Show Review: 554

SOCIAL DISTORTION @ THE FILLMORE Just two days after announcing the January release of their upcoming "Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes" disc, Mike Ness and Social Distortion turned Detroit’s Fillmore theatre into a (pardon the Nuge reference) Motor City madhouse. The band opened show with their streetwalking punk anthem "The Creeps," showing that Ness and his mates can still instigate a good ol’ mosh. The evening was something of a punk gospel, a couple thousand or so followers filing into the theatre like Christians at a mass. A "mass hysteria" so to speak. That early hardcore classic did not make it into the setlist, but other cult favorites like "Another State Of Mind" and "Mommy’s Little Monster" were def crowd pleasers. Mike was also decked out in his holiest attire with suspenders, dress pants and white shirt to match. Definitely no slouch behind the kit, this was a first time for many fans to see and hear the powerhouse presence of new drummer Dave Hidalgo. Crushing skulls with his barbaric nature of playing, "Don’t Drag Me Down" was one of his and the band’s highlights of the evening, a traditional anti-social punk rocker lashing out at the ignorance of discrimination. Another first time for many fans was hearing some selections from the upcoming album. A song about survival as Ness stated, "Still Alive" might be one that sticks in the repretoire for years to come. "Bakersfield" showcases their more southern stonesy side, a number about Mike’s disdain towards the California town. He hilariously name bashes Creed prior to the tune by asking the crowd if they’d ever been "stuck somewhere they didn’t wanna be, like maybe at a Creed show". Or something to that effect. The set also included such radio staples as "Ball And Chain" and the country-punk, Cash covered "Ring Of Fire", the latter ending the night in complete barn-burning fashion. One surprise was the omission of the drinkalong, singalong "Story Of My Life" which usually ends their show or is at least fit somewhere in there. It is definitely in their top five biggest hits, but nowhere to be heard on this night. But one would have to figure it’s no easy task to arrange a set-list when your catalogue has next to nil weak links. They may have been gambling with souls since 1979, but it’s never a gamble for one to lay some nickels and dimes down for a Social Distortion show.