Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Fabulous Fox

Social Distortion
The Fox Theater, Oakland, CA

February 6, 2009

This was one of those once in a lifetime shows: Opening Night of the newly restored Fox Theater! The venue was originally opened in 1928 but has been basically abandoned since 1966 (!). There was alot of press coverage about The Fox's resurrection, and tickets for this show were going for up to $100 each online.

The $75 million / 6 year restoration project was completed last year and the results are stunning; I was literally speechless as soon as we entered the theater.. It was like stepping into a time machine back to an era when people dressed up simply to see movies at theaters like The Fox.. Fast forward to the 21st Century and I was wearing a Motörhead hoodie; did hoodies even exist in the 1930's?? It's a good thing I didn't drop acid because I was tripping on all of the intricate details of the architecture and facades big time.. Jaw dropping stuff, man.

Lobby lights imported from Morocco
(Pic by Umlaut)

My Inner History Geek was also tripping that we were part of the first audience to attend a public event in the space in 43 years (!). Thankfully the Umlaut Nation was nicely represented by Timo, Miatomic, Val, Ray, and Alan.

Social D. has played many memorable shows in S.F. over the years (Remember when they played Slim's on the day Johnny Cash died and they opened with 'Wanted Man' > 'Ring Of Fire'? Me too...), but when was the last time they played a show in The East Bay?? I can't even remember.

My fascination with the venue was coming close to overshadowing the show, but whenever Social D. includes 'Bad Luck' (my fave Social D. song) in the set my Inner Music Geek kicks in, and tonight they busted it out as the 2nd song.... However, I have to say that 'When She Begins' was my fave performance of the night.... "Round and round she goes, where she stops nobody knows.."

White Light, White Heat, White Trash
(Pic by Umlaut)

It made all the difference to have the band playing a one-off show like this instead of them rolling into town as part of a grinding tour schedule. The band, and especially Ness, seemed loose onstage which made for a really great performance that channelled everything I love about Social D. perfectly. The band is like comfort food: You know what you're going to get, but it's exactly what you want. Dog bless 'em. Combined with a decent Jack & Coke from the bar and it was a perfect 90 minutes for Umlaut.

Thanks as always to Tour Manager Doug for sorting my +1.

Clash shirts = 1. If you bought one of every Social D. merch item you would have paid around $330. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. It's really cool that there's an amazing new concert venue in The Bay Area.. and the fact that it's in The East Bay means shows there should have a different vibe than the sometimes jaded S.F. crowds.

(Pic by Umlaut)

For the story and details about The Fox's restoration visit the Fox Oakland Restoration Project web site.