I attended the Social Distortion concert at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC yesterday–combined a trip to see my folks with a trip to see the mirror image of my folks, Mike Ness (though he is a dad–as I’ll discuss more below). The thing that struck me while waiting between the openers (Frank Turner) and Social D was that I was the only person in sight without a tattoo (though I did see one girl later without one–what was her problem, anyways?)
The winner of the evening was this nightmare Goth bitch whom I stood next to for most of the show. Don’t look at me! I’m just reading the labels! Really!
Specifically: She had “Nightmare” tattooed across the back of the neck. (I didn’t know there was a Nightmare Diocese.) She had “Goth!” tattooed on the fingers and thumb of her right hand, and “Bitch” on the fingers and thumb of the left (conveniently positioned facing outwards for easy reading!)
But there’s more! She was wearing just a chemise, and her shoulders (and visible) front were fully tattooed. Pictures. No words. Except for the “Nightmare” thing.
I’m not done! She also had non-tattoo body decorations. She looked like she had taken a bite out of my grandmother’s pin cushion, but hadn’t spit out 8 or so of the pins. And I wouldn’t say that her ears were pierced. I would say they’d been excavated. She had huge holes in her lobes, which had been stretched to reach nearly to her shoulders. I hadn’t seen the like since reading National Geographic when I was 10.
I can’t imagine that there was anybody there more elaborately and deliberately defaced than she. I’m not saying that there wasn’t, just that I couldn’t possibly imagine it.
The show, you ask? But I was talking about the show. Oh, the music, you mean.
Damned good. They’d cancelled the two previous shows because, as Ness said at the show, he was “sick as a f*cking dog.” But he was sick in the good way on Monday. High energy. Tight and loud. He was fantastic on the guitar. They played about 1:50, with only 5 minute break. My favorites: “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “Bakersfield.” Only disappointment: didn’t play “Far Behind.” One tune from their upcoming CD, which sounded really good.
It was a younger crowd than at the last Social D show I saw in beautiful Sauget, IL, at Pops nestled conveniently between the Hustler and Penthouse Clubs. And with youth, came energy. I was closer to the stage (about 4 bodies back), so it was more crazed than even the Murphys back in March. Constant body slamming, though I was on the receiving end I wasn’t deliberately initiating. Often hit, never knocked down, though I did knock down one knucklehead that was getting a little carried away. After he hit me full speed about the fifth time I gave him a two hander which sent him and about 3 other people in the pit sprawling. Whoops. A member of the security “Krewe” (that’s what the shirts said) wasn’t too pleased. He came up and shook his finger in my face, and shouted something. Yeah, like I could hear you, man. No problems after that.
Except for the beer shower. Some girl accidentally doused me with beer, right on the top of my head. I looked back and she was so apologetic. She started wiping off the dripping beer with the sleeves of her shirt, and then said: “Let me give you a hug to apologize.” So she did.
The funniest part of the show (for me, anyways) was right at the very end. Right before the finale number, “Ring of Fire,” Ness delivered a little patter, saying “this next one’s a love song, so guys lean over and say something loving to your girlfriend, I can’t tell you what to say, but if you say the right thing maybe she’ll drive you home and run all the red lights and you’ll get lucky, but if you don’t she’ll just throw you a bottle of Jergins” (though he pronounced it “jerkins”). While he was giving this little monologue, some kid, a guy, leans over to me and says: “This dude is like 50 years old.” I could only look at him, smile and chuckle. (Ness isn’t 50, BTW. Only 48. Although I think he’s turned over the odometer several times more than I have.)
This was Social D’s first time in Asheville. I was wondering why they’d play there, and about half way through the show I found out. Ness’s son came out to play guitar on one number. Ness said his son, 18, lives in Asheville. I would surmise he goes to Warren Wilson College. Let’s just say they’d never ask me to teach there. Ha. He played very well.
All in all, a blast. I should also say I really liked the leadoff band, Frank Turner. It was like Deliverance meets Hell’s Angels meets the Muscle Shoals Horns. You know a band is good when you’ve never heard them and you can immediately get into the rhythm and beat of every song. Definitely buying their CD.
I’m psyched and ready to do it again. Houston, November 19. House of Blues. A little too upscale for a band like Social D, but it’ll do.
Only damper on the evening occurred during the drive back to my folk’s house around midnight. I came upon a motorcyclist who had wiped out, and was lying sprawled in the middle of the road. I was the first person there, and thought he was dead at first because he wasn’t moving. I jumped out of the car, and when I reached him I saw that he was breathing, though unconscious. Somebody else came up and called 911, but it was 5 minutes until the cops and EMT arrived. During that time the guy regained consciousness and started thrashing around, so I tried to keep him calm and hold him down. I was worried about him hitting his head again, so I put my hand on the back of his head, only to feel a goose egg literally the size of a real goose egg. He hadn’t been wearing an helmet, and a good portion of his scalp was also ripped open but still attached, so I got pretty bloody. He was talking by the time the EMTs arrived, and his eyes looked fairly clear, so I think he’ll be OK.