One of the longest-running and most popular punk rock bands of all time, Social Distortion, returned to the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on Tuesday, Aug. 8, playing songs that spanned over three decades while still performing with youthful energy.
Fellow Californian Jade Jackson and her band opened the show, fulfilling a longtime dream of the up-and-coming singer/songwriter, who was inspired to become a musician after seeing Social D live as a kid.
“When I watched [vocalist/guitarist] Mike Ness walk onstage and felt the energy from the crowd, it ignited something in me,” Jackson said on her website. “I wanted to be on that stage too. I never knew I wanted to perform until that day. That shifted all the gears in my life.”
Following a recorded intro of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” Social Distortion entered the stage with “Still Alive” from their latest album, 2011’s “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes,” and touched on songs from most of their records, throwing in “Hope Dies Hard” and “Misery Loves Company” from Jonny “2 Bags” Wickersham and Ness’ solo albums, respectively. They also played a new song, “Scars,” that is slated for their anticipated next album and is particularly meaningful for Ness and how the band formed.
“The tagline is ‘from scars came beauty,’ because good things can come from bad things,” Ness told The Daily Times in a recent interview.
“They always do. Strength can come from pain. It’s kind of a slower one, like taking ‘Ball and Chain’ [off the band’s 1990 self-titled album] and going deeper. Had I not had the childhood I had, had I not had to fight to find a voice, there might not have been a Social Distortion. I might have been a musician still, and I might have done well, but that struggle and that stress and that pain gave me a voice.”
They ended with sing-along set staples “Story of My Life” and their famous cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” giving longtime fans exactly what they wanted as the night drew to a close.
Social Distortion setlist, Aug. 8, 2017, Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg:
99 to Life
Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown
California (Hustle and Flow)
King of Fools
Ball and Chain
Another State of Mind
Hope Dies Hard
When She Begins
Misery Loves Company
Story of My Life
Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash cover)
by Alex Seeley
Alex is a Lake Ariel resident whose photos can be seen in several local newspapers, websites, and art galleries. He runs Alex Seeley Photography and shoots everything from portraits to weddings to concerts.