Social Distortion and Flogging Molly Make The Perfect Pair For Packed Show at Armory

September 8, 2019 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Social Distortion live in concert at the The Armory. Co-headlining with Flogging Molly along with The Devil Makes Three and Le Butcherettes as the openers. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

If you’ve ever been with me for an extended amount of time when playing music is an option, you’ve probably been left with a few questions. How am I able to go from the darkest of death metal to the most bubblegum K-pop I can find? How I do find it okay to go from a typical country song to Skrillex’s latest banger with a stop at a Wu-Tang Clan song in-between? Honestly, I can’t explain it but I absolutely love it and the odd face the playlist of my life seems to get. Last night that playlist was played out on stage. Sure, there was no Norwegian death metal and no neo-soul but there was punk, rock, country and a whole lot of other influences all thrown into last night’s line-up. The one thing all of these seemingly unrelated bands had in common was the fact that they are each a major influence in their respective scenes making last night one hell of a show.

Last night was my third time seeing Le Butcherettes this year and that’s far from a complaint. They kicked off the Sunday night show with the same sense of power and ferocity that made me fall head over heels for them the first time I saw them (which happens to be the reason I keep going back for more). There’s just something so intensely terrifying yet strong and personal about the way vocalist Teri Gender Bender performs. Last night was definitely the biggest stage I have seen them on thus far but I loved the way that nothing changed as far as their performance went. Teri was just as wild and passionate as always and the sound of the rest of the band had a very polished yet very grungy vibe to it. I feel bad for anyone who should up to the show late and missed this truly amazing band.

After the mix of chaos and passion that is Le Butcherettes was the more cool, calm , and collected The Devil Makes Three. You could hear the confusion throughout the audience as this Americana/ alt-country act jumped into their set but while people turned to their friends to explain their confusion, I stood there with a giant cheesy smile on my face as I left The Devil Makes Three whisk me off to a whole other world. From the upright bass to the brilliantly played banjo, there is a lot about this band that is traditional but so much more that strays from the norm. There’s a gritty and punk vibe to the music and feel of this band that I just can not get enough of. It’s that vibe and feeling that, although the odd band out of the already bi-polar line-up, kept these guys feeling like the perfect addition to the night. The whispers and shock didn’t take long to disappear from the audience and soon that rumble of conversation was turned into the sound of foot stomping and hoe-downing. I knew before they took the stage that The Devil Makes Three was going to kill it but it was nice to see the rest of the audience acknowledge this band’s brilliance.

The first of the co-headliners to take the stage was the one and only Flogging Molly. What even needs to be said about this band that I haven’t said before. The sense of energy they bring to a venue before they even kick into a song is impressive to say the least and the way their music comes in waves from slow to fast, loud to soft… I mean, they are truly one of those “perfect bands”. From the way lead vocalist Dave King pranced around the stage while calling out the fact that his shirt was two sizes too small, to the way he took the time to introduce each of his amazing bandmates, there was something painfully genuine about the hour Flogging Molly spent on stage.

Although I have seen Flogging Molly almost more times than I can count, I heard them perform some songs last night that I had never heard them play perform. There was something special about the b-side drenched performance that I just couldn’t put my finger on until Dave said it. He explained that this is their final tour for the year. To hear that from a band that seems to always be on the road with so many months left this year was a bit of shock but what was more shocking was to hear Dave admit that they don’t know when they will be back. I couldn’t help but think that last night’s show may very well be the last time I’ll see this legendary band for the near future but I’m okay with that. Their performance last night was flawless and, as they closed out with “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” I couldn’t help but just be thankful for all of the times I’ve been able to catch this band.

The anticipation felt as the audience waited for Flogging Molly to take the stage was repeated as the stage was changed over for Social Distortion to close out the night. Much like Flogging Molly, what can I even say about Social Distortion that hasn’t been said before. Although I haven’t seen these guys as much as I have seen Flogging Molly, there was still something very familiar about Social Distortion’s show that brought a sense of comfort and content over me. To say that Social D is a legendary group would be an understatement. Last night was part of a tour celebrating forty years as a band and that says more about their accomplishments and legend than my words could ever do. Although this band started all the way back in 1978, not much has changed. They had stayed true to their bluesy, gritty punk music that was the soundtrack for multiple generations.

Much like Flogging Molly, Social D’s set seemed to revolve around B-sides with a couple of the hit thrown in throughout the hour long set. No frills or fanciness, Social D did what has kept them relevant as a band since day one– just got up on stage and played their music with a sense of heart and passion that is enough to leave you speechless. Vocalist Mike Ness may be damn near sixty years old (and yes, he is part of the silver fox club if you ask me) but that didn’t stop him from captivating the audience with a sense of ease. The whole performance was captivating and although the banter between band members and audience seemed to be lacking, there was something very down to earth about the set.

My daily playlist is bi-polar. When I started writing this post I was listening to H09909 and just now one of my favorite King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard songs came on. Last night’s show matched my daily playlist in the most perfect way making Snday night one hell of a way to start what is sure to be an insane week.