Concert Review by Andy Upton
Images By Paul Wilkins
House of Blues – Dallas, TX
August 2, 2015
I made a quick trip to Dallas’ House of Blues last Sunday night to catch a few minutes of the Social Distortion show and I was not disappointed. Walking into a PACKED room, the buzz was exhilarating and the “Social D” chants were already being shouted out way prior to show time. I had never seen these rockabilly, punk rock veterans live and always wondered what one of their shows would be like. As the curtain parted and the audience lost their minds – I checked out the eclectic stage filled with, among other things, a policeman statue, a fairly big RCA dog and some sweet old-school looking signs.
They hit the ground running with “So Far Away” off of their eponymously titled third album from 1990, Social Distortion, which they borrowed from heavily all night since it was a celebration of the 25th anniversary of that album. The rabid audience was eating it up and even finished the chorus for front man Mike Ness. Mike’s voice was a little shaky at first but he soon warmed up and thrilled his loyal fans. What followed was a very quick trip down memory lane with Social D picking up steam as each song went by. “Let it Be Me” was quick & tight, “Story of My Life” gave the audience another chance to sing along at the top of their lungs and encouraged a mini-pit to get going near the front of the stage. Taking a quick break, Mike thanked his loyal fans for sticking with him so long and referenced the anniversary of their most famous album.
Starting back up again, “Sick Boys” had a nice funky beat played well by the rhythm section of bassist Brent Harding and drummer David Hildalgo, Jr. A slow, extended version of “Ball and Chain” followed with Ness’ voice and character shining through. A rousing rendition of “It Could Have Been Me” reminded me of an old fashioned beer barn rock show back in the day: fans singing along, impromptu dancing and more beer being spilled than drank. Jonny “2 Bags” Wickersham had a great intro and a few solo shots in the spotlight during “She’s A Knockout” while keyboardist David Kalish plugged away in the background. The last two songs on the album, “A Place in My Heart” and “Drug Train”, were both really well done so much so that the audience gave the band wonderful rounds of applause.
Ending the show with some of their favorite songs from other albums, “Cold Feelings” and “This Time Darlin’” from 1992’s Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell and “Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown” from 2011’s Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (love that title”. Paying homage to their early influences, Social Distortion played awesome cover tunes of “Wild Horses”, “Alone and Forsaken”, and finally “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Ring of Fire” during their encore. This was a smashing show and considering the amount of times they went on hiatus or lost/changed band members, I was glad that I finally was able to see these guys in concert!!!