Social Distortion took over YDS for NXNE
On the second night of Toronto’s largest music festival, NXNE, the hub of Toronto’s downtown entertainment scene, Yonge-Dundas Square was filled with punk rockers young and old to see Social Distortion.
With over 25 years under their belt, Social Distortion has carved their place into the punk rock hall of fame. Lighting up the Square on a rainy night, that didn’t deter any fans from coming to see one of their favourites, was no challenge for these seasoned veterans.
Lead singer of SD, Mike Ness, was out in full effect and you’d never know it to see him that he’s over the hill at 53-years-old.Their set lasted an hour and the entire time the crowd was rampant at YDS. Singing along to classics on their set list like “Story of my Life” and “Ball and Chain,” the fans really got their money’s worth out of this free show.
The bulk of the band’s synergy was radiating from their drummer, David Hidalgo Jr., who from start to finish beat the skins with endless enthusiasm and emphatic endurance. Surprising to see these guys go so hard after so many years.
Social Distortion stuck to their classic roots with a stage laced with anti-police propaganda and caution signs, which has been something they’ve always been know for during live shows.
They were a great follow up to last year’s NXNE classic punk rock show, with Bad Religion.
So the night brought us over to Lee’s Palace to see a unique band that has certain interesting stage antics and attractions, beyond their music itself.
I’m talking of course, about White Cowbell Oklahoma. See, even their name lends itself to gaining attention, so evidently, we had to go see what they were all about.
They definitely have found new and fun ways to incorporate cowbells into their live performance beyond the simplicity of auxiliary percussion.The racy rock band hails from Toronto itself, and has been making waves in the last ten or so years for their sexual themes, strippers on stage, chainsaws, and everything from pyrotechnics to catholic catapults, just as much as their hit songs “Put the South in your Mouth” and “She’s Got My Love in Her Hands.”
Don’t take them the wrong way, their shock and awe style is only for shits and giggles, and there’s no offense intended by it. The fans love their no holds barred live shows and can’t get enough of it. Their newest labour of love Buenas Nachas leaves more to the imagination, as they have cleaned up their non-vulgar perversities slightly. The music is still as hardcore as ever though.
After two intense shows, it was time to take in some good old fashioned folk-rock music from the Bokononists, a group of fancy beatniks from Winnipeg playing at the Rivoli.
Bearing large beards and no shoes in typical hippie fashion, they believe in two things, hard rock and mellow lyrics.The gang has been playing together since high school, at least around each other in different bands, until everything fell together organically and became what it is today. Bass player for the band, Jay Jensen, said they’ve enjoyed playing the festival here in Toronto.
“This is a really fun festival to play in,” said Jensen. “It’s great to come out and make contacts and hang out, we’re not too hardcore about networking so it’s good for us.”
The smaller crowd of about 50-60 people rocked out to the Bokononists’ vibe even though it was such a late night set, and the band reciprocated the energy. Playing solidly from start to finish passed last call, and enjoying time with the fans afterwards. Their band name stems from the obvious reference to the fictional religion of Bokononism, they got from reading Kurt Vonnegut’s book “Cat’s Cradle” so many years ago.
A religion formed entirely on lies, or “untruths,” which satirically refers to the logical fallacies of religions, old and new.
Story by Devin Size, Photos by Tee Onek.