Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Social Distortion @ Bataclan, Paris - April 29, 2015

Social Distortion is celebrating twenty-five years of their self-titled record, and the celebration thankfully doesn't stop at hanging a backdrop in the image of that album sleeve behind the drum kit. They played ten songs off of that record, to the delight of every fan in the audience. Add a few tracks from their latest album Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes and a few more from Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell and White Light, White Heat, White Trash and you have a near-perfect setlist for the Orange County punk veterans.

The band is very tight and the sound in the room is very clear, which lets you appreciate what makes SocDis so different and so much better than all other US punk bands from the era: their songs. Influenced by classic rock and country as much as punk, the melodies crafted by Mike Ness are simple, poignant and epic, which is not a word usually associated with that genre.

A great energetic set by a mature band that has somehow lost none of its edge and anger.

Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas @ Bataclan, Paris - April 29, 2015

Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas play a vintage blend of old times rock and roll and swing with a punk edge. A very pleasant opener.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lynyrd Skynyrd @ Palais des Sports, Paris - April 25, 2015

No one is going to argue that Lynyrd Skynyrd is the band that has been dealt one of the worst hands in rock and roll. So I would not begrudge Gary Rossington for taking any version of the band out to reap what they sowed with their first four albums. It doesn't matter that he is the only original member left: the band he has assembled is as legitimate as they come.

Those songs deserved to be played. Rossington, Rick Medlocke and Mark Matejka perfectly recreate the classic three-guitar attack and Johnny Van Zandt is a dead ringer for his late brother Ronnie, both vocally and physically.

The set was short and to the point. All killer, no filler. Workin' For MCA, Simple Man, Gimme Three Steps... Every song played last night is a staple of American classic rock radio. And of course they had to finish with Seet Home Alabama and the epic Freebird, originally written as a tribute to the late Duane Allman but which has now become an psalm for all the tragedies that have plagued the band, as well as an ode to the almighty Electric Guitar.

This is Southern Rock in its purest incarnation. Honest, resilient, and distinctly American.