91X’s two night sold-out holiday extravaganza, WreX the Halls, took place at Valley View Casino on Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11. Night one featured a nice selection of mostly “mellow” bands, while night two was billed as the “greatest punk rock line up” San Diego has ever seen.
Night two’s opening act, Mutemath, delivered a charismatic performance. Lead singer Paul Meany clearly enjoyed working the crowd. He bounced off the stage a few times to slap outstretched palms, accepted a Barbie doll from a fan before tossing it back into the crowd, and showcased his signature dance moves: one part Mick Jagger, one part Steve Martin. Have either Mick or Steve ever done a handstand on a piano? Well, if they haven’t, then Meany has that on them. Set highlights included “Prytania,” “Blood Pressure,” “Spotlight,” “Odd Soul,” and “Typical.”
Everlast followed with a tranquil set that felt as if the former House of Pain primary were hanging out with you in your living room, just singing and playing his guitar. The last two songs received the biggest cheers from the crowd, “I Get By,” and the late 90s hit “What It’s Like.” Audience members took out their cell phones to show their appreciation in the mostly dark arena.
Then DMC rocked the house! The set started with a moment of silence for Jam Master Jay, who was murdered in 2002. It took the crowd a moment to realize that the band had called for silence instead of wild cheering, but respects were finally paid. The fun song “Mary, Mary,” got the crowd in a dancing mood. Then, DMC said he’d been “doing this for 30 years,” and asked the crowd, “You think this is easy? It can get tricky!” And with that segue, the crowd started hopping up and down to “It’s Tricky.” As expected, the audience went off the hook when DMC, along with Switchfoot’s guitarist, played “Walk This Way.” Nostalgic guitar shredding ensued.
If DMC got the audience dancing, Pennywise got them crowd surfing. An entire arena’s worth of attendees were on their feet and at least ten people were pulled out of the pit by security even before the first song ended. Pennywise’s posse of friends, who had been enjoying the performance from the side of the stage, joined to sing the last song of the set.
Next up, the San Diego’s own Switchfoot received a very warm welcome. They started their set with “Mess of Me,” and got loud cheers for their cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” The crowd loved them not only for their solid performance, but also for their interaction. During “Meant to Live,” lead singer Jon Foreman went into the pit to sing amongst the fans, and then climbed out to the lower level seats. Foreman high-fived fans and borrowed a fuzzy hat with flaps and pom poms. He said he “grew up listening to 91X” and that it “was a dream come true” to play WreX the Halls.
Mike Ness, looking like a godfather of SoCal punk, led Social Distortion through an incredible set of recent work including “Machine Gun Blues,” as well as classics like “Story of My Life,” and “Prison Bound.” Ness has been playing for 30 years and, from the looks of it, could easily play for 30 more.
The night ended with headliners Blink 182. The crowd cheered “Blink! Blink! Blink! Blink!” and countless fans tumbled towards the stage even before the band’s members began their set with “Feeling This.” Screams of “I love you” could be heard throughout the performance. The fans adored them, and the crowd swelled and surged in adoration as the final night of WreX the Halls ended with a fist-pumping roar.
Photos – 91X WreX the Halls, Valley View Casino Center – December 11, 2011
Note: Due to venue/artist restrictions, we were unable to immediately post photos of Social Distortion.