Social Distortion - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)

Social Distortion

live in Chicago (2002)

live show

Social D is touring and coming to the Midwest, more importantly they are going to be at the House of Blues for three nights straight, Holy Shit, there is a God of Punk, and right now he/she is being truly benevolent. To start this off, if you haven't guessed, Social Distortion is one of my all time favorite bands, and having only experienced the live cd, and part of a friend's crappy video, I was so excited when I saw that they would be playing Chicago, and at HOB no less, which is a really cool venue. I guess the proof to how much I love them was I had to lie at two of my jobs to get the time off to make the trip to Chicago, sometimes having 4 jobs works out, "sorry man I'm already scheduled at such and such, sucks don't it"

Well I got to HOB around 6 and waited for the doors to open at 6:30 (note to other guy who did a review for this show, the ticket says door at 6:30, and venues always start shows about an hour after doors open), while my girlfriend and I waited I was looking around in line and noticed that at 21 I was still one of the younger members of the audience, which has happened before (Bad Religion), but it is always weird to be standing next to a guy who could be my dad while waiting to get into a punk show. House of Blues is a really cool place inside, with designs and paintings everywhere, and for how large the place is, the stage area is really small and compact which gives the feeling of being very intimate with the band. I really enjoyed the vibe of the place, everyone just seemed really relaxed and just came to chill, drink some moderately priced beer, and enjoy some good tunnage. And while the venue was cool, the bouncers were ass holes, well maybe not all of them, but during Social Distortion one came up to me and started hassling me about taking a picture, and threatened to kick me out. I looked at him and said, "Yeah, I took a picture with what, my imaginary camera, I dot have any fucking camera." At which point he started to give me more shit until a couple people next to me came to my defense and yelled at the guy, "he doesn't have a damn camera, get the fuck outta here", at which point he left glaring at me the entire way back to his little perch by the stage. So a big thank you to them and yeah for unity amongst punks, or something like that.

Boston's Lost City Angles opened up and played a rather pop-punkish/garage sounding set, which surprised me, having the name LCA, and being on Nitro I was expecting more of an AFIish sounding band, or at least one with a more gothic feel to them. The demo that they were handing out at the merch table was really polished up, and I personally liked the live sound better than the cd version. I actually enjoyed the set, the band seemed a little stiff with only the lead singer kinda of leaning out over the crowd, while the rest of the band just kinda of stood there. Near the end of their set a small pit opened up and the band acknowledge them and thanked them for having the balls to form a pit, and then launched into their fastest song of the night. Not a bad opening band overall, needed to work on their stage presence, but overall enjoyable to listen to.

After they left, an announcement not to mosh, crowd surf, stage dive, etc.. came on followed by nothing but Clash songs. For the next ½ hour or so, while Social D set up, they played some classic Clash songs, and over by the bar where I headed as soon as LCA left the stage, me and a couple guys waiting in line started a sing a long. Nothing better than a couple of complete strangers belting out "White Riot", "London's Burning" and "Clash City Rockers" among others. Also while waiting in line, a couple of thunderous beats came from behind the curtain, and if as on cue, every head by the bar snapped around to see if Social D was about to start, luckily they weren't and I was able to make it back to my spot in time.

As the curtain parted and the other members walked out on stage, you could feel the excitement in the air. Then Mike Ness came on stage, yelled into the mike, " Lets rock this one Mother Fuckers!" and proceeded to play "Mommy's Little Monster" Following with a set composed of mainly the self titled and "somewhere between heaven and hell", with one or two songs off the other ones. Yet each song that they played was a classic with people singing along at the top of their lungs. The coolest thing about the show was it wasn't the band just playing song after song. Mike would take a break in between each one, and do a Punk Rock "Storytellers", where he talked about why he wrote each song, what the story was behind a couple, what they were about. That was just really cool that while he could have just gone through the motions and played, he took his audience into consideration, and made it a much more personal and intimate performance. He also did pull a 7 year old kid up on stage and talked about the younger generation of punks growing up, and how they are going to be the ones caring on as the older ones die off, which was cool, especially for that kid. They also played three new songs which will be on their new album coming out this Spring "I wasn't born to follow" (about being different and a punk), "Angles Wings" ( about growing up in a rough life and still being able to make it through a decent person, with a decent life), and "Dot take me for granted" (a tribute to the late Dennis Darrell, RIP). All of these songs sounded really good, and I cant wait for the album to come out.

While I thought later that they could have ended with "Story of my life" and everyone would have been happy, Social D, came back and launched into 3 of my favorite songs; "Don't Drag Me Down", "Ball and Chain", "Ring of Fire". Before "Ring of Fire" Mike took the time to give a short talk about unity, acceptance, and tolerance, pointing out in the 50's when things were still fucked up in the south, some people like Johnny Cash didn't care what color you where. He then went on to discuss gay bashing and how he thinks it would be funny to go after the gay bashers with bats and bash their heads in. "Hell you know I would do just to see the looks on their faces" Mike crackled from the stage, not a bad idea I thought. This was such a good show, I really cant describe the feeling I had when I saw Ness take the stage and start playing. After the show I could barely talk from scheming along all night. Talking with a few people after the show, especially a couple older guys who had seen him many times before, they said that he still has it, and I could not agree more.