Written by Todd Spoth
Oct 30, 2005 at 08:00 PM
ImageIf you had asked local Houstonians a week ago what their plans are for the night of October 30th, 99% of them would have said, “Celebrating the Astros World Series Victory!” The lost percentage of them would have said watching Orange County natives Social Distortion.

Fast forward a week later. The Meridian, a fairly new establishment tucked snug into a warehouse just an earshot away from Minute Maid Park where days before the hometown Houston Astros finished their 2005 season with a loss in the World Series.

Ok, so the streets were quiet for the most part, no drunken screams in the wake of victory nor mounted police controlling the horde of baseball fans, however outside the eerie warehouse on Chartres St. there was a different kind of anticipation lingering. Social Distortion was set to take the stage and their loyal legions of fans were lining up early to be the first into the club.

The show opened up with California’s Bullets and Octane, whom were very nice guys with an energy and sound that was reminiscent of late nineties punk. With the speed and vocals akin to early AFI and The Nerve Agents and the rock star stage presence of Axel Rose, Bullets and Octane definitely was a nice surprise opener.

Before the headlining act, The Dead 60’s, took the stage. Their twangy pop sound was very typical of a lot of the mainstream groups being imported from the British Isles of late (ala Franz Ferdinand)

After two opening acts, the audience, with characters ranging from old-school punkers in their 30’s to middle-class parents chaperoning their children to their first live concert, packed into the hall to wait for what they really came to see…some good old, classic rock and roll from scene mainstays’, Social Distortion.

With a history spanning nearly three decades and with stories of tours and shows past going further back than most of their fans have been alive, Punk Rock veterans Social Distortion, led by their fearless (and somewhat famous) front man Mike Ness, were sure to please. And please they did. After the house music ceased and among the chanting of the anxious crowd, the band calmly took the stage. In the absence of the ever popular cheesy intros featuring cliché sound clips and smoke, Social Distortion tore into an initial five song blitz before ever stopping for narration. They opened with the classic “Reach for the Sky” and played others such as, “Bad Luck” and “Sick Boy”.

Having seen Social Distortion several times in the past, I have never considered them to be a favorite of mine. However, after being a part of the local music scene, whether playing in bands or simply attending shows for years, I respect and enjoy this band more than ever. Staying true to their roots and beliefs for more than 25 years and seeing bands come and go is a feat that no one can deny and hopefully their performances of no-frills, balls to the wall rock and rock will continue for years to come.