40 Years of Social Distortion-Sounds From Behind The Orange Curtain Check Out Our Review, Photos & Found Vids From The Web!
ORANGE COUNTY, CA- Social Distortion fans from around the country came out to the FivePoint Amphitheatre on October 26th to celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the band. After spending the latter half of the summer on tour with Flogging Molly, they brought the party home to Orange County. They were joined by an eclectic array of musical acts spread from newer bands to legendary artists.
Whatever musical taste or inclination any particular audience member may have, other than SD, one could assume that there was a supporting band to satisfy it. Of the 10 bands who played, I have only experienced 3 in a live or even studio recording situation. So you can say that I was introduced to a lot of great music that I would be happy to check out in the near future.
Mannequin Pussy opened the show on the second stage. They have been on tour supporting their recent album release on Epitaph named Patience. Their fiery half-hour set was filled with punk rock and more melodic tendencies as the band’s frontwoman, Marisa Dabice, passionately delivered her lyrics to the crowd.
Tho their name may be off-putting to some, the music is not. The Philadelphia quartet is a great time. The band goes on to the European leg of their tour through November and back to the states for the east coast in December.
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After a quick turn over and sound check, Bully took the stage next. As this was my first experience with the band from Nashville, I was unfamiliar with their music. I couldn’t tell you exactly what their setlist was. What I remember is enjoying the alt-rock feel of the songs. Reminiscent of Liz Phair.
After the festival had ended, I took the time to watch the video and read some of the lyrics to become a little more informed as to what the music is about. Frontwoman Alicia Bognanno’s voice is both sweet and salty, as she leads the band thru their set. Bully is scheduled to play at the Moonstone Festival in Alabama in November.
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Every now and then, you are introduced to a band through the suggestion of a friend singing their praises. Such is the case with Plague Vendor. Nothing prepared me for what I saw and heard as they burned through their set. They are fire! They are exciting! Their stage presence reminds me of so many great rock bands but completely stand out on their own. Singer Brandon Blaine is a dynamo, with his Jagger-Esque moves and cocksure swagger. The music is explosive as well.
They opened their set with “New Comedown,” off their latest release, By Night. The quartet, originally from Whittier, Ca, is rounded out by guitarist Jay Rogers, drummer Luke Perine, and bassist Michael Perez. They fully support Blaine as he romances the crowd, jumping to the barrier and singing directly with them as he dons a hat off an audience member, flips his feet high in the air whilst clutching the kick drum and several more charismatic frontman moves to engage the crowd. It’s mesmerizing.
As he leaves the stage once again during “Locomotive” to crowd surf while engaging in some serious callisthenics strewn above the crowd, I found myself wanting to hear and see more. They play November 16th at the Rock & MMA festival in Victorville, Ca and at the Bunkhouse in Las Vegas on November 27th.
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My first impression of The Black Lips based on their aesthetic alone as they set up and sound checked was, “what are these guys all about?” Their drummer, Oakley Munson, has a huge afro atop his melon, guitarist Jeff Clarke, dressed in what can only be described as “Daisy Duke” cutoffs, a dashiki and a black sweater with a smattering of round studs and saxophone player Zumi Rosow, in a black leather studded bikini. Founding members Cole Alexander, in a beret playing a David Bowie signature Supro guitar and bassist Jared Swilley, with his Hofner Bass and psychobilly look, smoking a Marlboro red and drinking a Coors.
The Atlanta formed band is approaching its 20th anniversary. The music is a well-mixed brand of Psychadelic, punk rock, country and psychobilly as diverse as the members of the band. They head to Europe for November and dates in Texas and Florida in December.
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As the second stage closed, I headed to the main stage to catch the renowned Eagles of Death Metal. The band, formed by Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme, plays a sexy brand of danceable, fast pace rock and roll meant to make the ladies swoon. Their music and stage show is as intense and entertaining as their studio albums. This was my first time seeing them live and I found myself tapping my toes and mildly shaking my bottom. I watched in amazement as the colour-coordinated band drove through their set like the driver described in KISS’s, “Detroit Rock City.”
