Social Distortion at Gas Monkey Live, 10/11/14

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Social Distortion With Stone Foxes and Jonny Two Bags Gas Monkey Live, Dallas Saturday, October 11, 2014

With Gas Monkey Bar N Grill now entering its second year of business, the owners opened the doors to their second venue, Gas Monkey Live on Saturday for a grand unveiling with Social Distortion. The new venue is across the street from the not-so-old one, right next door to the Movie Studio Grill and across from Jason's Deli.

It must be said that if you are not a fan of GMBNG you will probably not be a fan of Gas Monkey Live. These are unapologetically corporate-style venues, both situated on a suburban outskirt of Dallas. If you ever want to go to Chili's or Olive Garden before a show, both are in close proximity.

See also: Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill Looks to Shake Up Local Music in Its Second Year Gas Monkey Live Makes Play For Mid-Size Dallas Venue Gap

But GML is a very impressive venue. Two employees confirmed that the venue has a whopping 2,500-person capacity, which was on full display at this sold-out show. The stage is enormous and tall, so you can see the band from virtually anywhere in the room. The sound is strikingly good, surprisingly not too loud, and consistent throughout the venue. Whatever the floor is made out of, it's easier on the knees than concrete.

The venue looks nice. The walls are made out of unfinished wood or shack metal, depending on where you are looking. For that good old Texas flavor, there are a few vintage gas and oil signs and there are also some severed heads of dead animals. On the left of the stage there is a VIP section and on the right there is a VIP table section and all the steerage goes in the middle, where the floor slopes down in front of the stage.

There are countless beers on tap and enormous merch tables with two similarly enormous lines. There is also a large security staff wearing adorable yellow shirts that say NO MONKEY BUSINESS. Approximately ten of them carried out a patron by his limbs, put him face-down on the concrete immediately outside the front doors, and bent his arms and legs behind his back. Several additional members of the security staff gathered around to make sure 10 on one was enough.

Back inside everyone was either bumping into someone or being bumped into, regardless of where they stood, for the duration of the night's entertainment. The first two bands put forth considerable effort and in between songs they assured the crowd that they were having a great time and loved Texas. But not many seemed to take notice; everyone was clearly there for Social Distortion.

When Social Distortion took to the stage they sounded like they always sound, with their slow brand of punk rock perfected after 36 years of practice. The audience was not especially noisy or rowdy, but many of them mouthed the words to the songs. There were few surprises, though, which was probably the point: Folks were there as much to investigate the new digs as they were to catch another SD gig. The novelty, at any rate, was stronger for the one than for the other.

To those ends, perhaps the most interesting thing about this new venue is its size. For bands too big for House of Blues but not big enough for American Airlines, Gas Monkey Live offers some place in between.

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