Written by Waqar Jamil
Sep 28, 2004 at 08:00 PM
Mike Ness of Social DOn this night Social Distortion dusted off their tour gear and got ready to hit the road. Out on this road to promote their first studio album in 8 years, Sex, Love and Rock n’ Roll, the buzz through the venue was whether or not Mike Ness and the gang could bring it like they used to.I have a confession to make: I’ve never heard a Social Distortion song before this show. Social Distortion was awesome, and they were a severe contrast from Tiger Army. Mike Ness is their singer, and the main dude. Mike Ness reminded me a lot of Bruce Springsteen in how he was really sincere, passionate, poetic, and still very working class.

He walked on stage with the swagger only someone who is very comfortable with themselves can pull off, and right off the bat he commanded the respect of the entire venue. It was very powerful and his singing was really soulful. I checked out a website dedicated to them, and I noticed that he was the only original member that was at the show last night.

It has been a while since Social Distortion headed out on tour. Their bassist John Maurer quit recently and Matt Freeman, of Rancid and Op Ivy, joined the band as their new bassist for the tour. Freeman kept the songs solid showing a variation from his normal rolling bass style. The other players were definitely having the time of their lives being back on the road.

There were many good songs to recall considering that Social Distortion played for a couple of hours. A lot of the Social Distortion songs had a very positive message, and you could tell were written from the heart with deep reflection and passion.

The set started off with “Ring of Fire,” a Johnny Cash cover, which was interesting. The three songs that were really memorable were, “Story of My Life,” “Don’t Drag Me Down,” and “Don’t Take Me for Granted.”

I liked the fact that Mike Ness was very genuine and enjoyed talking with the crowd, and at one point he even invited a 5 year boy on stage. Ness introduced the youngster to himself and the audience, and took a minute to muse about the future. This is when he took some well deserved stabs at the media.

Mike Ness pointed out that we shouldn’t watch CNN, and all the other bullshit evening news, that’s out there, but should rather hit the books and alternative forms of media, and try to learn what’s going on for ourselves. He emphasized that we need to think for ourselves rather than let other people do the thinking for us. It was at that point that the band went into a song called “Don’t Drag Me Down.” The New Social Distortion Album was also released on this night. It’s called Sex, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, every song off of it was incredible, so definitely check it out.

There were a couple of lame moments though. First of all Social Distortion, decided to cover a Rolling Stones’ song called “Under My Thumb,” which has really crappy misogynistic lyrics. They definitely had the Guns N’ Roses cock rockery going on.

Nevertheless, minor blemishes on an over all really good show. I definitely recommend catching this one, because even if you’ve never heard them before you’ll definitely get into it.

Tiger Army!Arriving late we realized that The Explosion had already gone on, and nothing could be more disappointing than to realize that we missed a potentially cool punk rock band, only to walk into the super corny “attack” of Tiger Army.

When they went on, the dude chanted “Tiger,” long pause, “Army” long pause “Never” long pause “Die.” Notice I didn’t have to use exclamation points. Then when I looked at the crowd and I saw how many kids were buying into their weak little chant, and I remembered ‘Oh yeah, these are the kids who were also into the Power Rangers,’ and that’s who Tiger Army targets: the Power Ranger generation, a generation brainwashed for lower expectations.

Fortunately their set wasn’t too long. I noticed that they really weren’t into the really bad songs, and the songs that were kind of catchy they tried to get into but they didn’t seem to sincere. Maybe it’s because when you have really bad lyrics, its hard to feel passionate about them, which could possibly make you look really stupid on stage. Tiger Army was definitely a liberal dose of cheese.