It’s sort of surreal to see Billie Joe Armstrong play in the Church basement. Not that he hasn’t played venues like this while Green Day was starting out, but to see the guy who’s sold out countless arenas and festival grounds play on top of the alphabet carpet in front of a couple hundred people is still odd. What’s even more odd is not hearing Green Day songs.
Armstrong announced his new project The Longshot and its debut album Love is For Losers as a bit of a surprise, with no one really knowing whether it was a solo effort, a project with his sons or with new band members. The retro-garage rock sound he had been toying with since Green Day’s 2012 lukewarm-at-best trilogy of albums Uno, Dos, and Tre (and even dating back to their not-so-secret side project Foxboro Hottubs), finally felt a bit at home with this new project.
It gave Armstrong an opportunity to add some kitsch and playfulness without the constant looming shadow of lofty expectations and Green Day fans waiting to tell him why he’s not punk anymore.
And playing a string of shows at tiny venues seemed to give Armstrong a chance to go back to his youth without any feeling of forced nostalgia. He was really having fun, and he really seemed happy. In the wood-paneled sauna conditions of the Church, Armstrong proclaimed that it was “one of the coolest venues” he’s ever played in his life.
“This place is a church, a gospel choir upstairs, and now a punk rock show. Let’s go to punk rock church.” Continue reading →