Social Distortion Celebrates 40 Years of Punk Rock

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Well it was quite the hootenanny Wednesday night (9/11) at Stir Cove. With a mixture of Spanish synth-rock, rockabilly, and punk rock there was a little something for everyone.

On the bill was Le Butcherettes, The Devil Makes Three, Social Distortion, and Flogging Molly. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I wasn’t able to catch Flogging Molly, but up until that point it was a pretty awesome show.

I arrived just as Le Butcherettes we’re taking the stage and I could hear them rocking from the parking garage. After getting checked in I was able to catch one song from the photo pit before moving to the back for the rest of the set.

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These guys were definitely out there in a good way. Not really punk rock, but not really synth pop, they were somewhere in between. The vocals were a mix of mostly Spanish and some English and the song structures were all over the place. Somewhat akin to At the Drive In or Mars Volta (I know they’re practically the same band) Le Butcherettes started the night off with some Spanish fire! Doing some research it turns out that Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta produced and played bass on Le Butcherettes’ 2011 LP Sin Sin Sin. I knew there was a connection there!

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After Le Butcherettes was the rockabilly four piece The Devil Makes Three from Santa Cruz. Man, this band was brought the heat. With ragtime drums and super fast banjo picking the crowd was clapping along and stomping their feet like a good ole fashion hoedown.

It’s amazing how a well crafted song can transport you to another time and place. The Devil Makes Three weaves tales of whiskey and outlaws, train robberies and old fashion gun fights, all over an old-time sound straight out of the 30s or 40s. By the end of the set I was ready to strap on some boots and ride off into the sunset. The Devil Makes Three is officially on my radar. I can’t wait until they come back this way again.

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Next up and unfortunately the last band I was able to catch was Social Distortion. With over 40 years of rocking out under their belts, Social D knows how to put on a show! Sporting rolled up jeans and slicked back hair the whole set had me dreaming of old gangster cars and diners with milkshakes.

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As soon as the set started the crowd was going crazy and multiple mosh pits opened up. Even though the majority of Social D fans are now in their 40s that didn’t stop them from causing a ruckus. Mike Ness pointed into the audience “I see some old timers out there, some of you might remember this one.” The band kicked into 1945 and the place erupted.

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Even though Social D has been playing for over 40 years they still sound amazing. Mike’s gravelly voice still carries those classic tunes beautifully and his guitar playing was also top notch. As great as Mike’s performance was, the rest of the band sounded really tight as well. You could tell everyone involved had a passion for playing and keeping the memories of those songs alive. During their hour long set, Mike Ness and the boys managed to pack in so many hits including “So Far Away,” “Drag Me Down,” “Ring of Fire,” and of course “Bad Luck.”

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Mike mentioned that Social D has new music in the works and the band even played a new track “Over You.” I’m excited to hear what the band comes up with next.

It took me twenty years to finally catch a Social Distortion show. Though I doubt the band will celebrate 60 years of playing, let’s hope it’s not another 20 years before I catch them again!

Big thanks to Stir Cove for setting up photo access!

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