Torched Live Review – X, Violent Femmes Co-Headline In Houston TX


Live Review – X, Violent Femmes at The House of Blues Houston, TX 5/10/19

Words and photos by Richard Herron


For many of us, X and The Violent Femmes whisk us back to a time before social media and the world of instant gratification by way of “likes” and “selfies”. A simpler time when you could just jam a cassette in the player and rock out. We pushed back against frustrations with the world, with the music we listened to, not by whining on Facebook.

Seeing these two bands together was an assault on the senses. From the Psychobilly stylings of X, to the rhythmic folk-punk sounds of the Violent Femmes, this show was a night of contrasts. First the crushing guitar and harmonized vocals of X to warm us up, then the upbeat melodies and angsty lyrics of the Violent Femmes kept us going thru to the end. Even the energy and stage presence of the 2 bands stood out as decidedly different. Starting with the high energy performance of X, with John Doe owning the entire stage, and finishing out with the Violent Femmes reminding us they could have done this entire set in their sleep, although Brian Ritchie did provide some action and antics by repeatedly knocking over his mic stand during their set.





From the start, X was tight and spot on roaring to the stage with the classic “Beyond and Back”. Exene was eXcellent, bringing all the heart to her performance we could hope for, belting out every song with passion. John Doe was animated and lively, energetically leaping around the stage the whole show. In contrast Billy Zoom was sedate, but spot on, walloping out the edgy guitar licks song after song with incredible ease. Considering that Billy has been experiencing health issues, we were just happy to see him perform, he seemed quite content to sit on his stool and blast out the tunes.

The band pretty much rocked all of the old hits including, “Because I do”, “ Breathless” (the Jerry Lee Louis cover), “White Girl”, “The Hungry Wolf”, “Nausea” (one of my favorites), “Johny Hit and Run Pauline”, and the Doors “ Soul Kitchen”. One of my favorite X songs, “Los Angeles” was sadly absent from the set. All in all, the performance by X was an amazing treat and the perfect precursor to what was up next, the Violent Femmes.

The Violent Femmes are practically in a genre of their own. Their songs have traveled with us through breakups and good times alike. The Femmes engagement with the audience is remarkable. The crowd goes wild for each and every of the many hits in the bands repertoire, singing along at the top of their collective lungs.



Violent Femmes


While the group sing-a-long brings back memories and plenty of smiles, the overall stage performance of the Femmes was somewhat lackluster. The band pretty much performed their songs standing in one place throughout the show. There were, however, a few specific highlights, such as when their newish drummer, John Sparrow, took the spotlight and Brian Ritchie providing the audience some comic relief with his nonchalant shenanigans. That said, the Femmes perform their material very well, and that’s what we’re there to see. Right? I would rather see a show where the songs are performed very well, than one that was lively, with the songs performed poorly.

The trio hit all of the audience favorites including “Prove My Love”, “Promise”, “Blister in the Sun”, “Kiss Off”, “Gimme the Car”, “Gone Daddy Gone”, “Black Girls” and of course “Add It Up”. They also included a few tunes from their upcoming album, “Hotel Last Resort” out July 26th. The new material holds its own with the bands sprawling library. I particularly enjoyed the new song “Not OK”, which I think fans of the Femmes will love.

If you have the opportunity to see these bands together, run and get tickets, you will not be disappointed.




Violent Femmes



X Set list:


  • Beyond and Back


  • In This House That I Call Home


  • Because I Do


  • When Our Love Passed Out on the Couch


  • Breathless (Jerry Lee Lewis cover)


  • White Girl


  • True Love


  • Come Back to Me


  • I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts


  • Some Other Time


  • The Hungry Wolf


  • Year 1


  • Your Phone’s Off the Hook, But You’re Not


  • Nausea


  • Johny Hit and Run Paulene


  • Motel Room in My Bed


  • Soul Kitchen



Violent Femmes Setlist:


  • This Free Ride


  • Memory


  • Look Like That


  • Good For/At Nothing


  • Love Love Love Love Love


  • Prove My Love


  • Promise


  • Another Chorus


  • Not Ok


  • Blister in the Sun


  • Kiss Off


  • Jesus Walking on the Water


  • Color Me Once


  • Hallowed Ground


  • I’m Nothing


  • Gimme the Car


  • Black Girls


  • Gone Daddy Gone


  • American Music



  • God Bless America


  • I’m Not Gonna Cry


  • Add It Up


Keep up with X

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube


Keep up with Violent Femmes

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube


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