One Eyed Jacks
Exene Cervenka and The Original Sinners
December 19, 2006
The best part about this concert was familiarizing myself with X before I went to it. Which isn't to say the concert sucked; it was great. It's just that exploring X's catalog was such an awesome thing. I admit that at the tender age of 29, I really should know about X by now, but early punk is just not something I'm quickly drawn to. It'll probably just take me longer to catch up to that stuff, the downside of when I grew up being that I could write an essay on Our Lady Peace and not X(note: this isn't a fair rub--OLP has actually written some impressive grunge pop. Have you wondered what U2 would have sounded like if they had gone grunge? Of course you have. I'm sure you think about it all the time. Well, the new OLP album sounds like that).
X was, of course, one of the best known punk band in Los Angeles, and Exene Cervenka, along with John Doe, was a singer in that band.
A great thing about Cervenka's show at One Eyed Jacks Monday night? She didn't rely on X material for crowd applause. Her solo stuff with her band The Original Sinners was stellar enough to keep the crowd interested and banging their heads.
Was it not for the rockabilly shade to Cervenka's music, I could just say she played meat-and-potatoes punk. Her songs were catchy and short. Her voice was a snarky dagger and an exceptional, well-honed weapon. I bit on every sentiment that came off her lips. I believed her. I can't remember disliking one of her songs or getting bored, which is something that could have easily happened considering I had never heard her solo material before that performance.
Cervenka's best asset, besides her voice? Her two guitarists. They allowed more complexity and focus on layered melody than is usual in punk. How great was it that Cerkenka could focus on her voice and be Exene and these two guys could just rip solos and be guitar heroes? Awesome.