Photo Essay: X, New York Dolls @ Club Nokia 12/20/08
Saturday night's marquee lineup at Club Nokia of X, New York Dolls, and Cracker was a perfect set up for a reenactment of the evolution of the clichéd rock fan: the MC5 meets Stooges and Stones 70's garage rock of the Dolls; the timeless West Coast iteration of late '70s downtown punk best repped by hometown heroes X; the '90s post-cowpunk, quasi-kitsch alt-rock of Cracker.
Throw away the bullshit clichés -- this nearly four-hour show was hardly a lesson in history. The music of X and the New York Dolls is as fresh -- and as rockin' as ever.
After a delay in making it through security at Club Nokia and unfortunately missing Cracker's set, New York Dolls (with two remaining original members David Johnasen and Sylvain Sylvain) took off with a New Year's themed set. The Dolls originally made a name for themselves in the '70s with the late Johnny Thunders. Today, the Dolls are back, and songs from their 2006 comeback, One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This, such as the Intelligent Design protest song "Dance Like a Monkey" were among the liveliest of the set. The Dolls will return to the studio in the new year to record with Todd Rundgren producing.
While X -- now in its 31st year with the four original members -- sticks to early 80's hits, they play with a fever that has hardly faded. While the members of X individually have moved on to produce more -- let's say adult -- music, the songs and the sound of X remains extremely alive and relevant -- this was hardly a throwback show. The multi-generational crowd at Club Nokia did not want the show to end, with it's Christmas themes ("Santa Claus is Coming to Town," Chuck Berry's "Run, Run Rudolph"). The new venue -- like an idyllic rock joint in a box -- has pristine sound, sight angles, and is easily navigable with throughways on the right and left side of the crowd on the floor. The super-wide, but unfinished stairways really need to be better utilized so VIPs and balcony-sitters don't need to wait for an elevator. But for Club Nokia's first punk rock show -- at least according to John Doe -- this was a night to remember.