Show Review: 485

FOUND ON WWW.OFFTHEDIAL.CA! Whether you’re a hardcore fan, or a casual listener who knows just a handful of classics, witnessing a Social Distortion show is always an enjoyable event and their stop in Calgary this past weekend was no different. Founder Mike Ness and company (guitarist Jonny “2 Bags” Wickersham, bassist Brent Harding and drummer Adam “Atom” Willard) are currently on tour “celebrating 30 years of underground rock n’ roll” which in itself is an impressive fact. Yet they perform with the same intensity and dedication they always have all while playing nearly perfect renditions of the Social D catalogue. Ness, who’s now 47 years old, didn’t waste too much time talking but when he spoke, he always had something important to say. Whether it was setting up a song or explaining how his native country was like a spoiled adolescent, the few times Ness spoke added value to the show rather than mindless rock banter. Meanwhile, 2 Bags and Harding looked positively delighted to be on stage with the legendary act. Although they joined the Social D family in 2004, they played as if they’ve been there the whole 30 years. As for Atom, well the man is a machine behind the drum-kit providing the driving force behind much of the music. Much of the big tracks made their appearance, including “Mommy’s Little Monster”, “Sick Boy”, “Don’t Drag Me Down”, “Bad Luck”, “Ball and Chain” and of course, their famous cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. There were plenty of fans young and old in attendance (with Ness calling the aging rock fans “survivors”) making for an on-again-off-again mosh pit that somehow supported almost non-stop crowd surfing. Most notably, one wheelchair-bound fan rolled his way to the front and managed to get security to hoist him up on stage so he could watch the remainder of the show. They ended their one-hour set with “Sometimes I Do” and before starting their encore, Ness spoke about their influences; the Rolling Stones, the Ramones, Johnny Thunders and the aforementioned Cash before paying the ultimate tribute to another influence, Hank Williams with a cover of his song “Alone and Forsaken”. They followed by covering Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” after revealing that it was the first song Ness ever learnt on guitar. Wrapping up the relatively long encore with “Prison Bound”, “Still Alive” and naturally, “Story of My Life”, Social D left fans satisfied with an impressive night of “underground rock”. After 30 years, what more could we ask for (except maybe another 30)?