Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Down Here With The Rest of Us

Social Distortion back in the old days

Saturday night was spent hanging out in Poughkeepsie, New York, a town that time forgot, and so did everyone else, apparently. The only reason I was there was to see Social Distortion at a club called The Chance with G12, who's a big Social D fan from way back (plus they were his tickets).

Poughkeepsie was weird, in that we were right on downtown Main Street at 6:30 on a Saturday (just a left and a right away from Malcolm X Park-- bonus points!), and there was no traffic to speak of and nothing was open. G12 and I had to walk almost 3 blocks just to find a deli open to get something to eat, and the owner told us that he usually doesn't even bother staying past 3:00 in the afternoon unless there's something going on downtown (like a cheese rolling, or a witch burning ceremony, or a sale on horse shoes, or whatever).

The Chance used to be called
Frivolous Sal's Last Chance Saloon,
but that was too many words to make
a decent-looking sign, I guess, so
the name got whittled down to The
Chance somewhere along the way
(check out the fancy sign now).
The entrance to the club is tucked
inside an alleyway between two
brick buildings, in that typical
tattered and run-down fashion that
almost always says, "Live music played here" (that, or "Hey, good place to leave that old mattress"). The joykilling fascists, man, that made up club security were taking away any cameras, otherwise I could've had a bunch of photos of the bands and the inside of the 95-year-old theater; because of that, none of the photos here are mine, by the way.

The band that opened up the show, The Heart Attacks, were awful; in fact, it's been so long since I've seen an opening band this shitty that I forgot all about the Knockout Drops. I mean, how did I know The Heart Attacks were going to do a Dead Boys cover, and it was going to be "Sonic Reducer"? (Doesn't anyone know any other Dead Boys songs?)

These guys really suck

Even funnier is when bands like this try to look like retro punk rockers, and they end up looking like a cross between HR Pufnstuff and Poison's "biker" phase instead.

The second band on the bill, The Hangmen, maybe weren't as awful, though they were no Live Skull, either. The only reason for anyone to come out on stage in a trucker hat and a cowboy shirt, singing a song called "Loners, Junkies, and Liquor Stores", is to make people laugh, and even if it didn't look it, I was laughing on the inside.

Mike Ness, Social Distortion

As for Social Distortion, they were way better than I expected they were gonna be, and I don't usually go for all-out rockstar bombast in a club setting unless Damien Pratt's involved (Rye Coalition excepted). It was after I discovered Flipside zine that I first started going to punk rock shows back in the '80s, so it was kinda cool to have a part of that early L.A. scene right in front of me, all of these years later. It's interesting to contrast the first band on the bill, with their Stiv Bators wanna-be thrift store look being the most punk thing about them, and Mike Ness, who has actual punk roots (distant as they might be) but plays dressed-down along with the rest of his band while decorating the stage like an Applebee's.

From the first and only Social Distortion record that I ever bought, 22 years ago:
Social Distortion, "1945"
Social Distortion, "Under My Thumb"



Anonymous Quint said...

Great report from Poughkeepsie! Sounds like a good time.

I spent two months in Poughkeepsie working for the US Navy. I am well acquainted with the nothingness of that town — it is the place that time forgot. I always thought that it looked like a town from the late 1960's.

What was the Navy doing in Poughkeepsie? The Navy had a building there from WWII because the President, FDR, wanted to be able to run the war from his home in Hyde Park — up the road a few minutes. And with the efficiency of government they kept the building open until 1992. I offered the closing benediction in a ceremony as the command went away and the building was secured for the last time. A bit of history back to the big one WWII.

Concerning the song Under My Thumb — I hope there was a skinny guy dancing around singing that song. It is the only way to listen to that song.

8/1/07, 9:38 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

That's right-- as G12 and I drove up the Taconic Pkwy to the show, we passed the FDR residence. Swear to God, Mike Ness even mentioned FDR on stage.

"Under My Thumb" was the third song Social D played that night (and they took the stage to the siren intro that starts off "1945"). In any case, after The Heart Attacks' set, I was already sick to death of limp-wristed skinny guys with poofy hair running around.

8/1/07, 9:57 PM

Anonymous g12 said...

I would like to think The Heart Attacks were the worst band i ever saw. but i think the Lost City Angels that opend for Social D last year at Toads Place were worse.
I did like the stolen hair styles they had. the Rod Stewart circa 1975, and the Ronnie Wood, but the best was the kid with Ciderella 1989 on his head.
Thanks for going the Social D show was of course great as usuall.

8/2/07, 2:25 PM

Anonymous caldercup0 said...

I would like to think The Heart Attacks were the worst band i ever saw. but i think the Lost City Angels that opend for Social D last year at Toads Place were worse.

It's hard to imagine any band being worse than the ones that show up to Wolf Pack games...

8/3/07, 1:56 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Probably, but I'm talking about bands that I went out to a club or a bar to see.

8/3/07, 5:23 PM

Blogger gsdgsd13 said...

Wow, the Heart Attacks are from Atlanta and I haven't even heard of 'em. I dunno if that says more about them or me.

8/4/07, 1:46 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

"Wow, the Heart Attacks are from Atlanta and I haven't even heard of 'em."

Not surprisingly, since I'm sure they're one of those bands that popped up out of nowhere one day, looking to join the Warped Tour based on their "look", while having absolutely no ties to any local scene anywhere.

They're a bunch of 20-year-olds noobs, thinking they're giving the rest of us a history lesson with their shitty CCR and Dead Boys covers. The world is an upside-down place sometimes.

8/4/07, 3:17 PM

Anonymous Caporino - M.O.T.O. said...

But ya gotta admit that the Heart Attacks do have their look down. I wish I looked as good onstage.

10/2/07, 7:03 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Well, why not just wheel out Justin Timberlake on stage and be done with it.

10/3/07, 11:00 AM


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