Way over 100 shows in 2012- a personal record!
I’m not exactly sure how I originally heard of Phil X (not to be confused with Skrillex), but he has had a great reputation for quite a while as being a phenomenal musician and has had quite a few high profile gigs as a replacement guitarist for some pretty major bands (he covered for Richie Sambora in Bon Jovi for a while and has been in other really good rock bands) and does a lot of high-profile session work as well. I checked out his playing a while back (and own some of the recordings he’s played on) and he’s been one of the top people on my list to see for a few years. I was really bummed to hear he opened for Steel Panther not too long ago and I somehow managed to miss it.
I remember reading somewhere that he was playing a show with his band, the Drills, sometime in July. Today, I happened to read about a Canada Day at The Whisky and they were on the bill, so that must have been the show I had read about. I’ll write this stuff down next time.
So I’m at a television taping in Hollywood for an upcoming episode airing on a major network watching one of my favorite bands play (I signed some release, so, out of the fear of getting in any sort of trouble, I’m not describing it in any more detail than that). The band took what seemed was going to be a pretty lengthy break, and I saw it was about 11:00PM. Should I stay or should I go?
In a move I had been pondering all afternoon, I ended up walking out on the rest of the filming (so I really don’t know what happened anyway that I’m supposed to be sworn to secrecy about, nor have I ever even watched that show) and drove over to the Sunset Strip and paid $10 to park. I then got to the Whisky and paid a pretty hefty entrance fee to see this one band- specifically, one performer. I went in and another band was playing. I didn’t catch their name, but they seemed pretty good. After a short break, Phil and band started setting up for their performance.
He started in with his ferocious guitar playing and the band ripped through a few songs. His command of the instrument, combined with his ability to quote and seemingly intersperse other guitar parts and riffs into his own songs was quite amusing. He did one song with the help of an iPhone app by placing the phone near his guitar pickups- it was quite brilliant.
He also threw down with the best Led Zeppelin medley I’ve ever heard and did a masterful rendition of the solo of Hotel California smack dab in the middle of another song. In another tune, he threw down a super-charged version of the Flintstones theme song. That rocked. In fact, he’ did several things on the guitar that I’ve never seen before. He displayed some completely imaginative, highly technical guitar playing that I am very thankful to have witnessed. The other guys in the band (The Drills) were also great, but I was pretty fixated on Phil’s playing for the duration of the show.
In addition to being one of the most impressive guitarists I’ve ever seen, he also sings pretty well (better than most anyway) and is just funny as can be. His sense of humor and comments between songs were hilarious. He was a total showman.
I thought they’d play a set that went until closing time at the venue. I was wrong. It turns out there was another band playing after them, so they probably played for a total of 45 minutes. He seemed like a really friendly and personable guy after the show to anyone that went up and talked to him. I personally chickened out and didn’t tell him how much I thought he rocked.
For what I paid for my ticket and parking, it cost me almost a buck a minute to see them play. And it was totally worth it.
Phil on Wikipedia.