As I stood at the Roseland Theater, April 10, while Social Distortion was taking the stage, I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I’m at a Social Distortion show, in 2012.” On the bill was Lindi Ortega, Toadies, and Social Distortion, and what I found was a show featuring two bands who were grasping for relevance almost 20 years after their peak. If I were in charge of handing out that relevance after watching their performances, I would have given all of it to the Toadies. Their set was incredibly loud and energetic, which is a feat in a venue as gigantic as the Roseland. They blasted through a lot of material, both new and old, an awesome cover of a Reverend Horton Heat song, and finally came to conclusion with their big hit, “Possum Kingdom.” Social Distortion took the stage about a half hour later, and they were decent. The band opened with ‘Bad Luck,’ then followed with a wide selection of their hits, mostly from the 90s-era Social Distortion albums. They did, unfortunately, tread into tracks from their latest album, “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes,” an album that went too far rockabilly, and didn’t push the envelope. If “Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll” was Social Distortion’s ‘American Idiot,’ (debatable), they were unfortunately unable to capitalize on it with their follow up. But Social Distortion didn’t play a bad set, they were quite well put together, as opposed to a lot of bands even playing shows this size. Last time I saw them was with Tiger Army and the Explosion in 2005-ish, and the crowd was really different. Instead of psychobilly kids who were way into it, singing and screaming, the crowd was primarily people who were listening to alternative rock radio during college in the mid-90s, what with the bill being Toadies/Social Distortion. Overall, this was definitely not the worst show I’ve been to, but Social Distortion really needs new material that knocks it out of the park, or they’ll be falling off the radar before too long.

Social Distortion Official / Facebook
Toadies Official / Facebook
Lindi Ortega Official / Facebook
Epitaph Records Official
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