Chris Loomis

Sounds From Behind the Orange Curtain @ Fivepoint Amphitheater – 10/26/2019

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40 years is a long time and 40 years is even more impressive if you are a successful band that has been together for that long. On Saturday October 26, one of the biggest most influential bands from Orange County celebrated their 40th Anniversary . . . Mike Ness and Social Distortion chose Fivepoint Amphitheater in Irvine to celebrate this milestone with many of their friends and favorite bands. Billed as “Sounds From Behind the Orange Curtain”, Ness called on Eagles of Death Metal, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, The Kills, The Distillers, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts as well as The Black Lips, Plague Vendor, Bully and Mannequin Pussy to participate in the festivities.

On a hot SoCal fall day the music began at 1:00pm kicked off by Mannequin Pussy on a small stage setup in the common area of the venue that also had Bully, Plague Vendor and The Black Lips play to a small crowd for a couple hours. The highlight of this early part of the day was certainly Plague Vendor with vocalist Brandon Blaine’s high energy performance and crowd surfing. Also in the venue common area were cars on display, vendor booths and yard games – something for everyone.

Eagles of Death Metal

Eagles of Death Metal kicked off the music on the main stage at 4:30pm in the bright afternoon sun for 30 minutes of their upbeat flavor of Rock n Roll. Led by vocalist/guitarist Jesse Hughes, the band had the crowd up singing and clapping the entire time. Hughes is as flamboyant of a frontman as they come interacting with the crowd as he struts around the stage. Founding member Josh Homme made a rare appearance behind the drums with the band and it made sense for him to be there as his wife Brody Dalle was performing later in the day with The Distillers – why not make it a family affair. Also bass player Jennie Vee is quite the entertainer as she thumps the bass often interacting with the other members of the band. A GREAT way to kick off the late afternoon.

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls

An English Punk band, Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls know how to put on a high energy performance. These guys make you feel like you are in an English pub and their music makes you want to guzzle a few pints.

The Kills

The Kills are such a fun band – their music is so catchy yet aggressive. The band celebrated the 10th anniversary of their Midnight Boom album by playing it in it’s entirety which was certainly a treat on this night in Irvine.

The Distillers

The Distillers are back in action after re-uniting in 2018 after over a decade on hiatus. Vocalist/guitarist Brody Dalle remains in fine form definitely taking a page from Joan Jett’s book on attitude and delivery. Dalle even gave a shout out to Jett calling her the queen of rock. Highlights included the recently released song “Man vs. Magnet” as well as the ole classic “Drain the Blood”. The Distillers are definitely back . . .

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Joan Jett is a legend in her own right and was the perfect band to play directly before Social Distortion. Having forged her own path in music history, Jett has always done it her way. The band played the Runaways hit “Cherry Bomb” and the mega hit “Light of Day” early on. Jett and The Blackhearts are tight live and Jett still has that angsty punk attitude that fuels her music. Of course the night couldn’t end with out the classic “I Love Rock n Roll”. The perfect Segway into Social Distortion taking the stage.

Social Distortion

Since Mike Ness began his dream back in Fullerton in 1979 he has experienced triumph and tragedy but he overcame all obstacles he and Social Distortion have faced and in 2019 some 40 years after it all began are at the top of the totem pole in the music world. Social Distortion took the stage to loud cheers as Ness took in the Orange County crowd and the band kicked off the night with “Don’t Drag Me Down” and “Bad Luck”. Ness took time to individually thank all the bands that participated in the celebration on this day as well as giving some commentary in between songs on various topics. He took the time to describe how the song “1945” came to back in high school as well as thanking the fans for their longtime support.

Ness announced that a new Social Distortion album will be released in 2020 and the band played two new songs from that upcoming release – “Over You” and “Born to Kill” – both songs sounding like classic Social D and with that said the album is sure to be a hit.

During the encore, Joan Jett joined Ness and company onstage for “Sometimes I Do” and his oldest son Julian took over the guitar duties then the night ended with two of the bands biggest hits – “Ring of Fire” and “Story of My Life”. Another epic performance from the Orange County natives and a fabulous day of celebrating 40 years of Social Distortion.

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