Next Tuesday's punk rock concert will mark a homecoming for one man and the end of a home for some of the area's alternative rock concerts, at least temporarily.
The same day drummer Chris Reece (a 1977 graduate of Payson High School) of the L.A. band Social Distortion returns to his home state, Salt Lake's Speedway Cafe is closing its current site.In fact, the Social Distortion concert (which pairs the punk quartet with Olympia, Wash., act Screaming Trees and local trio the Strangers) is a fund-raising benefit for "hopefully, the bigger and better new Speedway," according to Speedway Cafe manager Paul Maritsas.
"We've got another building selected that we think we can house some of these great shows in, but it will take a few months to reopen and to redecorate the new place.
"Every bit of money we'll be making off these shows for the next few months will go to the Speedway, and we hope to be open in a few months - like early spring or late winter."
In the meantime, Maritsas said, he and the Speedway crew will be bringing in some shows, though not as many as they would have in the old site, "and not with as many local bands."
"We'll still be here to foster and, hopefully, move along the music scene in Salt Lake. We think we've really built up a good reputation in our two years, and we hope everyone will keep coming to our shows."
He said he has concerts scheduled in the Utah State Fairpark Horticulture Building, the University of Utah Ballroom, the Bar and Grill, Rafters and Corona's Rock'n'R, but that some prohibitions from those sites won't allow for the flexibility of a typical Speedway show (some of which ran well into the wee hours of the morning).
In fact, the Tuesday night show was originally planned for the Speedway (or on the streets surrounding it), but Maritsas said he has been served a five-day eviction notice from the Speedway building's new owners and had to reschedule the show in the Horticulture Building.
Consequently, the show will be starting earlier (7:30 p.m.) and ending earlier than typical Speedway productions.
Musically, the concert spotlights a band that many critics (including this one) have called an American version of British punk pioneers the Clash.
However, while the latter band drew from more English inspirations, Social Distortion "is very much a traditional American rock 'n' roll band," according to guitarist/sing-er/songwriter Mike Ness.
"We're more of a Western band. We even draw on some country-western," (such as the band's cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" on its current self-titled LP).
Touring in support of the album, Social Distortion has garnered good reviews and substantial radio play, especially for its "Ball and Chain" single, and for its live shows, which both Ness and Reece say is rewarding.
"It was bound to happen eventually, when you work for something this hard," Ness said. "This album was a really rewarding project for us."
Also rewarding is the way Utah crowds react to the band's live shows, such as one in June, Reece said. "It's always very positive.
"I always look forward to coming home. My whole family (which still lives in Payson) comes up and it's a lot of fun for me and them."
Tickets for the show are $7 in advance ($10 the day of show), and are available at all Sound Off locations, all Gray Whale CD Exchange locations, Bandaloops, the Star Gazer and Provo's Reptile Records.