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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Bad Religion / Social Distortion @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 19/02/2023

Punk. Punk Rock. A legendary device representing individuality and freedom, smiting inbreeds of hate and prejudice. What better way to celebrate punk rock than attending what was an unforgettable co-headline show delivered none other by the legendary Bad Religion and Social Distortion.

The mosh pits never wavered from the moment the quintessential logo of Bad Religion was raised to the final note of 21st Century Digital Boy, as a band who’s years couldn’t keep up with them blew the roof off an enclosed but packed arena. Opening surprisingly with none other than American Jesus, Greg Graffin and his posse of fellow LA misfits showed us demonstrated no intention of fooling around short of putting on an unforgettable show, to the extend where you would forget that this staple of punk rock have been delivering unforgettable shows for 43 years.

There was almost not time to relax between hit after hit of pure energy that could be felt throughout the entire crowd, with all of us belting the lyrics of You, Los Angeles is Burning, and the iconic Generator in which my voice could not last through the opening lyrics that deserve to be screamed, or not sung at all. The banter with the crowd was a fun experience, especially with Greg’s clever quips leading involving song titles which included boldly stating that both the bassist and the crowd had “No Control” over the night’s setlist. Even during a second viewing of this iconic group, my breath never failed to be ripped away by such a force, as I have never quite seen such finesse and precision amongst tunes so electric and fast in tempo. 

Social Distortion closely followed the first half of this incredible act, however they were certainly not least in their performance. Right after a pleasantly welcoming introduction with Muddy Water’s Mannish Boy howling through the speakers, Mike Ness made his godly presence known, rocking a beret, hunched over his Les Paul, and his wildly engaging eccentricity and poses. Bad Luck as one of the opening tracks set up the vibe of Social Distortions heavily electric set influenced by many punk greats such as The Clash, Ramones, and Iggy and the Stooges, as stated by Ness himself. 

Suddenly, my ears caught attention to the familiar introductory guitar lick of Wicked Game by Chris Isaak, and relished in such an impressive cover of a legendary recognisable track mixed with a more heavier recital known to Distortion, which was in itself a set up for an incredible second half of their set built on the foundations of such powerful and touching stories and political messages, with Ball and Chain delivering a melancholic tale of heartbreak and addiction, and the clear hatred towards racism through Don’t Drag Me Down, and with this tune alone, Mike’s words leading into the track couldn’t ring truer even in today’s society:

White. White…..is not superior. It never has been, and never will be

The encore in itself was a highlight, opening with Born to Kill followed closely by Story of my Life, a touchingly nostalgic story about the old days, when times were simpler, when high school was a bore and when you always wished to court that one individual a few desks away from you, concluding with the hope of similar happiness and pursuit of success in the future of your life. The show concluded with a cover of Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash, featured famously on Social Distortion’s self-titled 1990 album that, with of course an explosive link twist, still captured the essence of Cash’s legend that seeped through Mike’s vocals.

The unforgettably powerful aspect of this tour is not just a nostalgic trip back to Bad Religion’s early days touring with Social Distortion, but also the fact that both frontmen, Greg Graffin and Mike Ness, share such iconic individual vocals that never alter in any way throughout the years, whether they’re listened through records, or heard live. Such a gig will surely not be forgotten anytime soon, and seeing these two legendary bands once more would be, if I can put this explicitly, an absolute fucking delight.

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Social Distortion & Bad Religion Announce Australia & New Zealand Co-Headline Tour.

Punk rockers of Australia and New Zealand unite! For the first time in history two of the most influential and enduring punk bands of all time are heading down under together. Fans never thought they would see the day so get ready to tick this off your bucket list as LA heavyweights Social Distortion and Bad Religion team up and hit our shores in February 2023.
The tour will kick off at Trusts Arena in Auckland before it makes it way over to Brisbane’s Riverstage, Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion, Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne’s and closing out their Aussie run at Red Hill Auditorium in Perth.

