Social Distortion – with The Bouncing Souls at T.T. the Bears – Review

Social Distortion

with The Bouncing Souls at T.T. the Bears
by Scott Hefflon
photo by Krista Handfield

This was a mighty big show to be crammed into TT’s (350ish capacity). Seeing rock stars like Social Distortion in an intimate local club sounds swell, don’t it? Sure, it sold out almost immediately. Sure, it smelled like a locker room. Sure, you got sweated on by large men with no shirts, and lots of tattoos. Wha’d you expect, an MTV video?

The Bouncing Souls started the show off just right. I was worried Social D. would be just too damn cool for their own good, but the Souls put on such a frantic show, Social D. either had to be great or they had to admit they got their butts whupped by the new breed. Both bands kicked ass. While I’m kinda a come-lately fan of TBS (or is it The BS?), I’m now a solid one. Their tracks have occasionally saved otherwise bite-the-big-one compilations, and their own release, the good, the bad, and the argyle (BYO), is no slouch either. Not many bands can tip their caps to their predecessors without obscuring their own identity to the extent that The Bouncing Souls can. Their style is as ’80s goof rock as it is mid-’90s melodic punk. With unquestionable credibility, the Souls can gush about clutch quotes from their favorite ’80s movies, (resplendent with clips from Valley Girl, Say Anything, Breakfast Club, Better Off Dead, Something Wonderful) without seeming like nostalgic has-beens. Their covers of “(I Want) Candy” and “I Know What Boys Like” will plaster a silly grin on your face and get your hipster ass shakin’. You’ll bellow the lyrics you’d usually deny that you know by heart. Yup, The Bouncing Souls are loads of fun and can dig into that old photo album of dumb things we all used to wear and write dancable songs about them. You’ll sweat, you’ll stink, you’ll smile your ass off.

And Social Distortion? They were great. Hands down, they put on a show that proves they deserve the crown of back to basics. Their old tunes, some new tunes – all great without a gimmick in sight. A huge wall of guitars roaring, simply, loudly and majestically, over which the patented drone vocal was laid. They’re hard, they’re punk (both old and new schools in attendance) and they’re not getting watered down over time.