Three different levels of rock took place last night in Cleveland thanks to Social Distortion and their hand-picked bill. The punk rock icons made a stop at the House Of Blues Sunday night with special guests Frank Turner and Lucero. The venue was packed from end to end with tickets selling out weeks ago leaving the last minute fans standing in the rain looking for extras – literally.
It’s been a little over four years since Social D took the stage in Cleveland, far too long of a hiatus. It was no surprise at the amount of fans who lined up outside of the venue waiting for the doors to open. Everyone in line looked excited and knew exactly what was going to be happening in just a short time except for a Cleveland police officer who pulled his motorcycle up on E. 9th asking if anyone had an iPod with Social Distortion on it so he could see what they sound like.
Opening act Frank Turner took the stage just after 8 p.m. to a very full and energetic crowd. This was his second visit to Cleveland ever and this time was much better than before as he was not battling the flu and none of his bandmates slipped on the stage and fell on their ass during the set.
Playing “Try This At Home” it was clear that more people in the crowd this time knew who Turner was as they sang along to his folk rock songs. Turner excitedly announced a new sing-along called “I Believe” and taught the crowd their parts. Needless to say, the song was amazing and provided a nice hint of what his new material sounds like. He continued with “Sons Of Liberty”, the ever catchy “The Road” and also played “Photosynthesis”. The set was shorter than the crowd would have liked but was enjoyed by all.
Good ol’ boys Lucero took to the stage after a brief break and did their best to win over the crowd. Sadly not as many people seemed as excited during their set but there was a nice chunk of true Lucero fans who sang from the beginning till the end as loudly as possible making sure all their surrounding neighbors realize they were missing out on something good.
The southern rock act played through their set including “I’ll Just Fall”, “Sixes & Sevens” as well as “Noon As Dark”. They sounded amazing live and appeared so happy to be on the stage with lead singer Ben Nichols even saying “This is a dream tour for us.” “Mom” was a highlight to many in the crowd who all knew the lyrics by heart as was the set ending “Tears Don’t Matter Much.” Their set flew by entirely too fast and many were wishing that was not the case.
Social D made way to the stage with lead man Mike Ness donning an almost rockabilly / Swingers outfit with baggy khakis and a white button up shirt. After absorbing the cheers from all over the venue Ness was handed a guitar and the band broke into three classics “The Creeps”, “Another State Of Mind”, and “Mommy’s Little Monster”. Looking and sounding solid as ever, the band played with great energy and soaked in all the excitement from the crowd.
“Sick Boys” got the fans moving around as Ness and crew thrashed about the stage while everyone sang along – Rock N Roll never sounded so good. With beers in hand and eyes focused on the stage, Social D continued with “I Was Wrong” as well as played a new song from their upcoming album entitled “Still Alive”.
Moving around their catalog, the band played older and newer tracks including “Ball & Chain”, “Bakersfield” (another song from their upcoming release) and “So Far Away”. For having been around for 30+ years, the band showed no signs of being too tired to play or any hints that their musical career would be ending anytime soon. By the sounds of the cheers it was certain that everyone was enjoying themselves at one of the better shows that has come to Cleveland. Add in “Prison Bound” and Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” and many Social D fans were beyond satisfied with the set.
The only downfall of the show that could be seen were the folk who just didn’t know when to stop throwing back drinks – more so than other recent shows. It was quite apparent that a lot of Sunday night concert goers would be calling off Monday morning. A couple fights erupted, one during Lucero, and a select few fans were so piss drunk that they could not stand on their own two feet halfway through the main performance. Nevertheless the surrounding crowd was unscathed by their actions and paid attention to the real reason they came to the House Of Blues: To take in a Rock N Roll show by one of the best acts out there.
January 18th, 2001, Social Distortion will be releasing Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes, the band’s first release in over six years. By the show that the band put on last night, it’s evident that excitement for their new album has reached higher levels.
Social Distortion Setlist:
Another State Of Mind
Mommy’s Little Monster
Don’t Drag Me Down
I Was Wrong
Bye Bye Baby
Ball & Chain
Through These Eyes
King Of Fools
When She Begins
So Far Away
Down Here With The Rest Of Us
Ring Of Fire