Rounded out by Bass goddess Jennie Vee, slick guitarist Josh Jove and on his cocktail drum kit, Jorma Vic, they are a hodgepodge of cocksure peacocks. Confident and nice to look at. Jesse Hughes’ banter and his shimmy and shake had my attention from the start. This band is a lot of fun and great songs to boot. They will tour New Zealand and Australia in April of 2020.
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Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls took the stage with a fervour. The British singer-songwriter and band made a tour stop in Irvine to bring their brand of folk-punk to the celebration. As I have stated before, I’m a huge fan of bands who really interact with each other and the audience and put on a show as many in this festival line up did. This band was no exception.
The music was as catchy and fun as the band members themselves. They continue on their American tour through November 8th and then off to the UK in late November to early December and Eastern Europe in the New Year.
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Performing, in its entirety, their 2008 album, Midnight Boom, The Kills came on stage next. With their sexy songs and bluesy fuzz guitars, singer Alison Mosshart, took to her microphone as she swayed to the rhythm laid down by their live, unnamed drummer and guitarist, Jamie Hince.
Their music was mesmerizing with the stage lights, as dusk descended upon the earth. The opening song, “U.R.A. Fever,” felt hot and sticky as a cool breeze blew through the Amphitheatre. This was groovy as the frontwoman crooned the chorus, “you are a fever. You are a fever and you ain’t born typical.” The trio sounded full even though they lacked a bass player. The music is warm and lends itself to “sexy time.”
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The L.A. punk outfit, The Distillers fronted by Brody Dalle came on next with their musical assault that whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Tho mostly backlit with white lights and smoke highlighting their frames, the passion, and ferociousness in her vocal performance was enough to convey her message singing such hits as “Drain The Blood,” “City of Angels” and “Man Vs Magnet,” to name a few.
It was nothing short of pure punk rock energy. This was the last stop on their North America tour that also saw them open for the Misfits and on the same the bill with the legendary Damned.
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The Queen of Rock and Roll, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts came on stage and set it on fire with a career-spanning set. Included were all the hits like, “Bad Reputation,” “Crimson and Clover” and their iconic anthem, “I Love Rock and Roll.” They also played The Runaways massive hit, “Cherry Bomb” and “You Drive Me Wild.” I love that she plays “Light of Day,” which was written for the movie of the same name that she co-starred in with Michael J. Fox.
The band just wrapped up a U. S. tour earlier in October. The band was tight and Joan’s vocals were explosive as always. They closed their set with, “I Hate Myself For Loving You.” They never disappoint all the times I’ve seen them, such a great catalog of music.
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The time had come for the band we were there to celebrate. Social Distortion. When you think about 40 years, that’s a long time. It’s an institution and also still young enough for more great years.
The band opened their hit heavy set with “Don’t Drag Me Down,” from the 1996 “White Light, White Heat, White Trash” album, which is by far my top 2 favorite albums by them. The set was filled with so many classic Social D songs. “Prison Bound,” “1945,” “Machine Gun Blues” and “Prison Bound,” to name a few. But the highlight for me was hearing the intro to “Another State Of Mind.” This was how I was introduced to the band’s music when I saw the 1984 Documentary of the same name.
Mike Ness addressed the crowd between songs with candidness about his thoughts and beliefs and shared tender moments. He said that the band will be recording and releasing a brand new album in 2020, as he introduced to a new song called, “Over You,” which got a great response from the crowd. “Dear Lover,” closed the set and the band exited the stage.
After about 10 minutes, SD returned to the stage for the encore, starting with another new song called “Born To Kill.” They then played “Sometimes I Do,” and Ness brought to the stage his son, Julien, to take over on guitar and with him, welcoming Joan Jett to join in on the song. “Ring Of Fire came next and they blazed through the Johnny Cash classic.
Ness took some time to sincerely thank everyone who made this 40-year journey possible. Thanking his wife and children, former and current members as well as their families who have supported the band over the years. When he thanked the fans for making all his dreams come true, the crowd cheered in response.
He took time to share about his mother, who passed away earlier in the week. Tho they had a strained relationship, she always encounters him to be himself. I’d like to express my sincere condolences to him. He then took a deep breath and composed himself, before he and the band broke into “Story of My Life,” with the crowd singing along.
All in all, it was a great celebration of his life’s work. I’m looking forward to the new album and more shows from this iconic band. Happy 40th anniversary, Mike and crew. Thank you for all the music.
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