboat Gamblers took the stage.
I feel bad that we never saw them before, because apparently these guys from Denton, Texas play in the Twin Cities three or four times a year. After the show we bought their newest CD and talked to one of them. They have played at the Triple Rock Social Club among other venues.
These guys were energetic, fun, and played well! I was especially impressed with their story. Their van broke down in Vegas over a week ago, and unfortunately they missed almost a week worth of shows. They had just driven 29 hours from Vegas to Minneapolis, arriving an hour before show time to throw a great show!
Their energy was infectious! The lead singer loved to climb! He climbed on the speakers, up to the balcony, and jumped around in the audience. I did not know any of their songs, but I didn't need to. They had an old-school sound that was easy to listen to and made you want to move with them. They played a half-hour set that was over too quickly. Carillon and I had smiles on our faces and we relaxed before the Rollins set.
At 9 Rollins Band comes on stage. This is the Rollins Band from the 90's, with Melvin Gibbs on bass, Chris Haskett on guitar, and Sim Cain on drums. This band put out a few great records, especially The End of Silence and Weight. The last time I saw them was a free show at the Taste of Minnesota in front of the Capitol Building in the summer of 1996, my first summer in Minneapolis.
This is a great band! Melvin, Sim, and Chris play well together. Rollins, as you probably know, is an intense guy. He comes out with these loose fitting black shorts, barefoot, tensing up his muscles getting ready to unleash his verbal load on the audience. We've been there before eagerly awaiting for them to crush us with their sound.
They delivered! They played most of the songs from Weight, including the Sabbathesque Vol. 4, Liar, and Disconnect among other tunes. I was pleased to get such a good set, and then we had another short weight before X came out.
We got a spot right in front of Exene. Everyone cheered as they took the stage. Billy played guitar to our left, while John played bass to our right. DJ was in the back on drums.
The crowd got into it, including a bit of slam-dancing. I had to do my best to hold onto the rail and pogo up and down, as I didn't want to get into the mass of people behind me. Everyone was having a good time and digging the band's energy. I enjoyed most of the show, especially when they played Hungry Wolf. The rhythm in that song is a joy!
This band is like the Grateful Dead to me in that they have a sound that is definitely American. X has a rockabilly influence, the Dead has country and jazz. Both have a chemistry that is enjoyable and works to move an audience to dance!
(In case you are a fan of any of these bands or are curious, here is the list of the remaining dates.)