Monday, February 11, 2008

Social Distortion

Last Monday, I went to the Social Distortion concert at the Fillmore, thanks to a friend of mine who got an extra ticket. I knew close to nothing about the band beforehand; based on some crude sociological profiling of people I had seen sporting Social D. gear, I knew it was some punk-rock type of band (see poster below), but I had never heard their music.

Therefore, I was a bit surprised when the concert opened with an accordion, an upright-bass and two acoustic guitars; no drums, no distortion, and plenty of country, a genre I know almost nothing about, besides the "Johnny Cash at Saint Quentin" album.

The sound gained some muscle midway through; still, there was plenty of country: they closed with "The Rings of Fire", and played quite a few Hank Williams covers, if I am to believe my friend. All in all, the result was very successful, and in retrospect, made me realize that both punk-rock and country have something in common with one of my favorite genres, blues: all three are so formulaic, technically simple, and stripped down, that artists cannot hide behind gimmicks: only bands who know how to own a stage, and put some sincerity and personality in their music can play in these styles without sounding like a parody. Social Distortion definitely passed the test.
A last thing: that concert also made me happy for another reason. I really like the free posters the Fillmore distributes after concerts, but the last times I had been there, zilch! No poster. I had come to believe that this tradition had gone, and was really happy to receive a poster at the end - even though I don't think I'll hang it in my living room.

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