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"