x toteX
Tote Hotel, Collingwood, VIC
Saturday, September 10, 2022

Hello Barflies. Some things don’t change. There's |still nothing finer in old Melbourne town than The Tote Hotel, Collingwood, packed full of like-minded punters with a single purpose of getting their rocks off. And let me say that this Saturday night was no exception.

X were exceptional. I mean, they were just so “on” and tight. And so fucking dirty sounding. Steve Lucas just ripping his guitar. Man. he hits those strings hard. What a sound! I was literally two metres away from the great man.

X were celebrating the  40th anniversary of the classic album, “X-Aspirations”, playing the whole album in running order. How good it was. “Suck Suck” just busted out of the house sound system. Which is where I found Steve wrestling with earlier in the night when I dropped by to pay my pre-gig respects. He and soundie Dazza were in a state, trying to figure out said system. Thank fuck they got it sorted. Onya Dazza .

Kim Volkman (bass) was flashing the coolest pair of shoes I've seen in many a good year. Simon The Drummer was playing his third gig with X and second with Kim. He bashed and crashed through, locking in with Kim as a rhythm section that sounded like they’d been playing together for years.

Song two “Present” had the Tote shaking and every punter in the place singing as loud as they possibly could.  Kim’s bass on “Good On Ya Baby” just grooved, but the whole album was played with love and care, played to pay homage to two fallien members (Ian Rilen and Steve Cafeiro) with so much respect. The band members also put their own mark on it.

tote bill 40

Kim has huge boots to fill, as every X fan knows. I cannot think of a better, nicer or more talented  bass player to be Mr Lucas’ foil for these wonderful tunes. That's 14 songs played back to back and I would have been more than happy if the band called it a night. Shit, Steve's voice box must have been raw. But no, they keep playing more classics.

“Degenerate Boy”, Halfway Round The World:, Oxford Street Nick” and “TV Glue” had the Tote in a state of bliss, but by this stage I’m bloody hoarse from singing screaming to every tune. Then they play “Mother”, the John Lennon cover. I heard a story that Lobby Loyde really wanted the band to record this tune and with much resistance they finally agreed, and I’m so glad they did. Steve was born to sing this song and he makes it his own. That vocal power is on full display. Fuck Lennon (RIP) - give me Steve singing this. It’s a no fucking brainer.

So Barflies I can barely explain in words how much fun Saturday night was. Steve, Kim and Simon just blew me away - and this was not my virgin show. I’ve count of how many X gigs I’ve seen. But this was especially memorable.

Steve Lucas should be very proud how he’s keeping the X flag flying. These songs need to be played live. There were a lot of young people there (like my son and his mates) and seeing the next generation going off singing them must make Steve and Kim fell very proud. Until the next gig, Barflies, I’ll sign-off from The Farmhouse. Take care.