Social Distortion 1/27/11

Chuck Ragan


Social Distortion


Concert Review

It was 8:10 at the Hollywood Palladium on Jan 27, when the lights dimmed. Chuck Ragan made his way on stage with Jon Gaunt and Joe Ginsberg. Seeing collection of instruments consisting of an acoustic guitar, harmonica, violin, and a cello, the crowd didn’t know what to expect. As the apprehensive applause begun, so did the set. After two well received folk rock songs, Ragan brought up a guest singer to help out with three songs. Once she exited the stage, Ragan advised the crowd, “There are tons of beautiful people here tonight! There are some on stage that you’ll never see, so give it up for all the workers!”

As the crowd applauded, the band went into the last song of the night. The band members showed the crowd how you make instruments like the cello and violin acceptable at a rock concert by the way they acted.  At the finish of the last song, Ragan ended with, “Take care of yourself, and take care of each other!” The crowd cheered once more for the band, as the lights brighten.

Chuck Ragan and his band, did great as they opened a small but exciting 30 minute set.  By now, the crowd was really pumped and some even realizing they liked Folk Rock.

After five minutes of waiting for an encore by Ragan, the crowd dispersed and one the crew started to set up for The Aggrolites. Many went outside to get air on the balcony, some to get beer, but most stayed put. It was 8:51 when the lights darkened and a stampede of people made their way back to the pit.

Smoke arose as the band members came onto the stage at 8:50pm. They started with a reggae song and blended into the next two songs. “How are you doing LA? How are you doing up there? How are you doing?” Singer, Jesse Wagner shouted to the crowd. They continued into their set, as Wagner and guitarist Brian Dixon dancined on stage. They ended their set at 9:30 and left the stage. Many people once again went outside to quickly get fresh air, but most stayed still.

Sound check for Social Distortion started at 9:45, which triggered the chanting of the crowd, “Social D! Social D! Social D!” The crowd chanted for a good 2 minutes. It was 10:02 when the stage became darkened. As someone peeked through a curtain, which gave off, lighting the crowd chanted again. The lights brightened and Social Distortion took the stage one by one.

Singer, Mike Ness had a contempt countenance as he went to the edge of the stage and looked into the crowd of fans with Social Distortion shirts and fists in the air. He wore a suit and tie with suspenders and a hat.  They opened with “Road Zombie” off their latest album, “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes” and by only the second song, the first crowd surfer was spotted. There would be many more to come throughout the rest of the night.  After their 6th song “Sick Boy” Ness lets the crowd know, “We’re just getting warmed up! Is it Thursday? Is there anyone getting up for work tomorrow?” As the crowd replies with moans, Ness says, “That’s bull shit. I say take a week off!” The crowd cheers in agreement and Ness goes into, “One of My Favorite Songs.”

They played “Machine Gun Blues” off the new album as crowd chanted the chorus. And I’m already gone, I’ve left a pool of blood and sorrow, I’ve got the machine gun blues.”

Mike Ness and his fellow band mates owned the stage by constantly moving around and going on the side to look out into the crowd as they all mosh and sing along.

After “Making Believe,” a Jimmy Work cover, the band left the stage and the lights darken. The Palladium turns quite. There is guitar playing intermittently in the background and soon the band members made their way back on stage. They played three more encore songs and Ness says, “This song is the story……..”

“Story of my life!” The crowd finishes Ness’s sentence.

“This is the story of all our lives” Ness adds.

They went into “Story of my Life” and finish the set thanking the crowd as the crowd relentlessly begged for more.

As the band departed the stage they handed out pictures to fans. Eventually the crowd began making their way to the merchandise table, to buy Social D shirts as well as merchandise from the two opening groups.

With a mix of genres at the show from Folk Rock, to reggae, to punk rock the crowd got what they bargained for and a lot more.  Throughout the songs fans moshed together other and all the performances did more than expected.