The combat boots were a-flyin’ and the dominant paradigmswere being subverted as Social Distortion turned the Big Easy punklast Monday. Well, as punk as a place with metal detectors and 50cent earplugs can be.
Spikey-haired kids from all across the Inland Northwest werestripped of their wallet chains, oversized rings and anything elsethat could be considered a weapon and treated to the first Spokaneouting from one of the forefathers of modern punk rock.
Once eveyone became situated with their $4 beers and $8 cheesefries, and the roadies got their moment to shine, testingequipment, the first opening band, the Boston quintet TheExplosion, came on stage.
Singer Matt Hock’s screaming was drowned out by Dave Walshand Sam Cave’s loud guitar riffs and alternating solos.
Unlike concerts where the crowd doesn’t give the openingacts any love, they were getting pumped and thrashing around likeit was a Great White show with one fire exit.
The next opening act was the So-Cal trio, Tiger Army, who atfirst glance, looked like the poster-children for the AryanNations. Singer/guitarist Nick 13 was belting out words to make aPennywise-like sound while Geoff Kresge intensely pounded at hisstand-up bass to create a low-end that made the whole placeshake.
Tiger Army encouraged the audience to not get into fights, butthat didn’t stop some people from getting ejected from thevenue for their violent, id-driven slamdancing.
Tiger Army left and the band everyone was waiting to see wascoming out any minute.
Any minute became 25 minutes when the lights finally went backdown.
Social Distortion came on stage and busted out their version ofJohnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” which wasaccompanied by fists raised high and a chorus of leather-cladsocial rebels singing along.
The end of “Ring of Fire” was seamlessly blendedinto the opening notes of “Reach for the Sky,” thefirst track from their new album, Sex, Love and Rock‘n’ Roll.
Roughly every other song was from the new album, with oldfavorites like “Prison Bound” and “Ball andChain” filling in the blanks of the set list. Singer MikeNess’ vocals sounded spot on to the records, a rarity innon-lip synching performances these days.
His emotional lyrics caused most of the crowd to stand up andshout like they were at an anarchist rights parade, while somestood still, closed their eyes and took it all in.
The band’s performance was flawless. Their playing was soprecise, it seemed like it was as easy as marrying a cousin is to aBush supporter.
When it was all over, the satisfied crowd left the venue withringing ears, clothing reeking of cigarette smoke and emptywallets, the way any great concert should end.