30 years of altrock radio festivals: XFest turns XXX

XXX-logoxfest-history-logo xfest201391X just announced the lineup for this year’s XFest festival and, much to my grandfather’s dismay, Geezer is not on the bill. This XXX Countdown was done in the hopes of blackmailing, er, enticing the station to let them perform a set that would represent three decades of station history. Instead, they’ve chosen a bunch of young delinquents to represent this grand anniversary.  I was sure they’d at least get one act from the early days of the fest.  Brian Setzer, Bow Wow Wow or the B-52’s all would’ve probably stolen the show and we can’t have that now, can we?  At least the flyer is a nod to that era.  It’s probably the best thing about the show, but that’s not saying much.  It’s a pretty great flyer.

In wondering about what acts from the station’s early concerts might play the festival’s 30th birthday, I went to find a list of past lineups.  Of course, it didn’t exist. So, Yer Doin Great has taken it upon ourselves to get one together.  The 91X.com anniversary pages gave us a lot of clues and backstage passes to borrow (just as they borrowed from our site, neither of us asked for permission) but they snuck in many inaccuracies to see if we were paying attention. I admit to consulting Google on several occasions.   In the cases of 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1987’s Mexfest, the only advertisements to be found were out of my own scrapbook.

Because no one person has been keeping track and the station has flip-flopped over the years between embracing the branding of the XFest name and trying to come up with something new, there’s no telling how many XFests there have been.  The last time they were counting was in 2006 which they titled “XII” but I only count eleven.  Someone didn’t carry the one. Don’t ask about their Christmas shows. I’ve lost count how many times they’ve changed the name. There is plenty of misinformation out there, so if you see anything wrong, leave a comment and I’ll fix it in thirty years.

Enjoy this year’s show. I won’t be going.  These things weren’t meant for old folks like me in a very long time, though strangely, I went to Warped Tour last year (only to see Geezer’s School of Rock “grandkids” play).  You can’t run a modern rock radio station catering to people stuck in the past. A huge chunk of the people that will be attending this year’s show weren’t born when the first Offspring record came out.  Ouch.  Get off of my lawn, indeed.

xfest lineup I April 23, 1983 San Diego Stadium. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Stray Cats, The Ramones, Bow Wow Wow, Modern English, the Flirts.  10 years before KROQ started doing Weenie Roasts and alt-rock radio festivals were commonplace, this was pretty ambitious.  91X ping pong balls dropped from a helicopter missed the crowd and ended up onstage.  Straight outta WKRP in Cincinnati.

xfest2 II June 17,1989 at Aztec Bowl SDSU. New Order, Public Image Limited, Sugarcubes, De La Soul. This was an existing 3 band tour with De La Soul awesomely added). De La was great even with one of their turntables going bad. Maseo threw the show vinyl into the crowd at the end of the set. Huge verbal gasp from everyone around me the first time Bjork threw her hands up to reveal (GASP!) armpit hair. New Order confirmed their status as the most boring live band around, despite a great light show. The one moment I remember was bending down to tie my shoe and it sounding amazing to just hear bass down there through all of those bodies. I told my friend and he tried it and he told someone next to him and soon everyone was crouching down to hear the boomin low tones….
xfest3actualxfest2-aztec III August 18, 1990 Aztec Bowl SDSU. B-52’s, Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, They Might Be Giants, the Cramps. All awesome. You cannot prove that I got down on my knees and kissed John Flansburgh’s feet in the crowd.
1991_poster_lg IV July 20,1991 Lollapalooza Devore Stadium, Southwestern College. Jane’s Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, Ice T/Body Count, Living Colour, Rollins Band, Butthole Surfers
   V August 28, 1993 Aztec Bowl SDSU. UB40, Tears For Fears, Gin Blossoms, Terence Trent D’Arby, Urge Overkill, Catherine Wheel, Lucy’s Fur Coat, Natasha’s Ghost. I only went to see Lucy’s and Catherine Wheel who were both fantastic.  Left right after Tears For Fears’ backing musicians set up and waited for Roland to make an entrance.  Hilarious but not as funny as the Barenaked Ladies show at the Coach House that night.  Coincidentally(?) this was the first year that KROQ did a Weenie Roast and just happened to be the last time 91X used the name XFest for five years.
xfest1998 1998 SDSU OAT, Social Distortion, God Lives Underwater, Everclear, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Marcy Playground, Fastball
xfest1999June 12, 1999 SDSU OAT Blink 182, Ben Folds Five, Buck O Nine
xfest2001logoJuly 13  2001 Coors Ampitheater. Offspring, Lit, Social Distortion, Sprung Monkey, Death on Wednesday
Xfest2002 June 8, 2002 Coors Ampitheater. Cake, Jack Johnson, Unwritten Law, the Doves, Sugarcult, the Vines, Face To Face, Trik Turner, Rochelle Rochelle, Mix Mob, Blizzard, Richard Cheese, Elbow, Lualta
xfest2003 June 15, 2003 Coors Ampitheater. The Transplants, Bluh, Staind, The Used, Finch, Pete Yorn, Cold, Slightly Stoopid, Hot Hot Heat, Rooney, Special Goodness, Trainwreck, Agent 51, The Accident Experiment.  My first XFest in 10 years (and my last) was all about the side stage.  Great stuff.  We watched Bluh as lil’ dots without Graham from the lawn.  Handed Damon and Alex VHS Fookin’ Wankers vids which they got a kick out of.

