American punk rock was alive and well in Charlotte this past Saturday night as California punk rockers Social Distortion made a stop at the Fillmore on their summer tour. A sea of Social Distortion shirts could be seen throughout the venue as the near capacity crowd began filtering in. Social D brought out quite a varied fan base ranging from the under the age of 10 (accompanied by their parents) to the over 60 and everywhere in between.
Excitement was at a fever pitch as the lights dimmed and the crowd hooted and hollered and awaited what we be an incredible night of punk rock and roll. A taped intro of “I Put a Spell on You” began to play as the band took the stage kicking off the evening with “Still Alive.” Frontman Mike Ness took his place behind the center mic outfitted with his signature cap and guitar emblazoned with Orange County and a rose stuck atop the neck. Ness’s vocals sounded on point as he led the band through a variety of songs covering material from seven albums. Drummer David Hidalgo Jr. provided a solid force behind the kit surrounded by an assortment of knickknacks including no parking signs and a light up mannequin torso. Bassist
Brent Harding and guitarist Jonny Wickersham provided the driving rhythms accompanied by Dave Kalish on keyboards. You could tell that the band members had been together a long time as they were completely in synch with one another and
gelled like a fine tuned machine. Ness kept the chatter to a minimum taking only a moment here or there to introduce a song or comment to the audience. Things really got going with the fan favorite “Ball and Chain” followed by and intense
instrumental jam that was a highlight of the night. Included in the set was “Hope Dies Hard” a Johnny “2 Bags” Wickersham song with an amped up version of “Machine Gun Blues” closing things out.
It wasn’t long before the chants of “Social D! Social D!” filled the venue and Social Distortion did not disappoint returning for a four song encore including one of their biggest tunes “Story of My Life.” But there was one tune left that the fans had been anticipating all night long. The crowd erupted and the pits got moving as Social D led the audience through a rousing cover of the Merle Kilgore and June Carter Cash song made famous by Johnny Cash , “Ring of Fire,” providing a perfect ending to a perfect punk filled night. Don’t miss out on one of the coolest shows of the summer. Check out Social D when they hit up a town near you.
I Put A Spell On You (Taped Intro)
99 To Life
Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown
California (Hustle and Flow)
King of Fools
Ball and Chain
Another State of Mind
Hope Dies Hard (Jonny “2 Bags” Wickersham cover)
When She Begins
Machine Gun Blues
Don’t Drag Me Down
Story of My Life
Ring of Fire (Merle Kilgore and June Carter Cash cover)
We would like to thank Michele Stephens from Epitaph for the credentials to review the show.