Blondie & X at Warehouse Live, 9/27/2013
Blondie's show last Friday night was a far cry from faultless. And I, like everyone else on the packed floor of Warehouse Live, could've cared less. It was Blondie.
Opening band X played a fairly long set of sustainable American music that sounded pretty much exactly as it did in 1977 when this L.A.-based outfit got started. I guess this is the beauty of classic American punk rock: generally it is somewhat innocuous in the respect that it could have been made 36 years ago or 36 days ago and no one could really tell the difference.
One must admire X's dedication to the punk-rock lifestyle. Most other bands that have been around this long either "sold out," gave up, or died. Observing X play, however, there is no doubt that sort of lifestyle is undeniably aging. At one moment, I closed my eyes and tried to imagine it was the late '70s and I was hearing X for the first time. It probably sounded much the same, but upon opening my eyes, it was apparent that a lot of time has gone by.
Overall, X is a standard punk band that is slightly softened by the woman's touch lent by Exene Cervenka. But when I say "soft," think of the more supple parts of an alligator: it's still pretty rough and raw. The crowd was really into their set, very engaged and excited, which was a great omen of the show to come.
X man John Doe
After about a half-hour break where everyone in the crowed seemed to be repositioning themselves for better visibility of the iconic headliner to come, Blondie sauntered casually onto the stage and opened with "One Way or Another." From the second Debbie Harry and co. started playing, the entire crowd was fully engaged.
During the song, it was obvious that time and life have taken a toll on Harry's voice. As much as it pains me to say, she did not sound great. However, during the second song (the classic "Hanging on the Telephone"), it was abundantly clear that the crowd simply did not care. Funny to be at a show where the sound isn't exactly stellar, but the people are SO into it... a theory as to why:
People love Debbie Harry and they always have. Guys wanted to date her, girls wanted to be her or be friends with her. Not much has changed; she's still the coolest. Her "I don't give a shit" attitude is a somehow an appealing blend of arrogance and awesomeness.
For a sexy woman, she moves with the stiffness and strangeness of an old robot. She's pretty when she's not. She is cooler than you are. She inexplicably wears unstylish sunglasses for the first six songs. She is like a melding of the beautiful bullshit of Studio 54 with the gritty pretention of CBGB. Subtle glances and eye movements are undeniably Debbie. Is she on drugs? Does it matter? Do we care?
In short, Debbie Harry is the baddest bitch at the party. She gives precisely zero fucks. She looks and sounds like she has lived the party, too. And guess what? The crowd LOVES her for it.
Review continues on the next page.