Show Review: 57

I wrote this for & had it posted just days after the show. The site has since been reformatted & old reviews haven’t been reloaded, but all of the greatest pictures are there. ~Sarah~ Aug 7, 2009 I love Social Distortion. That my friends, is a fact. My fiancé introduced me to them just over a year ago. I know, to the “old school,” I’m a newbie. Don’t care. It doesn’t make me love them any less. I have seen them 6 times (compared to my fiancé’s 30 plus times). Last spring, we mini-toured with them: 2 shows at The Moore in Seattle and 2 shows at The Crystal Ballroom in Portland. This year, no luck at a show being that close, so we did what any die hard fan does: we drove. We did it like any hard core punker does: we went without plans. With tickets in hand, we drove. First stop: Medford, OR. Wow. What a booming town. (Psych) We rolled to the Medford Armory and found a hotel that shared the same parking lot, with 2 rooms left. Hells yeah, we’ll take one. As we are unpacking, the line starts forming, waiting for the doors to open. Who goes strolling by? Brent Harding, bass player, along with one of the road crew. So I run over and B.S. with him for a minute. All the clueless “fans” standing in line are looking right at him. Now, this is the second time that I’ve met Harding in a public place surrounded by “adoring” fans with nary a clue. He asks me what there is to do in town in order to waste three hours before show time, and I cheekily offer up that our plan was to drink beer in our room. If you know anything at all about Mike Ness, you know that beer before a show is a big time no-no. He laughs it off and we proceed to discuss the venue. He mentions that it’s like a big high school gym except that you are surrounded by all this military propaganda. Oh great. This should go over well. I tell him that I’ll see him inside and we part ways. The show is much like any S.D. show: Ness arrives on stage in costume that goes along with the latest album (bandana over the face this time), , throws out roses to a pit full of sweaty boys and the girls that think they can hang with them, jumping, screaming, spitting, singing, moshing, and general excitement. The set list includes the new Far Behind, as well as other hits off the Greatest Hits Album: Ball and Chain, Bad Luck, and I Was Wrong. Much to the crowd’s dismay, no Sick Boy. The sound is amazingly good for the venue’s appearance, and no one leaves disappointed. I got the feeling that many of these fans had never been to such a show, as they never had an opportunity to leave this small town. We meet Ness after the show, get some photos and an autograph, decide we are starving and go to some late night Chinese karaoke bar where the food is great, the bartender rocks and the singers whine crappy Emo into a mic. Stop two: Eugene, OR. Being as we were driving from Medford, it didn’t take us long to reach destination number two, The Secret House Vineyard in Veneta. We pull up several hours early, only to find the typical fan base tail-gating in a field. Several car doors are open blaring various S.D. albums. Everyone makes friends, and everyone drove hours to get there. Our 5 hour trip is easily outdone by people from Idaho, Coos Bay and Spokane. As beers are cracked and smokes are smoked, we are treated to a sound check by Ness and the boys of Prison Bound, only this is a rare, random, slow tempo, almost acoustic version. Awesome. If only someone had recorded it. This show has a very different vibe than the previous night. Set in a big open field, with little to no security, the crowd seems more calm and appreciative of the meaning behind the music, as opposed to looking for an excuse to shove other people around to a good beat. The set list is basically the same and we sing along this time where we are supposed to on Six More Miles and Story of My Life. Afterwards, we hit the fence line to get some more autographs and run into Harding again. Some guy comes up next to us and asks Harding who he is (insert chuckle here, this is now the third time). Brent discusses a little of how he started with Ness’s solo band, and how they spent the day (Ness went antique shopping and bought a new gas sign for his stage props). We get a concert poster, a numbered print, a couple of signatures, and a pick, then off we head. Oops, this time we didn’t get a room first. Hmm…Chinook Winds, here we come.