Social Distortion at Boulder Theater

By: Ian Ehrhart

Chuck Berry is blasting over the PA, a subtle homage to the late king of rock n’ roll, as I receive my X’s and hand over my ticket. I make my way through a maze of all different types of people on my trek to the front of the stage with a skip in my step and a twinkle in my eye, for I am a spry young punk rocker!
Chuck fades — the lights flicker — Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ gravely wicked voice snarls, “I put a spell on you” as the legends themselves, Social D, walk on stage cooler than you’ll ever be, to a roar of screaming and clapping. The audience quiets down in anticipation. The silence is broken by Mike Ness‘ lone guitar. They begin the set with, “so far away”, the first song off their 1990 self-entitled album. The floor began to rumble as the bottom floor of the venue erupted in a flurry of bodies smashing into one another with a sense of respect and community that could only be tangible at a punk rock show. “Get em’ up!”, someone would shout in the event of a fallen compadre — and without hesitation, each and every time, everyone would stop what they were doing and flock to aid whoever had fallen. Being at the Boulder theater that Thursday night, I felt as though everyone there was my friend.
Social D played a set that was about an hour and a half long (although it felt like half an hour). There was a generous mix of old and new songs in the set, including a slowed down version of, “Gotta know the rules”, that singer/songwriter/guitarist, Mike Ness, professed had taken on a whole new meaning after the presidential election in November. Although he did not go into further detail, the song speaks for itself.
The night ended with an encore of four songs, and by no means were any of them taken for granted by us. The energy in the audience had been reawakened with ten times what it had been at the beginning. This was it. By the last two songs, everyone was singing along. They concluded with, “Dear lover”, “Gotta know the rules”, “Story of my life” and the famed punk rock cover of Johnny Cash‘s, “Ring of fire”. Now if only Merica’ could act more like a mosh pit…