Review: Social Distortion at the Ogden, 12/2/11
Early on in Social Distortion's Friday night show at the Ogden, the first of a three-night stand, frontman Mike Ness thanked the crowd for coming to the show and said, "I know you had choices tonight. There's the Christmas light parade downtown. You could have stayed at home and watched Sons of Anarchy, but you came to see Social D. I think you made the right choice, homeboy."
Most of the folks in the near-capacity Ogden would have probably agreed that they did in fact the right choice. After walking on to a darkened stage while Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy" played over the house system, Social Distortion launched into "Road Zombie," the burning instrumental that opens the band's latest effort, Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes. A back-to-back pair of tunes from 1992's Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell -- "Bad Luck" and "King of Fools" -- fired up the crowd early on while a fiery take on "Another State of Mind" took things up a notch.
"We're just getting warmed up," Ness said after playing "Another State of Mind," and then jumped into the gangster-themed "Machine Gun Blues," also on Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes. While the band had been turning out an energetic set for the first half hour, including a righteous take on "Mommy's Little Monster," "Story of My Life" seemed to be the first song of the night that crowd fully embraced with a hefty applause.
More Photos: Social Distortion at the Ogden, 12/2/11
But instead of building off the momentum of "Story of My Life," the band took things down a notch with "Bakersfield," the slowest song of the night and helped mellow out the pit, which had been fairly fervent with a few crowd surfers.
"I'm looking out and seeing some scary looking criminals," Ness said after "Bakersfield." It ain't all women either. Aw, fellas I'm just fucking with ya. When I gauge a person, I don't care about how many tattoos you got. They got tattoo shops on every corner. Kids going right to the neck -- instant bad-ass. So I don't look at your appearance. I don't care about that. I look in your eyes and I see the crazy motherfuckers. You know what I'm talking about. This one's for you."
Eric Gruneisen Social Distortion last night at the Ogden. More Social Distortion Denver photos.
With that, the guys nailed "Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown," before closing out the set with four cuts from White Light, White Heat, White Trash Sex and Love and Rock 'n' Roll, including the country-fueled "Reach for the Sky" and ending with "Nickels and Dimes."
The most surprising moment of the night was when...