Photo: Daniel Mendoza
Outside Lands 2022: Green Day Makes The Bay Proud With Fiery Saturday Headlining Set
For their first performance at Outside Lands, legendary Bay Area punk act Green Day paid tribute to their hometown and local heroes, while giving the sold-out crowd what they wanted: to rock and roll all night.
Green Day finally got the chance to play Outside Lands on the San Francisco festival’s 15th annual spin around Golden Gate Park, headlining Saturday’s lineup with a bombastic set filled with rock star pyro, explosives and endearing stories about being a real band from the Bay Area — Contra Costa County in the East Bay, to be precise.
A few minutes before they came out, a text message from the festival app warned of intense lights and loud sound effects to come. Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" then prompted a singalong of thousands, and a person in a fluffy bunny rabbit costume with a demented face hyped the crowd while the Ramones’ "Blitzkrieg Bop" roared. A custom-made intro mash-up of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ "I Love Rock & Roll," "We Will Rock You" and "Also Sprach Zarathustra," a classical tone poem from 1896, ushered the band — singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool (with additional guitar support from Jason White, who largely remained side stage and off screen) — on stage, beginning with the still-relevant "American Idiot."
The multi-GRAMMY winners understood the hugeness of the moment, taking the opportunity to structure a playful show that paid homage to artists who came before them — as when they teased a quick riff of "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath before playing their own song "Hitchin’ a Ride." One of the great surprises of the set was a high energy cover of KISS’ 1975 anthem "Rock and Roll All Nite," which was accompanied with '70s-style floodlights and the Green Day logo reimagined in KISS' jagged font.
These three have been together since high school, and you can see and feel their love for each other, their music and where they grew up. At times, Armstrong and Dirnt played their guitars back to back and nestled their heads on each other’s shoulders. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the last Green Day show in Golden Gate Park — an illegal set with some hardcore bands in 1991 — resulted in their arrest, so this was a clear upgrade. Armstrong also talked about a failed attempt to play at San Francisco’s much-smaller Dolores Park back in the day, which also ended with police.
"I’m so happy right now!" Armstrong exclaimed, as "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" fired up. He asked everyone to flash their phone lights ("Just about the only thing those phones are good for," he added) and turned the stage lights off creating a powerful sparkling effect from the thousands-strong crowd.
Green Day at the Lands End stage on Saturday night. | Photo: Daniel Mendoza
Different tunes got individual visual treatments that were quite engaging, with pulsating views of the band bathed in color or black and white. The light show extended all the way around Golden Gate Park’s tree-lined Polo Field, with strobes and other effects bouncing off of the greenery in time with the music.
After inviting a female fan up to sing and get a hug, Armstrong looked out into the crowd and said he needed someone to come up and play guitar with them.
"You’re 10-years-old and you can play?" he asked a boy who raised both his hands in the air. "Do you swear you can play?"
His name is Montgomery, which Armstrong shortened to Monty for the crowd to chant. And he can play, as everyone quickly learned when he contributed power chords to "Knowledge," a song from the Berkeley punk act Operation Ivy that was released in 1989.
The band would go on to perform even more unexpected covers, including "Shout," the Isley Brothers classic from 1959, and a snippet of Journey’s "Lights," a song that got extra love in the Bay Area through an old radio station commercial for KFRC. The latter felt like a quick nod to the 40 and 50-somethings in the crowd who grew up on the station.
At one point, Armstrong acted like a mad conductor and waved his arms up and down ferociously to get the crowd to cheer in different sections. When he was done, he said, "You’re all suckers, except the ones from Oakland!"
"This is f—ing beautiful," he said in seriousness. "We’re all here together."
Billie Joe in a moment of eleation. | Photo: Daniel Mendoza
The only slightly unplanned moment that was detected was when a guitar string broke on "Basket Case" that momentarily deconstructed the huge and strong wall of sound that was the set’s hallmark. But that was actually a treat, like getting to hear isolated parts of a song you’ve only heard one way your whole life.
That standard moment towards the end of a concert when a lead singer introduces their band was much more fun in the hands of Armstrong. He jokingly introduced his sax player, who played a mean riff of "Careless Whisper" by George Michael, as Henry Winkler a.k.a. "Fonzie from ‘Happy Days,’" then introduced himself as "Dewey."
Green Day packed so many of their hits into the 22-song performance that we briefly wondered what could be left for the last number, since the band had already done biggies like "Welcome to Paradise," "When I Come Around" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends." But, of course, Green Day has no more perfect song to conclude with than "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)," which Armstrong performed alone on acoustic guitar as fireworks shot over the stage and into the night sky.
