Social Distortion
Jade Jackson
March 11, 2017
Pomona Fox Theater


Social Distortion were back on the road for a Spring 2017 tour. They kicked off the tour by playing the first two nights for the grand opening of the House of Blues, Anaheim in Garden Walk. Obviously those shows sold out within minutes as all Social Distortion shows do, especially in Southern California. I obtained the presale code guaranteeing myself a ticket for the concert. Once the tickets became available to the public the concert sold out within an hour.  One has to be quick to purchase tickets for this band or else you’ll be left in the dark.

Jade Jackson arrived on stage to a full venue to deliver what would be an impressive performance. Hailing from the town of Santa Margarita in California, Jade Jackson started writing songs at the age of 13 and performing by 14. Mike Ness, lead singer of Social Distortion, reached out to the singer after his wife and son saw the upcoming artist perform at a coffee house. He ended up producing her debt album – “Gilded” set for a May 2017 release – while also inviting her to join Social Distortion on their newest tour. Jackson’s blend of country and rock music fit well complimenting Social Distortion’s sound. Jackson throughout the night proved to be an explosive fireball of strong energy. She dressed out ready to rock in a grey spaghetti strap, black pants and boots that completed her outfit. Her husky yet sensual, sentimental voice heightened the emotional turnover her lyrics spoke of. Her divine guitar playing skills ever enough to understand why Ness has been assisting this up and coming singer/songwriter.

She and the band that joined her that evening started off the night with a moving performance of Aden. My favorite performance of hers had to be Bridges. Upon introducing the song Jackson revealed that the song is about a friends of hers who passed away from a drug overdose. Shortly after that performance Mike Ness appeared on stage wearing sweats. As the crowd cheered him on he and Jackson hugged on stage. Of which he mentioned the great time he’s had collaborating with Jackson. He also confessed his fondness and love for the band that night as well. He might not have performed a duet with her, but his endorsement of this group went over well with everyone in the venue. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this skilled musician.

“I’ve sung the blues, For every broken hearted lovesick dream for you.” Social Distortion started their setlist strong starting with So Far Away. From there the hits kept coming one after the other. By the time Ness arrived on stage he had changed out of sweats. He now wore a white clean button up shirt, black pants with suspenders, white polished shoes and lastly a black rockabilly hat. He and the rest of the members of Social Distortion appeared pristine as they rocked out the whole rockabilly attire. Behind the band hung a huge banner which featured a groove of oranges with the band’s name featured on the top middle. The groove of oranges is a reference to their home city of Fullerton – located in Orange County – which is 20 miles away from Pomona. My personal favorites of the band, Bad Luck and Don’t Drag Me Down followed next as the band gave full whole hardheartedly performances for these songs. The band not only played fan favorites that evening but a few new songs off their soon to be released album. When I Lay My Burden Down and Scars had a 50’s rock vibe with thoughtful lyrics which made me look forward to the new album. Before performing Gotta Know The Rules, Ness took time to get political. He expressed his distaste for the current president of the United Stated, Donald Trump, that was greeted with loud applause.

Fan favorites Ball and Chain as well as Sick Boys got the rowdy crowd pumped for more. Hearing these two songs live again reminded me of the first concert I attended for this band. I remembered the excitement I had back then when I just saw them hit the stage. Though it’s been almost two years since then, I still acquired the same sense of enthusiasm of seeing this band live. I cannot express in writing the way this band impresses one live. They are definitely one of the best live rock bands that is still touring around. The crowd that night seemed to agree so as people sang along and created a small mosh pit that raged throughout the night. Mike Ness had killer guitar solos which amplified the songs powerful impact. Johnny “2 Bags” Wickersham played mean guitar chords, this talented guitarist blew my mind. Bass player Brent Harding stood on the left side of the stage, but I couldn’t see him as a tall guy stood in my way (there’s always one at every concert). From what I could hear he definitely performed incredibly. Drummer David Hidalgo Jr. played with great ease on the drums as he kept the beats alive. David Kalish’s keyboard skills were top notched as he played the hell out of that piano. All these members wore completely black which contrasted nicely with Ness’ white shirt; the singer being front and center made the visible contrasts more apparent.

This year may mark the band’s 39th anniversary, however there are no signs of the band to end any time soon. I hope they continue performing for years to come. The band ended the night on a high note with one of the their trademark songs. “Love is a burning thing and it makes a fiery ring.” Ring of Fire concluded the almost two hour concert that had everyone singing the chorus. Reflecting on it I preferred the first concert I saw of Social Distortion simply due to the fact that they played all the songs off their self titled album.  That album ranks among my favorite albums of all times, and plus that was my first experience going to a concert of theirs. I’m not saying though that this was a bad concert, I actually enjoy myself and had lots of fun. I look forward to the third time that I see this band perform live in person. If you’ve been to a Social Distortion concert in the past, what was your experience attending it? Let me know in the comments below!

 Social Distortion Setlist
1. So Far Away
2. Bad Luck
3. Don’t Drag Me Down
4. California (Hustle and Flow)
5. Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown
6. Ball and Chain
7. This Time Darlin’
8. Instrumental Jam
9. Cold Feelings
10. When I Lay My Burden Down
11. Hope Dies Hard
12. Sick Boys
13. Scars
14. Gotta Know the Rules
15. Sometimes I Do
16. Ring of Fire

Jade Jackson Setlist
1. Aden
2. No Guarantees
3. Back When
4. Better Off
5. Bridges
6. Finish Line
7. Troubled End
8. Salt to Sugar
9. Motorcylce
10. Gilded
11. Good Time Gone

Trivial Notes

  • 3rd concert at the Pomona Fox Theater.
  • 2nd time seeing Social Distortion.
  • 1st time seeing Jade Jackson.
  • Jade Jackson’s official Instagram account liked the photo I tagged her in.