Social Distortion attracted a massive Milwaukee crowd.
Social Distortion attracted a massive Milwaukee crowd.
Mike Ness gives his sweat - maybe his blood and tears, too - during a performance.
Mike Ness gives his sweat - maybe his blood and tears, too - during a performance.

Social Distortion: still got it

The days of pure and gritty raw punk rock may be behind us, but the well oiled machine that is Social Distortion still churns out high intensity concerts, as was the case last night in Milwaukee at The Rave.

It's hard to quantify the impact a band like Social Distortion has had on modern music. They spawned in an era of punk rock that was the foundation which alternative and grunge music was born, a time when Minor Threat, Youth Brigade, 7 Seconds, Black Flag and The Circle Jerks were regulars on the same circuit, and the concerts were attended by a few hundred kids. Touring behind Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes, their new CD and first for Epitaph Records, Social D played for a packed crowd, and the show which was originally scheduled to be played downstairs in the old President's Room was moved upstairs to the Ballroom.

Mike Ness and his band, Jonny "2 Bags" Wickersham on guitar, Brent Harding on bass, Danny McGough on keyboards and David Hidalgo, Jr. on drums, hit the stage shortly after 10 p.m., and started out with "Road Zombie," the first song on their new disc. They belted out the instrumental tune with fire and fury, setting the tone for the rest of the evening.

They quickly dug deep into their song catalog and rocked out "So Far Away" and "Bad Luck," much to the delight of the crowd. But it was "Mommy's Little Monster" that really got the crowd going early on, and while I had hoped to hear more from that legendary album, I was happy to hear anything at all.

A few songs later they played "Machine Gun Blues," a song for which they just released a mini-movie online. Ness commented that it was a "Video MTV would never play," and while this may be true, I think we're beyond MTV at this point in the YouTube age. After two weeks of being released, it already has over 65,000 views.

Ness was full of one liners and quotable moments during the 90-minute set. He dedicated the song "Gimme The Sweet And Lowdown" to "the crazy ones" and when …

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