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Social Distortion at the Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg

Social Distortion Winnipeg

Mike Ness with Social Distortion at Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg, July 29 2009. Mike Latschislaw photo.

Review – Social Distortion at Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg, July 29 2009

– review by eugene osudar/photo by Mike Latschislaw

i saw Mike Ness at
Mondragon Restaurant
paying for his vegetarian dinner
just before his Wednesday night
show at the Burton Cummings Theatre

i just smiled

what do you say
to a man
who’s music and passion
moves you

except an unspoken
thank you
through a smile

that’s one way to approach
a musician
the friendly non-approach

i was born in ’63
he in ’62

30 years
Social Dee
doing it
on stage
inspiring it
perspiring it
spitting it
the pit

don’t get too close,

lest you want to
feel his rain
of misty spit pour
over your green hair
your mohawk hair
your bleached hair
falling into the audience
punk rock soul shower

he inspires The Strangers
he inspires Civet
he inspires The Briggs

it’s all about saying thank you
to Mike Ness
and Social Distortion
in a friendly way

another way to approach
a musician
is to actually come up
to him or her
and introduce yourself
hi, my name is, eugene
and say,
thank you
i love your music
you rock
even, you’re my hero

the set list,

Another State Of Mind
Mommy’s Little Monster
Sick Boy
Don’t Drag Me Down
Ring Of Fire
Bad Luck
Highway 101
Reach For The Sky
Can’t Take It With You
Ball and Chain
Nickels and Dimes
Sometimes I Do
Alone and Forsaken
Prison Bound
Still Alive
Story of My Life

85 minutes

all in black
suit pants
black shoes
sharp dressed
man in the dark
fedora and black

and out of that Look Sharp
in that so hot second song

and i’m dancing
in the front of it
the sweat of it
i’m right in front of Jonny
Wickersham on stoic guitar

(how does he handle
the heat in that leather jacket?)

Atom Willard on drums
that dude let’s his sticks
hammer and pound
like a maestro man
he’s a showman
an eye-catching
beats man

Brent Harding on bass
another stoic punk

stoicism has a certain
posing poeticism
the statuesque
always finer when
there’s a moving lead
like Mike Ness
and a drummer with
smashing style
and the rest of the band
with crazy courage
to be the dreamer
before the bedroom
mirror, rocking it

but sometimes
a lead and a drummer
is enough to satisfy


s blazing hot songs
and i’m dancing

that Is the finest
cover version of
Johnny Cash’s
Ring of Fire
i’ve ever heard and you know
the punks and bluegrass(ers)
Love covering it

so i’ve heard it done
a few hundred times
mostly at Times
Changed High and
Lonesome Club

and i just finish
writing how Bad Luck
is the hottest song
so far, so i’m digging
the Social Dee
Mike Ness in his
late punk 40s
giving it
all he has
spitting it
all over the audience
we’re wet
in the orchestra pit
soaked in sweat
soaked in his showering

and then it happens
corner of my eye
some guy
big and young
jumps from the loge
to the PA beside me
i see him dash
onto the stage
he looks at Jonny

then he eyes
Mike Ness
who’s talking
about the next song

You Can’t Take It With You
(there’s some irony here)

and i’m thinking,
either going to stage dive
when the song happens
or, wait he’s coming
up behind Mike
and i’m thinking a friendly
arm around Mike

but then, it’s two arms
like wings
but descending like clubs
with fury
he grabs Mike
from behind in a bear hug

very, hard.

and there’s no security
in movement
to help Mike Ness
he’s 47
i’m just about to be 46.

i don;t need something like that
and certainly Mike Ness
doesn’t either.

so, the guitar tech blasts in
and takes that young F#ck
down So Hard
very hard and applies
the choke/headlock
restrain move

no security yet.

and there’s a struggle
on the stage
another tech
comes in

it’s a fight now
on the stage

two more techs
and the four struggle
with the stoned ass

techs and roadies don’t
have the knowledge of how to
take care of a stoned ass

where is security?

so, that’s it
Mike’s off now.
that was a hard
bear hug
the freak put on him,
it wasn’t a choke
as reported elsewhere
it was high on Mike’s person

but it was Hard.


the spell’s broken.

Ball and Chain
recovers it
Bakersfield’s a song
that should be axed

it takes the encore
to restore
the energy
the passion without
fear of assault

and the choice and brilliant
of a Hank Williams
song Alone and Forsaken
(is this ironic?)
to make me dance again
to bring it back again

and then it’s beautiful again,
Still Alive is a new, Wonderful
punk anthem
and man, i swear
m getting chills
Mike Ness
these song titles
after what happened
with the fanatic freak

and the very last song
Story of My Life
sends us away
more than satisfied

so, there are ways
to approach
the musicians
you admire,

please, just
don’t attack

respect your elders
Punk elders.

Social Distortion
Burton Cummings Theater
Wednesday July 29

About Eugene Osudar

“born, august 16, 1963. i’m 45, and yes, i’m getting too old for this. bring out the rocking chair. my first concert, november 1978, elvis costello and the attractions. i was 15. their blisteringly brilliant 65 minute set only served somebody to affirm my new direction in the musical parallel universes, new wave punk alternative, oh sanctity oh celebration (!Freedom!) college radio! i’m old, i’m used up and i’m free. i see 50something Full sets of music every month and dance most of them. and when i dance, i mean to say, I Dance and Celebrate, 2/3/4 hours a night. The Gaslight Anthem. The Boss. The Weber Brothers. The Wind Ups. i’ll dance with Los Campesinos. i’ll move to The Long Winters. The Replacements. Husker Du. The Pogues. oh elvis costello, oh Clash! i could go/go/go Gogol Bordello forever. L(eonard) Cohen. come, Dance With Me (Old 97s) wherever you may be, sincerely, eugene
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