Xfest2006 XII June 9, 2006 Coors Ampitheater. The Cult, Dashboard Confessional, Franz Ferdinand, Panic! At The Disco, Echo And The Bunnymen, She Wants Revenge, Hard-Fi, The Sounds, Reeve Oliver, The Stranger’s Six, OK GO
xfest2007May 20 2007 Cricket Wireless Ampitheater. Sum 41, Social Distortion, 30 Seconds to Mars, The Bravery, Silversun Pickups, Plain White T’s, Say Anything, the Used
xfest2008May 16, 2008 Concerts on the Green at Qualcomm.  Offspring, Pennywise, Jimmy Eat World, Ludo, My American Heart,  The Material, Weatherbox, The Burning Of Rome, The Sess, Shark Attack
xfest2010 July 25, 2010  Cricket Ampitheater. 311, The Offspring, Cake, Unwritten Law, Pepper, Authority Zero, Circa Survive, Neon Trees, Paper Tongues, Civil Twilight
xfest2011 July 16, 2011 Cricket Wireless Ampitheater. Bush, Incubus, Graffiti6, Little Hurricane, Viva Brother, Middle Class Rut, Iration, Face To Face
XFest2012June 3, 2012 Cricket Wireless Ampitheater. Jane’s Addiction, Garbage, Angels & Airwaves, P.O.D., Rebelution, Neon Trees, Of Monsters and Men, Grouplove, Eve 6, Walk the Moon
xfest2013May 17, 2013 Sleep Train Amphitheatre. The Offspring, 30 Seconds To Mars, Silversun Pickups, Jimmy Eat World, Fitz and The Tantrums, The Dirty Heads, Atlas Genius, Capitial Cities, New Politics, IAmDynamite.

In case you were wondering, this year is the fourth time the Offsrping play the fest.  Social D has played it three times.  Quite a few folks have played it twice.  Geezer never has.  They have weeks to live…..maybe.

A FEW OTHER 91X SHOWS BUT NOT ALL OF THEM BECAUSE I’VE ALREADY SPENT, LIKE, WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON THIS RIDICULOUSNESS

  • The infamous 1987 Mexico version of XFest with the Hoodoo Gurus and more.  Apparently I'm the only one who saved the Reader ad (as seen on 91X.com)June 30, 1987 Mexfest, Caliente Racetrack (Tijuana, Mexico) Oingo Boingo, The Fixx, The Bangles, Squeeze,  Chris Isaak, Hoodoo Gurus. Whoa dude. To be young and a little scared watching locals get a little too into their first slam dance exposure. Saw a rubia get taken down and her top ripped off of her. Ok, maybe a lot scared….Apparently, the band/staff afterparty resembled Caligula.
  • 1994 Sunfest lineup at SDSU OAT with James & more1994 Sunfest, SDSU Open Air Theater,. The Smithereens, Violent Femmes, James, Green Day, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Rollins Band, the Church, frente!, the Rugburns
  • June 1995 Sunfest SDSU Open Air Theater,  Day 1 Duran Duran, Chris Isaak, Mike Watt, Sublime, Belly, Lucy’s Fur Coat, Matthew Sweet (photo mislabeled as 1994). Day 2 General Public, Bush, Elastica, Sponge, Jewel, Catherine Wheel, the Rugburns, and Phunk Junkeez.
  • July 5th, 1995. Freedom Rock. Babes in Toyland, The Rugburns, Uncle Joe’s Big Ol’ Driver, No Knife, Morning Glories.
  • June 16, 1996 Sunfest at Hospitality Point with Lush
  • 1998 Spring Thing at Cox Arena. Flourscein, Assorted Jellybeans, Two, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Sprung Monkey, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Kottonmouth Kings, Unwritten Law, Buck-O-Nine, Blink 182, Offspring, and Crystal Method.
  • 2004 Hometown Throwdown shows: Donavon Frankenreiter, Pete Thurston (Lord Hornblower Yacht), Swtichfoot, Reeve Oliver, This Holiday Life (Soma), Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Stellastarr, the Killers (Soma)*, Go Go Go Airheart, Scarlet Symphony (Soma), Cypress Hill, Everlast (4th & B),  Fire Theft, Album Leaf, Pete Thurston (Belly Up), Hoobastank, Lit, Buckfast Superbee, Kill Radio (Soma),  Von Bondies, Louis XIV, Dragons, Dirty Sweet  (Belly Up)

*91X.com referrred to this show on their Flickr page as XFest but can you trust a station that puts a 2011 video of Bush playing on a webpage all about 2001?  Me neither.

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3 thoughts on “30 years of altrock radio festivals: XFest turns XXX

  1. Asked Flansburgh in an attempt to find proof. He responded by posting my question on the bands tumblr page, but he gave no answer. I guess you were right.

  2. Hey my wife and I were reminiscing about the late 80s when we were in California we went to the 1987 show at Caliente racetrack.when we were in our young 20s .it was great anything we can contribute to help enhance that ,give us a shout out it was wild my friend,the very first show of all of them . We live in Minnesota now so obviously we made it eventually across the border LOL

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