MUSIC: Social Distortion hits hard at the House of Blues.


Mike Ness keeps his body stiff, muscles tense, when he plays, as if he’s bracing himself against something.
He is.
Namely, his past.
The Social Distortion frontman and punk progenitor tunes are mostly posited on penitence and rebirth.  
It’s redemption music, with Ness singing like he means it, a bulging vein incarnate.   
To wit, the first song the band played at a sold out House of Blues on Friday, the second show of a three night stand for the band at the venue, was “I Was Wrong.”
“Well, when I was young / I was so full of fear / I hid behind anger / Held back the tears,” Ness sang. “It was me against the world / I was sure that I’d win / But the world fought back / Punished me for my sins.”
Ness knows that of which he speaks.
He’s weathered drunk addiction and numerous stints in jail, a hard dude with even harder luck.
But for much of Social D’s career, which stretches to 35 years in 2013, Ness’ survivor mentality has largely been characterized by vulnerability and regret.  
He’s not afraid to say he’s sorry, and he does with equal parts grace and righteous fury.
Social D’s songs still hit hard -- when the band ripped through their cover of the Stones’ “Under My Thumb,” it was like they were pummeling the tune with tire irons.   
But raw aggression, while a part of the Social D cannon, is not what defines it -- anger is something to be resolved, not revelled in.
Ness leads by example, looking fierce, sounding anguished.