Social Distortion: Show Preview

Granted, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes might be an awful title for an album, Social Distortion may have grown decently up into pack of tame daddies, and the whole cuffed-jean punk era is probably completely over. But damn if Mike Ness and his boys didn't just put out another solid set of fist-raising rebel-rock, full of power-chord stompage, unabashedly enthusiastic guitar soloing, and love-hate lyrics about the myriad corruptions of Southern California life. There's no giant leap forward, no attempt at revolution here — just a bunch of the melodic punk tunes laced with the sort of bittersweet hooks you'd expect. This is how punk bands grow up: The good original members die early (Social D lost longtime guitarist Dennis Danell in 2000), the leader (Ness) kicks his habit, and the instrumentalists become a rotating crew of whoevers. At middle age, this band writes lyrics from a broader perspective, makes higher-quality recordings, and coins worse album titles. Thankfully, Ness and Co. still bring it live.

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