Now in their fourth decade, frontman Mike Ness and his current lineup in Social Distortion have officially done one of the most non-punk things possible: They’ve failed to burn out.
Mixing Springsteen’s factory-overalls ethic with Southern California punk energy and black leather, Social Distortion formed with Ness and high school buddy, the late Dennis Danell, in the late 1970s; the group broke in 1983 with the thrashing plate of punk and displeasure ‘Mommy’s Little Monster.’ Their 1988 follow-up, ‘Prison Bound,’ hinted at a sonic change to come, and by the band’s self-titled 1990 record and 1992’s ‘Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell,’ their sound had solidified into the instantly recognizable brand of rock n’ roll that’s defined them since.
For ‘Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes,‘ the band’s most recent release (back in 2011), Social Distortion consists of Ness and longtime guitarist Jonny Wickersham, along with bassist Brent Harding and drummer David Hidalgo, Jr.
These days the band is rarely off the road for long, and continues to grip fans who have been around since ‘Mommy’s Little Monster’ while drawing new ones who discover the band through hand-shot YouTube clips. “I see people bringing their kids to shows,” Ness says. “And I see kids bringing their parents.”
Social Distortion is a mix of potent power, appeal across all age brackets and a genuine satisfaction at reaching as many people as they have. “I write songs for myself, and I hope that other people will like them too,” Ness says. “I think every record you make is showing people what you’ve learned over the past few years. It’s showing people, ‘This is what I know.’ ”
With no new record to support (although the band is rumored to be releasing new material sooner rather than later), expect Social D to dive deep into their classics fans have come to love over the years!
The social and political awareness that drives Flogging Molly’s music is never more prominent than in their 2017 release, ‘LIFE IS GOOD’ – a strikingly powerful album and it arrives at a strikingly key time. The sixth studio album by the renowned Celtic-punk rockers now in their 20th year is mature, well crafted, equally polished and almost aggressively topical. It is filled with rousing songs that are timeless in their sentiment, but directly related to today’s most pressing concerns: Politics, the economy, unemployment, planned boomtowns gone bust, immigration policies gone awry, and much more.
For singer and lyricist Dave King, it may be the lyrical couplet contained within the surging “Reptiles (We Woke Up”) that points toward the album’s central theme. “We woke up,” sings King, “And we won’t fall back asleep.”
“The thing is, there are things changing,” says King. “That’s why I wrote that line, ‘Like reptiles, we’ll all soon be dust someday.’ It’s quite scary, especially for somebody who has children these days–bringing up family in this environment of who’s welcome and who’s not welcome. I’m talking about the cultures in America and the UK–especially American immigration.
“We’re known for our live shows,” says King. Writing albums has always been a vehicle for us — it’s been a means to get people onto the dance floor. And that’s kind of the way we’ve always approached it, no matter what.”
“The one thing we are is a positive band,” adds Dave King. “When people come and see our shows, it’s a celebration–of life, of the good and of the bad. And we have to take the good and the bad for it to be a life.”
For as much as The Devil Makes Three remain rooted in troubadour traditions of wandering folk, Delta blues, whiskey-soaked ragtime, and reckless rock ‘n’ roll, the band nods to the revolutionary unrest of author James Baldwin, the no-holds barred disillusionment of Ernest Hemingway, and Southern Gothic malaise of Flannery O’Connor. In that respect, the band’s 2018 release, ‘Chains Are Broken’ resembles a dusty leather bound book of short stories from some bygone era. “I always want our songs to unfold like short stories,” affirms frontman Pete Bernhard. “You could think of them as chapters of a book. This was a much more personal album about what it takes to be a writer of any kind – and what you have to do to make your dream possible. It was really the headspace I was in. It might have something to do with getting older. You start reflecting on life and the people around you. I was doing that in these songs. That’s what makes the record more personal. I’m pulling from these things. Some of it is about drug addiction. Some of it is about the things you sacrifice. Some of it is about the detrimental things we do for inspiration. Nevertheless, they all have some sort of narrative.”
All tickets are for general admission and priced at $51 in advance.
Prices subject to additional fees. Tix can be purchased in person at the Jacobs Pavilion box office or online, below: