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John Doe Brings His Punk Idealism to Redwood City

In Clubs, Music
John Doe performs at Club Fox in Redwood City on Thursday, Feb. 2.

John Doe performs at Club Fox in Redwood City on Thursday, Feb. 2.

I caught John Doe at his last South Bay show, at Streetlight Records last year. What struck me more than ever before was how much this guy embodies all the DIY, music-of-the-people ideals that punk rock was supposed to stand for.

Before the show, he hung out talking to the crowd, like he was one more fan waiting for the show to start. During his set, he took requests, played some X songs and some of his most popular solo songs, and interacted with the crowd as if, again, he was one of us. After the show, he seemed almost embarrassed that there was a line waiting for him to sign his records—he took time to have an actual conversation with everyone.

His democratic ideals are just as evident in his music, still. His newest album Keeper is a blast of emotional roots-rock chaos; one moment he’s looking at the world with funny but slightly bitter irony on the punky “Never Enough,” and the next he’s delivering the moving tenderness of “Little Tiger.” Even more important than the fact that he’s in fine form as a songwriter and a musician, is that after three decades, John Doe still stands for something.

I hear that Doe now lives in NorCal; it’s good to know we’ll be seeing him more. He plays Club Fox in Redwood City on Thursday at 8pm; tickets are $20 in advance, $22 at the door.

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