Last night the Riviera was the place to be if you wanted to catch the return of Social Distortion. It has been quite a few years since they last came through here and they were long overdue! The club was packed to the rafters with eager fans waiting for them to perform.
Before Social D took the stage, Lucero soiled the Jawbreaker song, “Kiss the Bottle” like it had never been soiled before. They should be ashamed of themselves and they really need to apologize.
Social Distortion came out on stage as a five-piece that consisted of a drummer, keys/organ player, bass, guitar, and Mike Ness singing and playing guitar. They were all dressed up with slick clothes and Mike Ness looked like an old-time gangster from the prohibition days. If you didn’t know better you’d think you were on the set of The Untouchables and he was Al Capone. He walked on stage after the rest of the band took their spots and a drum beat started playing, removed his jacket and suddenly the familiar guitar chords of “The Creeps” started and the band sounded great. Mike’s vocals sounded strong and the band’s playing was very tight and punchy.
They kept up with the old classics for only two more songs: “Another State of Mind” and “Mommy’s Little Monster”. You couldn’t have asked for a stronger start to a Social Distortion show than three songs from one of the best punk rock albums of all time played consecutively. From there it was on to more modern Social Distortion material like “Sick Boy”, “Bad Luck”, “Ball and Chain” and many others.
Mike Ness was surprisingly quieter than normal between songs. Often times they’d just quickly follow up a song with another one with hardly a break in between. Normally he is quite chatty in between all the songs. He did take a moment to pull up a kid from the crowd and say hello and question him, the kid was only 11 years old and that act probably made that kid’s entire year. At other times Mike would make a little bit of small talk and announce the name of the next song.
The band played a couple songs from their forthcoming album too and the new material was very strong and maintained that classic Social Distortion sound that has earned them such a rabid following over the past 30 years. The band finished their set with “Making Believe” and thanked the crowd and took a bow before leaving the stage. A few minutes later they returned for a few more songs including “Prison Bound” and ended the evening with “Story of My Life”. When all was said and done they put on close to a 90 minute clinic of solid rock and roll and proved once again that they are one of the finest rock bands around and hopefully will be around for a lot longer as they are aging quite gracefully.