Live report SOCIAL DISTORTION, GRADE 2 & LOVEBREAKERS, Barclays Arena, Hamburg – July 4th, 2022

Time flies fast and in the meantime it’s been five years since Mike Ness and his band Social Distortion played the German stages. Due to Corona, the shows, like so many other tours, had to be rescheduled several times, but tonight is the night. Social Distortion will play a concert in Hamburg.

Moved from the Große Freiheit 36 to the bigger Barclays Arena, Social Distortion put everything in place to entertaining their fans with the typical mixture of hard rock, blues, rockabilly and punk. Hits like the great ‘Don’t Drag Me Down’ may not be missing in this context, of course.

Also on the tour bus are the two support acts – Grade 2 and Lovebreakers.

The first band to enter the stage are the guys from Lovebreakers. The mix of rock and punk, all provided with a lot of melody, proves to be a good start to the evening. Lovebreakers is warmly greeted by the Hamburg audience and in 30 minutes of playing time they succeed in laying the foundation for a powerful concert evening.

After a short intermission it’s Grade 2 from England who really get the Barclays Arena rocking for the first time. The trio from Ryde, Isle of Wright brings a lot of energy into the hall and it is almost impossible to escape the energy.
Grade 2 play wild and untamed punk rock. This makes them just the right band to get the audience ready for the main act. With so much energy and good mood, time flies by and after a solid 45 minutes, the three guys end their stunning performance with ‘Pubwatch’.

After a half hour break the lights in the hall once again go out. It’s time for Social Distortion, who haven’t played in Hamburg for such a long time. After the ‘Gimme Shelter’ intro has faded away, the quartet starts with ‘Road Zombie’ into their set. Bandleader Mike Ness appears masked with a cloth, gets the guitar handed to him and shows directly where things are heading. Social Distortion, that’s pure energy, even if the handbrake is a bit pulled on this evening. But there is also a reason for this. Ness’ voice is suffering and all the fans in Hamburg can consider themselves lucky that the concert is taking place; a luck the fans in Bremen won’t have the following day.

With ‘Bad Luck’ the band continues their set with a classic and create a connection with the audience immediately. This link never breaks during the next 90 minutes and songs like ‘Machine Gun Blues’ and ‘Prison Bound’ make the audience go wild.

The four-piece starts the encore with ‘Don’t Drag Me Down’ and Mike Ness doesn’t let himself be dragged down even by his battered voice. The final song is ‘Ring of Fire’ before the lights go up again and no doubt, satisfied Social Distortion fans are on their way into the Hamburg night.

Location: Barclays Arena, Hamburg, Germany

Date: July 4th, 2022

Photos: Markus Wiedenmann

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