Show Review: 791

One of my favorite rock and roll memories is Social Distortion with The Ramones on Halloween night 1992, at the Aragon. Twenty years later – almost to the day – I was back, and Mike did not disappoint. The show was what I had hoped: a tribute to the past with songs like Cold Feelings and Sick Boy, the best of the new, and the obligatory homage to Johnny Cash. One reason I have been a fan for over two decades is because Mike stays true to his timeless style. Sweet and Lowdown sounds like it could have come off Heaven & Hell. In true punk rock style, the stage set was minimal – a few quirky props and a cool, retro venue let the focus be the music. It’s obvious Mike really cares to put on a good show; he engaged with the audience, joked about Chicago politics, brought us two great opening acts, and chose a fan-favorite set list with a few surprises. The current lineup is a quality group of musicians. Maybe the best the band has ever had, with all due respect to Dennis. Mike’s cool charisma and swagger make him one of my all-time favorite front men. Thank God for late night public television which introduced this sheltered Midwest girl to Another State of Mind in the mid 80’s and opened my mind to punk rock. It’s been 20 years since that first SD show – and a husband, a kid, a house, and a six-figure corporate job later I miss my rock and roll weekends. But this was one I’m glad I made.