Social Distortion hit the Fox Theater in Oakland last Friday night for the first of a two night run. Touring in support of their latest studio album, 2011’s Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, it was a sold out crowd waiting for the legendary “punk” band to take the stage.
The band is currently experiencing a career high in terms of commercial success. When Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes was released early last year, it reached number 4 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, marking Social Distortion’s first ever Top 10 album and highest ever peak on that chart in their entire 32 year career.
Why is that happening now? As I have said before, the current state of sub-par musical offerings is forcing true music fans to fall back on bands that they trust to consistently deliver a solid offering. Social Distortion’s track record speaks for itself. Mike Ness and company release records on their terms making the music that they choose to. This is the way the music industry was always supposed to work, but as it crumbles down upon itself, the beneficiaries are artists who have never followed the trends, but instead delivered on what their fans craved (and expected).
Opening the show was British singer/songwriter Frank Turner. He and his band churned out some pretty decent post punk anthem-atic songs that set the stage perfectly for what was to follow.
Social Distortion took the stage and stormed out of the gates. Highlights included classics such as “I Was Wrong,” “Story of My Life,” “Bad Luck,” and new classics from Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes such as Machine Gun Blues, and the bluesy slow rocking “Bakersfield.” The encore of course included “Ring of Fire.”
Bottom line here? Social Distortion were impeccable. A rock n roll show for the ages not too be missed. I have been a huge fan for years and loved every minute of the show. My wife on the other hand, not very familiar with the band, became an instant fan.
One last note, the merch booth was one of the most extensive I have seen and the charges on my credit card clearly show how effective good merch offerings can be for the fans. The two poorly designed, overpriced T-shirts tells your fans that you don’t care, while the cornucopia of Social Distortion items says “we have something for everyone.” Enjoy the photos!
By the way if you don’t yet have Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, it’s available on vinyl and sounds fantastic. I would put it right up there with Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell. You can check out the rest of my photos on Flickr.
Were you at either one of the shows last weekend? I would love to hear your feedback. Please join the conversation in the comments below.