“Sold out” was posted outside of the historic First Avenue in Minneapolis. Some fans were still looking to buy tickets to the sold out show, with hopes of hearing the classic punk band “Social Distortion” take the stage. Mike Ness, Casey Royer and brothers, Frank and Rikk Agnew started Social Distortion In 1978 when distorted guitars with influences from country, blues, and rockabilly gave the band their sound. On this night current band members Jonny Wickersham, Brent Harding, David Hidalgo Jr. and front man, Mike Ness where there to entertain the crowd. This was the third city the band had been to on their fall tour and an eclectic crowd packed the venue as fans representing several generations filled the venue to capacity.
The show was opened by songwriter Frank Turner and his band from the United Kingdom, followed by Lucero from Memphis Tennessee. Then the moment had arrived, as Ness walked on to the stage and the crowd roared with excitement. The group worked well together creating a memorable performance as they sounded true to their studio albums and by the crowd’s reaction, it was all good. Some bands tend to change their sound from their studio recordings to their live performances, but Social D’s older hits sounded relevant as ever.
Within the first few songs, Ness jumped high in the air from the stage floor, an impressive move from an artist who is almost fifty. Ness appeared very comfortable in front of the crowd, like he was performing for old friends. In fact, he announced that his sister was in the audience. Mike Ness is the only original member left in the band and even with member changes over the years, Social D has continued to maintain their sound. Within an hour and a half, they played through most of their singles and fan favorites. Songs such as “Ball and Chain,” “Mommy’s Little Monster,” and “Bad Luck,” were played to the pleasure of the crowd. But they also introduced some songs off their new album coming out in January of next year called Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes.
Two songs from that album introduced last night were” Bakersfield” and “Machine Gun Blues” and the crowd seemed to enjoy these new ones. Following their set, the band returned to the stage for an encore performance following the cheering and crowd chant of “Social D” over and over. The encore set of “Far Away,” “ Prison Bound,” “Down Here with the Rest of Us,” and “Ring of Fire” ended the evening.
Photo by Jeff Mozey