I’m not going to lie to you, it was tough to leave my warm house and face wet roads and dark skies, but Wrex the Halls was well worth it. 91X’s annual holiday concert kicked off with San Diego’s own Schitzophonics. This is a band that makes an impression. Singer/guitarist Pat Beers ceaselessly jumped, vaulted, and propelled himself across the stage while ripping on his guitar. It was a sight to see.
Next came the bland Banks and then Austin’s Spoon. Spoon has had a successful year with the release of their album They Want My Soul. The band played “Rent I Pay,” “Got Nuffin,” “I Turn My Camera On,” and other crowd-pleasers.
The excitement in the crowd grew considerably for the next artist, whom 91X DJ Halloran introduced as “Billy fucking Idol.” When Idol took the stage, he asked, “Are you going to have fun tonight?” The crowd gave a large cheer and Idol replied, “Of you course you are, because I’m Billy Idol.” The veteran rocker gave the crowd exactly what they wanted, starting with “Dancing with Myself” and continuing with all the hits: “Rebel Yell,” “Flesh For Fantasy,” “Eyes Without a Face,” “White Wedding,” and “Mony Mony.”
Brooklyn’s Interpol performed songs off of their fifth studio album, El Pintor. The crowd went wild for “Evil,” from 2004’s Antics, and even sang along: “Rosemary, heaven restores you in life.” Interpol has had their ups and downs over the years, but musically, their set was the strongest of the night. They’re all solid musicians and they sure can play.
With his bright eyes, friendly smile, and Australian accent, Wrex the Halls surprise guest Vance Joy made many in the audience swoon. The crowd gave him a warm welcome with lots of cheers and loud, high-pitched screams. The highlight of his set was, as expected, “Riptide” — which he played on ukelele.
Alt-J followed Joy, but they didn’t seem to take much pleasure in their set. Touring to support their 2014 album, “This is All Yours,” everyone but drummer Thom Green looked bored and tired.
Headliners Cage The Elephant must really enjoy playing in San Diego. In the past fourteen months, they’ve played here four times. Maybe it’s because San Diego knows we’re lucky to have them: the quintet took the stage to loud cheers and thunderous applause.
Cage the Elephant wasted no time jumping into their set, playing “Spiderhead,” “In One Ear,” and “Aberdeen.” Other crowd favorites were “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” “Come a Little Closer,” and closer “Shake Me Down.” During the set, vocalist Matt Shultz dived into the audience (like he always does) and climbed the retractable risers collapsed along one side of wall. Do we still have time for a fifth show in 2014?
Cage the Elephant