Video: Social Distortion, When the Angels Sing

One Social Distortion show I went to – it may have been the last one, I don’t remember – my companion and I wedged ourselves into a spot on the risers near the pit (we were at Roseland) and, as is the way of things, started chatting with people nearby. About halfway through the show a man wriggled out of the pit and came to visit one of the ladies in front of us. He was sweaty and kind of battered but thoroughly happy. It was the kind of happiness that enlivens a group, as the energy of the pit rolled off him and enveloped us.

That’s what I think of, when I think of Social D. That dude, and his lady, his tattoos and big grin, and how he shook himself like a wet, sweaty dog and we made rueful faces and then assured him he was never too old for the pit.

This When the Angels Sing from White Light, White Heat, White Trash (1996). It’s not as iconic as Ball and Chain or Sick Boy, but I’m fond of it.

Social Distortion - When The Angels Sing

2012: A Year In Pictures, October and December

Johnny Hallyday, Beacon Theater, Oct. 7, 2012
Blake Mills, Terminal 5, New York, NY, Oct. 16, 2012
Fiona Apple, Terminal 5, New York, NY, 0ct. 16, 2012
Fiona Apple, Terminal 5, Oct. 16, 2012
Beast Patrol, The Studio at Webster Hall, October 19, 2012
Alex Greenwald and Z Berg, JJAMZ, The Studio at Webster Hall, Oct. 19, 2012
Alex Greenwald and Michael Runion, JJAMZ, The Studio at Webster Hall, Oct. 19, 2012
Sweatheart, Terminal 5, New York, NY, Oct. 22, 2012
The Dirty Pearls, Terminal 5, New York, NY, Oct. 22, 2012.
Justin Hawkins / The Darkness, Terminal 5, New York, NY, Oct. 22, 2012
Jeffertitti’s Nile w/ Father John Misty, Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY, Oct. 24, 2012
Katy Goodman, La Sera, Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY, Oct. 24, 2012
Father John Misty, w/ Jeffertitti, Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY, Oct. 24, 2012
Lindi Ortega, Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY, Oct. 26, 2012
Mike Ness, Social Distortion, Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY, Oct. 26, 2012
Apparently I didn’t go to any shows in November, either.
Sheena Ozzella, Lemuria, Webster Hall, New York, NY, Dec. 2, 2012
Ceremony and stage diver going in to the pit, Webster Hall, New York, NY, Dec. 2, 2012
Titus Andronicus, Webster Hall, New York, NY, Dec. 2, 2012
Animal Collective, Terminal 5, Dec. 5, 2012
Casey Neill, 68 Jay Street Bar, Brooklyn, NY, Dec. 8, 2012
IMG_8261 A small fraction – there are nine of them! – of Industries of the Blind, Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY, Dec. 21, 2012

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Lucero/Social Distortion

Social D., yo. What more needs to be said? (Aside from, “Buying music at the grocery store, what!?”)

Before I get started on this one, I have to tell y’all that Social Distortion has a very special place in my heart. I spent a good decade (1998-2008) in cultural exile, by which I mean only listening to the classic rock station, buying music at Whole Foods and getting my (musical) news from Rolling Stone — okay, perhaps not so much cultural exile as descent into premature middle-age – and as you might have guessed, I didn’t go to a whole lot of shows during this time. The few I did attend were either Bon Jovi or Social D. (The epiphany that prompted my return to modern rock occurred at a Bon Jovi show, but that is a story for another time.)

Back then my sister had to coax me out, arguing that Social D hardly ever came east and I shouldn’t miss seeing them play. Things are different now, obviously, but their shows still feel like a special treat. This particular one also featured Lucero, who I honestly had forgotten was going to be there, and so was pleasantly surprised to see them.


After listening to their set, I concluded I’d like to see them at their own show, somewhere other than the big cavern that is Roseland Ballroom. They didn’t get lost in it, but something about the ambiance was off. They have a big heavy country sound – this might seems like a contradiction in terms but I promise you it isn’t – and I think I might have gotten more into it at, say, Irving Plaza or the Bowery Ballroom. In any case, I only took a few pictures before I retreated to our spot on the risers. There was a big column blocking my view of the stage, but being up away from the crowd where I could breathe was well worth it.

At one point I did try to see if I could wiggle my way back in to edges of the pit to get some shots of Social D, but there were just too many people. So here’s the view from the risers:


Brent Harding


Brent Harding, Mike Ness

In the end I didn’t really care that I couldn’t really see them all that well. I could hear them just fine, and the power of Mike Ness’ voice has not diminished one bit. Plus they played my favorite song – Ball and Chain – and it occurred to me that I used to sing along because I could identify with the sentiments (I’m sick, and I’m tired, and I can’t take any more pain) and now I sing along because I did actually manage to slip loose of my metaphorical ball and chain. Though I do still sometimes buy music at the grocery store. Anyway, in conclusion: Thank you, Social D, for keeping me company during those bleak times, and I look forward to seeing you (and perhaps actually seeing you) the next time you come around.

— Jennifer