Social Distortion performed at Arizona Bike Week 2016 in the headline slot on April 8, 2016. This is their second year in a row at AZ Bike Week (last year photos can be found here).
Going on almost 40 years now, Social D’s songs are essentially a biography of pain and suffering with some misery thrown in for good measure. Frontman Mike Ness has been the only constant member of the band since it inception but the current members have been fairly stable over the past several years. They include Jonny Wickersham (rhythm guitar, backing vocals, 2000),Brent Harding (bass, backing vocals, 2004), David Hidalgo, Jr. (drums, 2010), and David Kalish (keyboards, 2013).
Social D can be counted on to be solid – their sound is good, they play together and the songs are enduring. Ness was on top of his game, with a ’70s goldtop Les Paul reflecting the bright stage lights for much of the show. Ness is an expert at owning the moment on stage – often striking a practiced yet sincere feeling pose at just the right moment.
The crowd was tightly packed in front of the stage before the show started and surged forward when Social D took the stage. The surge never appeared to let up throughout the set and the assembled crowd of mostly aging bikes appeared to appreciate both the performance and the sentiment behind the songs.
Review and photos by Greg Cohen
Photos © Greg Cohen 2016