Traversing multiple and significant line-up changes, internal challenges and tragedies, and the demise of the very Los Angeles hardcore scene that conjured them for over four decades, California mainstays Social Distortion have spent a lifetime honing their uncompromising rootsy, hard-hitting brand of punk since first emerging back in the late 70s.
Following the release of the group’s debut 1983 album Mommy’s Little Monster, Social Distortion‘s transformation from pioneers in the then-fertile L.A hardcore scene into a distinctive sonic force to be reckoned with saw the group become one of the few punk bands to be featured on MTV in its 80s glory days and, over time, branching out to cement their now-trademark blend of punk, blues, country and rockabilly. Currently in possession of seven studio albums, with whispers of an eighth full length release on the horizon, Social Distortion‘s live prowess is overshadowed only by the passion and innovation relentlessly on display onstage, fearlessly helmed by the band’s founder, guitarist and vocalist Mike Ness. This is Social Distortion’s first Australian headline tour ever and their second time coming to Australia in over 40 years so it’s fair to say we may not see them ever again!

Bad Religion have become synonymous with retaining their underground credibility alongside building a staggering punk empire since forming back in the early 80s. Constantly on a journey of evolution and philosophical exploration, Bad Religion‘s storied career, including 17 studio albums and the label as one of the best-selling punk rock bands of all time, has seen the group remain relevant and vital in the hardcore community while welding their trademark sonic foundations with inflections of psychedelia, heavy metal, hard rock and lashings of melody along the way.
With front man and remaining original member Greg Graffin‘s steadfast guidance, Bad Religion have defied the odds and expectations of an ever-changing industry around them, touring the globe armed with an overwhelming back catalogue of material, including fan favourite tracks like American Jesus and 21st Century (Digital Boy). Don’t miss out on seeing Bad Religion next February, their first Australian headline tour in over a decade!
Returning to Australia in 2023 since last appearing down under for Good Things Festival back in 2019, don’t miss some Bad Religion goodness next February.

2023 will undeniably declare punk’s not dead – be sure to catch Social Distortion and Bad Religion live in action when they bring their explosive live shows to a town near you.

Early Bird pre-sale tickets on Sale: Friday 26 August @ 9am local time

To Gain Early Ticket Access Register Here -> https://bit.ly/BR-SD-AUNZ-

General tickets on sale Tuesday 30 August @ 9am local time
Tickets from destroyalllines.com.au

General tickets on sale Tuesday 30 August @ 9am local time
Tickets from destroyalllines.com.au 



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THE LUMINEERS Announce Australia & New Zealand Dates For Their BRIGHTSIDE World Tour 2022

They’ve soundtracked countless lives with their inimitable sound, sold millions of albums, and have sold out shows the world over. Now, three years since their last visit to our shores for Splendour In The Grass and five years since their last national tour, American folk-rock outfit The Lumineers will make their triumphant return to Australia this November and play their first ever headline show in New Zealand, with dates in Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne – proudly presented by Handsome Tours and Bluesfest Touring.
Kicking off at Auckland’s Powerstation on November 11, The Lumineers will then hit Australia to play Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall on November 13, before heading to Sydney’s Aware Super Theatre on November 15, and wrapping things up at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on November 18. 
Tickets go on sale at 9am local time on Friday 5 August from http://handsometours.com/tours/the-lumineers-4/, with an artist presale live from Thursday 4 August at 9am local time, and a Handsome Tours presale live from Thursday August 4 at 2pm local time.
We can’t wait to finally return after three long years to Australia and are excited for our first headline show in New Zealand ever for us.  We’ll see you out there!” – Wesley Schultz.

After forming as a duo comprising vocalist/guitarist Wesley Schultz and percussionist/pianist Jeremiah Fraites in 2005, The Lumineers first found their way onto the global music scene in 2012, with their Platinum-selling self-titled debut album boasting the massive Ho Hey, which would top charts around the world, and eventually be certified 5x Platinum in Australia. The group would follow up their debut in 2016 with Cleopatra, which would not only reach #2 in the ARIA Singles Charts, but also amass more than 116 million streams globally. Releasing their third record, the aptly-titled III in 2019, The Lumineers briefly returned to Australia for a pair of performances in NSW: an intimate show at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre and a high-profile appearance on the 2019 Splendour In The Grass line-up. 
Having been performing on some of the world’s greatest stages for the last decade, The Lumineers returned in early 2022 with their fourth full-length album, Brightside, which would top the charts in their native US. Amassing over 5.5 billion global streams for their celebrated discography and selling over 5 million albums, the duo are now set to bring their eclectic and acclaimed folk rock sounds back to Australian shores once again.
Tickets go on sale to the general public at 9am local time Friday 5 August, for tickets and further information, head tohttp://handsometours.com/tours/the-lumineers-4/

Presented In Partnership With Handsome Tours And Bluesfest




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