X is Symmetry

On Sunday, March 30, 2008, I saw the LA punk band X at an all ages show at The Showbox in Seattle.

On Thursday, October ?? (the ticket has been torn), 1982, I saw the LA punk band X at an all ages show at The Showbox in Seattle.

The current tour is an "anniversary" tour, which is cooler than a reunion tour. They played mostly stuff from their earlier, punkier albums, rather than from their later, uh… less punk albums.

I have seen them once before in recent years, and enjoyed it, but the sound was a little off and the show never quite achieved magical. The one on Sunday night did. It was pretty much perfect in every way.

Except, I was an idiot and didn’t dress for the concert assuming I was going to end up in the dance pit, but I suppose the fact that I wasn’t fully prepared to get sweaty and stepped on, and had to hold down my bag so it didn’t flap around too much when I pogoed, was part of the charm.

I only ended up in the pit because people weren’t dancing much in the outer reaches. I couldn’t stand that they weren’t dancing. So I got very insistent and pushed through the crowd until I hit resistance/dancing. Once I was that far, the movement of the crowd pushed me inexorably forward and I ended up about three rows from the stage, toward the center. (With the Exene worshippers. The Billy Zoom worshippers were somewhat to my left, the John Doe worshippers somewhat to my right.)

In 1982, I was sixteen, and too shy for the pit.

In 2008 I was too old for the pit but I was there anyway.

In 1982 it was an all-ages show, but the youngest people I remember were teenagers like me.

In 2008, there were parents who had brought their kids. The youngest kids I saw looked around eight or nine. They were brothers, in the Billy Zoom section, and their mother formed a kind of protective wall around them. She was singing along with all the songs. The kids looked like they were having a good time.

In 1982 I bought a calendar for 1983. The calendar art was done — I think — by Exene, who does collage, and it has a very cool mysterious ‘zine-y look that probably influenced my graphical sense a lot.

In 2008, I bought a ‘zine called "Sing Along With X" that had lyrics — I recognized some of the art, so it might have been assembled from existing lyrics sheets. The giant silver X on the cover deposited glitter everywhere.

In 1982 I bought an official concert t-shirt. I still have the t-shirt. I almost wore it to the show, but at the last minute changed my mind.

In 2008 I bought an official concert t-shirt. This is because all my clothes were soaked and I wanted something dry to put on.

In 1982 I had espresso for the first time.

In 2008 I had beer, for neither the first, nor the last time.

In 1982 I saw X with two people I barely knew, one of whom didn’t enjoy it very much.

In 2008 I saw X with my husband, and four of my oldest and dearest friends.

X is Symmetry


  1. Seeing the same band in the same place twenty-six years apart is totally awesome. (And sort of weird, because you’re talking about a concert that happened the year I was born, and I always think you’re only about four or five years older than me.) I enjoyed your “In 1982/2008” list!

    1. Author


      You know I stay young by bathing in the blood of virgins, right?

      If you’re interested, I can give you a few tips. Where to find virgins, for example.

      1. Re: Well

        Why does everyone keep trying to get me to go to NorWesCon?!

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