Photo: Fred Morledge
How Las Vegas Became A Punk Rock Epicenter: From When We Were Young To The Double Down Saloon
Viva Punk Vegas! It might have seemed unthinkable a decade ago, but Sin City is "the most punk city in the U.S." GRAMMY.com spoke with a variety of hardcore and legendary punks about the voracious vibe in Vegas that lends itself to punk spirit.
These days, what happens in Vegas, slays in Vegas when it comes to the harder side of music.
It might have seemed unthinkable a decade ago, but as Fat Mike of NOFX and Fat Wreck Chords has been putting out there for a while now, Sin City is basically "the most punk city in the U.S." at the moment. Some might find this statement debatable, but Vegas has long attracted subculture-driven gatherings, from Viva Las Vegas rockabilly weekend to the all-metal Psycho Las Vegas to the mixed bag that was Las Rageous. The latest slate of huge punk and punk-adjacent music events (from Punk Rock Bowling and When We Were Young to the just-announced new lineup of Sick New World 2024) back his claim even further.
Mike’s own Punk Rock Museum, which opened in April of this year, has cemented the city’s alternative music cred — even as it’s still best known for gambling, clubbing, and gorging at buffets.
In fact, A lot of the audacious new activity is centered away from the big casinos and in the downtown area and arts district of what is known as "old Vegas." Just outside of the tourist-trappy, Times Square-like Fremont Experience, there’s a vibrant live music scene anchored by a few key clubs, and an ever-growing slate of fests.
Attendees at 2022's When We Were Young Festival┃Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/FilmMagic
Live Nation’s second annual When We Were Young Festival brought out a largely Millennial crowd to see headliners Green Day and blink-182 this past weekend, alongside over two dozen more recognizable openers from emo/pop-punk's heyday. Tickets sold so well when it was first announced, that a second day was added to the schedule.
Green Day didn’t stop with their fest gigs; the band played a "not-so-secret" pop-up show last Thursday night at one of the most popular venues in town for punk, alternative and heavy music: Fremont Country Club, just blocks from festival grounds. The show served as a warm-up gig as well as an announcement by Billie Joe Armstrong: His band will join Smashing Pumpkins, Rancid, and others for a 2024 stadium tour. The band also debuted a timely new track, "The American Dream Is Killing Me."
"People who like punk and other heavy music want to be in a club environment like ours, not a big casino," says Carlos "Big Daddy" Adley, owner of Fremont Country Club and its adjacent music space Backstage Bar & Grill. Both have become live music hotspots not unlike the ones Adley and his wife/partner Ava Berman ran in Los Angeles before they moved to Vegas over a decade ago.
"Fremont East," as the neighborhood is called, will soon see a boutique hotel from the pair. Like everything they do, it will have a rock n’ roll edge that hopes to draw both visitors and locals.
Outside Fremont Country Club┃Photo: Fred Morledge
The duo told GRAMMY.com that a visit to Double Down Saloon, Sin City’s widely-recognized original punk bar and music dive was what first inspired them to come to Vegas and get into the nightlife business there. Double Down has been slinging booze (like Bacon Martinis and "Ass Juice" served in a ceramic toilet bowl mug) and booking live punk sounds since it opened back in 1992.
"It's kind of a stepping stone for a lot of bands," says Cameron Morat, a punk musician and photographer, who also works with the Punk Rock Museum as curator of its rockstar-led tour guide program. "People always assume that Vegas is just the strip, but that's only like four miles long. There's a lot more of the ‘‘other city.’ There are people who are just into music and into going to local shows who don't ever go to the main strip."
In addition to the Double Down, Morat says Vegas has always had a history of throwing local punk shows at spaces like the Huntridge Theater, which is currently being remodeled and set to re-open soon for local live music. He also points to The Usual Place as a venue popular with local punk and rock bands now, and The Dive Bar — a favorite with the mohawk, patched-up battle vest scene, featuring heavy music seven nights a week, including a night promoted by his partner Masuimi Max called Vegas Chaos.
Cameron Morat┃Photo: Kristina Markovich
While glitzy stage shows from legacy artists and mega-pop hit makers like Usher, Elton John, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga still get the most media attention, raucous local shows are starting to factor into a new generation’s vacation planning, too.
"There’s a really good scene here," Morat proclaims. "It's funny because a lot of people, the sort of gatekeepers of punk, ask ‘why is the punk museum in Vegas?’ But it is a punk city, and not just because you've got all the local bands and the venues."
