I was really looking forward to this show last night at the Roseland Ballroom. I have never seen Social Distortion before and I am a big Lucero fan so there was high level of anticipation going in. My son's favorite band is Lucero (go figure a 16 year old kid on LI loves Lucero) and he also really likes Frank Turner. These past couple of years have been great going to shows with him, the excitement level is definitely up when he goes.
First up was Frank Turner who hails from Winchester in the UK. I liked the two albums I had heard (Love Ire & Song and Poetry of the Deed) but I have to say that live he was even better. Loads of energy, great songs and a band that really kicks. A short but great set where you can hear his influences from Billy Bragg to the Clash. Frank Turner wants to rock, we should. The crowd up front was really into it and more people began to congregate as the set went on.
Lucero was up next. I love this band, but was disappointed when I saw them earlier this year. I think the whiskey sometimes gets in way. Last night was a shorter set (about 45') but let me tell you Lucero was really, really good last night. We got a couple of horns to augment and they tore through the set with a fire that was missing at Williamsburg. Kiss the Bottle, Sixes and Sevens, Bikeriders and about 7 others made for a short but very tight set. You had to see the look on my kids face...priceless.
Social Distortion are truly legendary in the punk world. In fact they are one of the few bands (Rancid is another) that really carries the torch from the old days. Hell, they are pretty much the old guard now. Mike Ness and crew sounded great. I mean fucking huge. That might be the problem for me. They were so tight that it felt a bit...off. And a bit dull. I am probably in the minority, and it didn't suck by any means, but it only left me a bit bored. Ball and Chain was great, Mommies Little Monster, some of the new songs were really good. Everything was good, just not great. Bands like this need a shorter set as the genre lends itself to repetitiveness which can wear on you a bit. At least it does me. Lucero at 45' was tight and focused. Lucero at 2 hours was sloppy. Here it was a case of too tight and too slick. An hour set full of rage works better than a longer set. At least for me. Don't get me wrong, it was far from bad, just not as good as I'd hoped.