Older bands with a punk pedigree usually have a tough time trying to pull off credible comebacks. Feel-good nostalgia is a tricky proposition when middle-aged artists attempt to resurrect music that craves brazen aggression, bratty insolence and a healthy disregard for the status quo--which is why the Sex Pistols' 1996 "Filthy Lucre" tour rang hollow. So how did X manage to pull off its reunion show at the Hollywood Palladium on Saturday without emitting even the faintest whiff of nostalgia?
Unlike so many other bands that came of age during the early-'80s punk movement, X never shirked adulthood; instead, the musicians embraced it. Songs such as "Blue Spark," "Your Phone's Off the Hook" and "The World's a Mess; It's in My Kiss" grapple with the complexities and pitfalls of everyday life and therefore have lost none of their emotional effect. Then there's the music itself, a tightly wound blend of rockabilly, country, garage rock and Billy Zoom's blazing, inventive guitar work.