Social Distortion

Social Distortion: live in Los Angeleslive in Los Angeles (2005)
Social Distortion

Reviewer Rating: 5

Contributed by: joegjoeg
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I can't think of a better way to end the year than seeing one of your all-time favorite bands, Social Distortion, in their own backyard, at a sold out for months House of Blues show, ready and rested for the holidays after 14 months on the road. And sharing it with fans as rabid as yourself, no less.

I can't think of a better way to end the year than seeing one of your all-time favorite bands, Social Distortion, in their own backyard, at a sold out for months House of Blues show, ready and rested for the holidays after 14 months on the road. And sharing it with fans as rabid as yourself, no less. No doubt I was expecting a great show tonight. But simply put, Mike Ness and the boys blew those expectations out the roof, giving us a gift nobody there that night will soon forget. If you're planning on seeing them for their upcoming dates and don't want to know the surprise, you should probably stop reading now.

I got there just as the Hangmen were finishing. My apologies to the band as I obviously didn't see enough to form an opinion of them, but they did receive a nice applause from the crowd. But tonight was about one band. With the curtains closing and the Ramones starting to blare from the speakers, the crowd started to shift around to get a good spot. And it looked like a pretty diverse crowd. Old (some really old), young (some extremely young), greasers, punks, and just your average looking people.

9:45 finally hit. The lights went out, the curtain drew open and out filed the band. Charlie first with a fist pump, then Brent, Johnny and finally Mike sauntered out. He had this road-weary look about him, but then the grin on his face let us know he was in a good mood tonight. The crowd was at a boiling point now. People were jostling for position; shit was about to go off. And with Mike yelling "Are you guys ready to do this motherfucker?," the opening chords to "The Creeps" ignited the crowd. Simultaneously, a steady stream of balloons dropped from the ceiling, making for one of the more interesting circle pits I'd ever seen. The song was tight, aggressive as fuck, and a sign of things to come.

Next up was "Another State of Mind," played as furiously as I'd ever seen them play it. Then out of nowhere came "It Wasn't a Pretty Picture." Absolutely incredible, as it looked like they were going through their old songs first. And you could also tell at that point they'd already lost a lot of the younger and newer fans in the crowd. Upon recognizing the opening chords to my all-time favorite Social Distortion song "Telling Them," chills went down my spine. I realized they were going song by song through the classic Mommy's Little Monster album. I pretty much lost it at this point. "Hour of Darkness" was next and flawless. "Mommy's Little Monster" was of course huge, followed by "Anti-Fashion," "All the Answers," and a ripping version of "Moral Threat" to which storyteller Mike confessed he "wrote at 3AM probably after getting my ass kicked by a bunch of rednecks...the same ones who are in some circle jerk now waiting for Led Zeppelin to come back."

And thus concluded one of the most impressive 9-song runs I'd ever seen. I'm a fan of all their records, but the raw punk rock energy of the first one always had me spinning it the most. It looked like Mike enjoyed playing the songs as much as we were enjoying listening to them. Whether he was jumping around or laughing it up with the band or just straight up attacking each song with sheer abandon, he probably took himself and a bunch of the diehard fans back a couple of years. I was very impressed with how well the band pulled off the songs live as it was obvious they put in the time to practice them. And while the guys may be getting up in age, they can still kill it live.

Down came the "Mommy's Little Monster" banner (I missed that little hint) to reveal the "Sex, Love and Rock'n'Roll" banner. The staples "Reach for the Sky" and "Story of My Life" no doubt got the biggest reactions from the crowd. A stirring solo backed only by keyboards of "When the Angels Sing" from the oft-ignored White Light, White Heat, White Trash album had to be one of the highlights of the show. And if the bluesy/country feel of a new song called "Bakersfield" is any indication of what's to come, then we're in for another quality record. The encore included "This Time Darlin'," another gem they pulled out of nowhere which was nice to see. The 90-minute set came to a close with Mike Ness talking about his hero Johnny Cash before jumping into "Ring of Fire," which had the entire place going one more time for the night's final frenzy.

