Music » Critics' Picks

Social Distortion

7 p.m. Saturday, May 5. Pop's (1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois).

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When Social Distortion head greaseball Mike Ness first transformed from an eyelinered Orange County punk into a coiffed-up Johnny Cash disciple (on the 1988 album Prison Bound), the stance might have seemed a little contrived. But umpteen years and quadruple-umpteen tattoos later, his grizzled hard-luck persona is every bit as genuine as any hollow-bodied hellraiser of yore. Yeah, Social Distortion has only released one album in the past decade (2004's Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll), and it's a miracle that Ness can even pick up a guitar after the mess of heroin jags and bareknuckle brawls he's lived through — not to mention the deaths of four band members since 1993. Hell, lesser men would be broken by the pain of those tattoos alone.

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