Mike Ness @ Irving Plaza, NYC

Live Reviews | May 17th, 2008

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Opening Bands: Jesse Dayton
Date: May 15th, 2008
Band Links: link

I had the chance to check out Mike Ness perform his solo material at The Fillmore (Irving Plaza) last Thursday night in New York City. The frontman from Social Distortion has released 2 solo albums so far and always does a great job performing live. I wasn’t always a fan of Social D and Mike Ness’ twangy rockabilly honky tonk rock but I’ve become more open minded with my taste in music in my later years. I only saw Social D once before and that was at the Warped Tour in Asbury Park in 1997. Mike decided to take a spring tour with Jesse Dayton and I’m glad to have seen the show!

The night started off with getting stuck in traffic at George Washington Bridge (notice a pattern with my reviews?) and we arrived in the city with having to pee very badly. My girlfriend and I went to our pizza place that’s located near the venue. Apparently that’s where everyone goes when there’s a show at Irving Plaza. When I got to the door of the venue, I was told there weren’t any photo passes for the evening. Thankfully, I had printed out the email that said, yeah I did have a pass. I was under the list with a ticket but nothing else apparently. So my girlfriend had to pay for her ticket which sucked, but the photo pass issue got cleared up in the end. That’s twice the Irving Plaza manager has come through for me in the last month.

When I got inside, there was no one really inside. Thankfully, there was a photo/security pit up so I could shoot the show comfortably. I hate when there isn’t a pit at the venue. It was great because I was the only photographer there that night. I’m assuming all the photographers were at the sold out Tuesday night show. Slowly but surely the crowd showed up, especially towards the end of the set of opener Jesse Dayton. Jesse Dayton is from Austin Texas and played a great set of country rowdy rock with a side of rockabilly. I really liked his music and thought he was pretty funny in between songs as well. He was making a joke about country line dancing and said it was okay to do it. But he trained guys to sit on top of the balcony and pick people off with sniper rifles if they did it. He certainly got the crowd into it and made them ready to see Mike Ness perform.

Mike Ness came out and opened with “Devil in Miss Jones.” I was shooting in the pit for the first three songs, trying to get some cool shots with my brand new camera (Nikon D300). It was so nice to shoot the show and not have to worry about other photographers getting into my shots. Mike played one of my favorite songs that he covers, and that’s Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice.” The crowd was loving the music and so was I. Mike said he was clearly warming up, and the band seemed to get better and better as they played their set of covers, original material and Social D songs.

I think by far the best song of the evening was “Ballad of the Lonely Man,” which is my favorite song that Ness plays. He had a nice introduction about the song, and told the crowd that Johnny Cash was suppose to play on the song, but his health was getting worse and worse. Mike was also quite funny in between songs as well, poking fun at men who don’t want to get married and want to sit and whack off to Internet porn their whole life. He also told a funny joke involving a kid finding his parents having sex, it certainly got a huge laugh (including me). I was really impress with the band musically, especially Chris Lawrence who played the pedal steel guitar. I just love that instrument, especially in rockabilly, honky tonk country rock. It makes it sound like old country western stuff instead of that modern day crap. To end the set, he played the classic Social D song, “Story Of My Life” which sounded awesome! After “Ballad of A Lonely Man,” that was my favorite song of the evening. Mike Ness and his band came back to play “Charmed Life,” “If you Leave Before Me,” “Ring of Fire.” “Ring of Fire” sounded great and not sure he played that on Tuesday? I left after that song but I think he played one more song and that was “I Fought The Law.” Overall, the show was great and glad I went.


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