The love for this band is neverending. It's not hard to figure that out when you see that every one of their 30 dates here in Southern California have been sold out for a while. And it wouldn't surprise me if they tacked on another month and sold those out too. They seem to be getting bigger and bigger. And yes, with that comes the morons who pummel each other for every song, regardless of who's on stage or what's being played. And it also comes with the idiots who yell "Play 'Sick Boy!' Play 'Ball and Chain!' Play 'Sick Boy!' Play 'Free Bird!'" all night long and give their buddies the congratulatory high-five. But if that means the band will continue to write new songs and record and tour and pull out sets like tonight, then I'll gladly take that trade-off any day.

Set list:

  • The Creeps
  • Another State of Mind
  • It Wasn't a Pretty Picture
  • Telling Them
  • Hour of Darkness
  • Mommy's Little Monster
  • Anti-Fashion
  • All the Answers
  • Moral Threat
  • Under My Thumb
  • Reach for the Sky
  • Highway 101
  • Bakersfield
  • Story of My Life
  • When the Angels Sing
  • Send Her Back
  • This Time Darlin'
  • Bye Bye Baby
  • Ring of Fire


People who liked this also liked:
Dead to Me - Little BrotherAgent Orange - Living In DarknessThe Cramps - Songs the Lord Taught UsDevo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!86 Mentality - Goin' Nowhere FastSuicidal Tendencies - Suicidal TendenciesX-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents [expanded]Sonic Youth - Rather RippedThe Weirdos - Weird World, Vol. 1The Germs - M.I.A.: The Complete Anthology

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (April 5, 2006)

I saw The Magnificent SOCIAL DISTORTION 5 times in 2006 & 11 times in 2005. No words, Mr Ness & boys I LOVE YOU....

Anonymous (March 9, 2006)

Social Distortion is a band that's songs can pull me out of the depths of despair...when I feel like I've fucked up my life again- listeneming to Mike Ness always makes me feel like i can keep fighting and come back one more time. "Angel's Wings" is amazing, so is "Prison Bound" The range is all inspiring

Anonymous (February 3, 2006)

I have seen them 3 times this year and i never get tired of them. To anyone who says they are has beens, you just dont know goodmusic when you hear it they are a awesome live band.

Anonymous (February 3, 2006)

I saw them play angel wings live at hob anaheim. It was fucking great. Mike ness sang acustic. It was the best song that night. They truly are the best band.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

Nahhhh nah nahhhh nah nah nah nahhhhhhhh.....

Anonymous (January 15, 2006)

Thanks for the review.

I saw them 4 times this tour. Every time they were pretty much amazing. Mike Ness looked wicked excited to be there and had a whole lot of fire. (perhaps he doesn't like your town?) He killed it. and I really thought that the band's lineup as it is now was really tight. Tighter then I ever saw them. Like or not Mike Ness is a great musician and Charlie Quintana KILLS on the drums.

MrStabone (January 15, 2006)

i dont understand how anyone can hate sociail d. i just don't get it. they fucking rule. each album is good and they are one of the few legendary punk bands that remain consistent

did the new one sound like the old ones? sure, but it it ain't broke, don't fix it.

they played a few nights in a row at Canes and I missed em cause I didn't get tickets in time. but i have seen them a bunch when they did warped back in 97 or 98. they rule.

if you like the new blues/country stuff they are doing, you really should check out Eddie Spaghetti's new solo record. old no. 2. it's great. i think i may write a review of it and submit it to this site.

BrandonSideleau (January 14, 2006)

I don't like Social D.....never have......just something about them I can't put my finger on....possibly the overall lack of intensity....especially for such an old school band.

Anonymous (January 14, 2006)

i want to fuck my Girlfriend!!!

Anonymous (January 14, 2006)

i want to fuck my Girlfriend!!!

Anonymous (January 14, 2006)

only if these guys are gays...........

Anonymous (January 14, 2006)

mike ness is a has-been.

i'm sick of his "i'm so fucking punk" attitude. social distortion isn't half as good as they used to be and now they charge over $30 to see them live.

long live the mike ness form of punk. $30 tickets and i'm guessing $20 shirts.

notfeelingcreative (January 14, 2006)

"has anyone seen them play angels wings since the last record came out? it seems like it would be a great song live but they never play it."

No, I've never heard them play it live, nor have I heard of them playing it, it's my favorite track off "Sex, Love & Rock N' Roll".

