Two things were apparent by the end of the Social Distortion concert at the Ogden Theatre on Saturday night: the band’s raucous punk rock makes you want to push the stranger standing next to you, and Mike Ness is the man to thank for that. Ness, the unquestioned leader and only original member of the band, has been writing and performing his now iconic punk songs for over 30 years. Trying to imagine Social D without him is like trying to take the dark out of night.
Ness, with bandmates Jonny Wickersham (guitars), Brent Harding (bass) and David Hidalgo, Jr. (drums) wasted no time with a crashing set that cranked out classics like “Bad Luck” and “Story of My Life.” A sizeable mosh pit followed post-haste. The crowd/band relationship was a constant gnashing of grit and energy, and sticking to a well-aged arsenal of tunes like “So Far Away” and crowd favorite “Ball and Chain,” the situation remained perfectly un-calm.
Closing with a lengthy encore, Social Distortion departed with their cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and for a little while, the room felt electric. “Can’t Take it With You,” a track off of 2011’s “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes,” still managed to bring it. And while the stage lighting did not seem to vary much beyond on or off, Mike Ness made his signature Gibson Les Paul gold-top sting, because that was the type of gig it was.
Not much in the way of spectacle or mystery, pretty much just a punch in the gut performance that made up only one third of the band’s sold out weekend in Denver.
Click here for a full photo gallery of Day 3.
Brendan Magee is a Denver-based writer and regular contributor to Reverb. When not writing, Brendan is working on his own music as a singer-songwriter in Capitol Hill.