Social Distortion Union Hall, Edmonton AB, June 13

Social Distortion Union Hall, Edmonton AB, June 13
Photo: Dana Zuk
Like slipping on that old, worn-in leather jacket for the first time in years, nostalgia is bound to submerge you in memories of great times, and maybe some bad. For the audience at the sold-out show at Union Hall in Edmonton, punk rock icons Social Distortion gave their fans an immersion of reminiscences to relive some of the good and bad times, when their music was the soundtrack to those memories.
Frontman and founder Mike Ness and his crew started the evening with "Reach For The Sky." Ness's gruff and familiar tone riled up the crowd and gave the evening a running start. However, momentum took a brief hit and put the audience into a bit of a lull when Ness stopped the intro to "Don't Take Me For Granted" a few times, due to difficulties getting his guitar in tune. After some banter with the crowd, Ness fired up and took off back into the set.
Despite the brief pause in energy, Social Distortion did well to bring life back to the venue, playing fan favourites as well as including new music. Ness addressed the audience before playing "Over You": "Here's some new music so you all know we haven't been sitting on our asses all this time."
Without much of a playing field, Social Distortion used what they could of the crammed stage, but otherwise relied solely on their music to produce the energy. After more than three decades, the punkers still pack a punch, and each member did well to uphold their task. Ness's vocals remained steady and still sounded as impressive as they did back in his early days.
The set list for the show was a perfect display of the group's discography. Whether concert-goers were there to experience tunes from the band's early days or were into their newer material, Social Distortion offered a wide array from their arsenal. During breaks, Ness would tell stories about influences behind songs, touching on love and loss, or the issues involving racism that the frontman had witnessed first-hand, which inspired "Don't Drag Me Down."
Weathered, but not worn, Social Distortion's visual presence may not be of the highest end, which is common for a punk band, but when it comes to throwing down and leaving their mark on eager audiences, they proved that age has put no damper on their performance. Closing the evening on a high note with "Ball and Chain" and their cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" from their 1990 self-titled album, fans left the venue pocketing one more lasting memory.