Anonymous (January 14, 2006)

that's a pretty kickass setlist, it's always fun hearing the old stuff. much better than the one they played in boston last year...has anyone seen them play angels wings since the last record came out? it seems like it would be a great song live but they never play it.

notfeelingcreative (January 13, 2006)

"I have seen them at least 7 times and I have never heard them play Ball and Chain."

Wow, that sucks. Unless you don't like that song, then I guess it's good. It's one of my favorites, though.

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

I have seen them at least 7 times and I have never heard them play Ball and Chain.

skolarx (January 13, 2006)

i caught them in detroit last fall. i have to say, it might have been the build up as it was the first time i've ever managed to see them for various reasons, but i thought they were horrible. i've loved them for a long time but live it just seemed like canned stage banter, like half of what mike said on stage could be found on the live album. just seemed tired and like he didn't give a shit about being there playing for 1300 people who love them. also i noticed from talking to some friends who were there, the ladies loved it, bros not so much. i think girls thinking the old man is pretty has something to do with that though.

JTravolta (January 13, 2006)

Oh man, when I saw them at the HOB there was this dude in front of me yelling "PLAY SICK BOYYYY!" all night. Jee-sus.

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

honestly, i hate social d. i know mike ness is amazing blah, blah, blah... but their songs are 3 chord riffs that drag on for 5 minutes. sooooooo boring.

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

Oh, and does anybody know around when the new album is supposed to be released?

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

I actually thought most of Social Distortion's later stuff was better than "Mommy's Little Monster". Still a good album, though. And Mike Ness's solo stuff is really good, too. It's cool they played one of those songs.

notfeelingcreative (January 13, 2006)

This setlist would disappoint me, no "ball and chain", no "prison bound", no "when she begins", no "making believe", no "sick boys'!

notfeelingcreative (January 13, 2006)

"Wow, they actually didn't play "Ball and Chain"?


I've seen them three times in the last two years, they've played it only once!

gladimnotemo (January 13, 2006)

I'm uneasy about seeing the new Social Distortion..."Mommy's Little Monster" is a perfect album, and their early stuff is just great OC punk, but the new stuff seems to just tread the same water over and over.

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

overrated bullshit. fuck "punk".

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

saw them at warped once. they play all their songs slower live than on the album. why is that? makes for a shitty show.

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

saw them twice in the last 2 years. absolutley rad. white heat was a killer album too.

sickboi (January 13, 2006)

Wow, they actually didn't play "Ball and Chain"?


TheOneTrueBill (January 13, 2006)

I think you have to be a big fan to fully appreciate them. I went with three of my friends who were either non-fans (don't know why they went) or semi-fans and they didn't get nearly as much out of it as I did.

SalsaShark (January 13, 2006)

I like Social D, but I'm not a die-hard fan. I've missed their shows a couple of times, but are they worth going to if you only know a few songs? Is there enough energy?

TheOneTrueBill (January 13, 2006)

Oh my god, seeing Mommy's Little Monster would've been absolutly crazy. When I first saw them in 2002 they started off with about six old songs, including "Lude Boy" and it was amazing.

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

Haha. There should be more people like that in the world.

the_other_scott (January 13, 2006)

i remember seeing them at h.o.b. sunset a few years back and being scared to death of their fans. everyone was either a 6'4 Meixcan with full sleeves, a raiders hat, and a wife beater, or some crazy white dude with tear drop tattoos and scars and shit.

it was to this day amongst the top 3 shows i've ever been to

sentrosi (January 13, 2006)

hmmm... are they still charging $20 for shows?

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

That comment below mine is hilarious.

Anyway, these guys are one of my top 5 favorite bands of all time. I'm kind of mad that I missed them when they swung past NYC, but I'll definitely be there when they come back...and I can't wait for the new record.

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

"Simultaneously, a steady stream of balloons dropped from the ceiling"

Balloons aren't punk rock, SELLOUTS!!11!!

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

if only these guys would come to edmonton...

Anonymous (January 13, 2006)

"And if the bluesy/country feel of a new song called 'Bakersfield' is any indication of what‚??s to come, then we‚??re in for another quality record."

When I saw them in Dallas on Halloween, they played another new song called "Diamonds in the Rough" that had the same sort of upbeat, positive vibe as a lot of the stuff from Sex, Love, and Rock 'n' Roll. I can't wait to hear the new album.

swingline (January 13, 2006)

goddamn i want to see social d with the briefs!!!

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