Morat, whose own band Soldiers of Destruction, plays around town on occasion, also notes other acts such as Gob Patrol, Suburban Resistance, and Inframundo as having fierce local followings. He says there’s a certain voracious vibe in Vegas that lends itself to punk rock creation, performance and attitude. "A lot of the anger from punk rock — like the disparity of wealth, for instance, is here," he says. "Five minutes down the road, you've got people throwing away a million on the roll of a dice. But you've also got people who are doing like three jobs just trying to pay their rent."
Over at the Punk Rock Museum, Morat, who moved from Los Angeles to Vegas about seven years ago, is keeping busy booking big-name guests to share inspirations and war stories, both weekly, and specifically timed with whatever big festival or event happens to be in town. He says he wants to feature artists that might not be thought of as traditional punk rock, but who have relevant backgrounds and stories to share.
"A lot of these people have punk history the public doesn’t know about," he says. "I think if we just stick to a very small well of people, it's going to get pretty boring. So I'm trying to open it up for a bigger cross-section."
Imagery from "Black Punk Now" | Ed Marshall
The museum is already showing the breadth of punk rock’s influence on music in general. During WWWY, the museum held events tied to its new exhibit "Black Punk Now," curated by James Spooner, director of the 2003 documentary Afro-Punk. As Spooner spoke about the film’s 20th anniversary and his new book of Black punk authors, musicians playing the weekend’s festivities from Sum 41, MxPx, Bayside, Less Than Jake came through to talk too. Warped Tour’s Kevin Lyman and Fat Mike himself also took part in the museum’s new after-dark guided tour series.
Bringing in a wider audience and a new generation of rebellious kids who seek to channel their angst and energy into music is part of what the museum — and, it seems, the myriad of events in Las Vegas these days — is all about. Despite what some punk rock purists and gatekeepers might say, the inclusion of tangent bands and scenes is in the original punk spirit. He’ll be booking guests tied to next year’s Sick New World, the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly bash and even EDC in the future (electronic bangers are not unlike hardcore ones and even Moby was a punk before he became a DJ).
"I think that the museum is great for the punk scene here," he adds. "People will literally come to town just to see the museum, and then if there's a band playing in town in the evening, they'll go. So it's broadening the support for all the bands, local and touring. Some punk bands used to skip Vegas completely on their tours, but not anymore."
Credit: Alice Baxley
Everything We Know About Green Day's New Album 'Saviors': Release Date, Opening Track, Future Performances & More
Punk-rock stalwarts Green Day announced their 14th studio album. 'Saviors' will drop on Jan. 19; here's everything we know about the new release.
After returning to the scene with their newest single, "The American Dream Is Killing Me," the rockstars behind Green Day have announced their 14th studio album. Debuting Jan. 19, 2024, Saviors is their first new album since 2020's Father of All Motherf—ers..
The band has won four GRAMMY awards and has been nominated 17 times, showing their influence on the punk-rock genre for more than 30 years. Following the Oct. 24 release of their zombified music video for "The American Dream Is Killing Me," and debuting two new tracks at When We Were Young festival, Green Day looks to be entering an era full of fresh anthems.
On this record, the trio reunited with longtime producer Rob Cavallo for the first time in a decade. Continuing this nostalgic venture, Saviors comes just ahead of the anniversary of their 1994 breakout album, Dookie, also produced by Cavallo and was performed from front-to-back at their surprise show in Las Vegas.
The deluxe edition album for Dookie dropped Sept. 29. Inside the record features four discs of over 25 demos, outtakes and songs, some from their 1994 performances in Woodstock and Barcelona.
Although details on Saviors are still in the process of being revealed, here's what we know about the album so far.
The Album Drops In The New Year
New year, new sounds! Saviors drops Jan. 19, 2024, seemingly continuing the three-year tradition of dropping an album on years ending in four.
Two Tracks Have Been Unveiled
Although the opening track, "The American Dream Is Killing Me," was announced first, the group shared that it was one of the last tracks written for Saviors.
In a press statement, singer Billie Joe Armstrong describes the song as "a look at the way the traditional American Dream doesn't work for a lot of people — in fact, it's hurting a lot of people."
The second song announced, "Look Ma, No Brains!" debuted last weekend at their sold-out show in Las Vegas. This track features a contagious, killer rock sound that marks an epic comeback for the group.
Saviors Celebrates The Essence Of The Band
Saviors seems to celebrate the years spent together. As they shared on X it invites fans "into Green Day's brain, their collective spirit as a band, and an understanding of friendship, culture and legacy of the last 30 plus years."
The group continues, "It's raw and emotional. Funny and disturbing. It's a laugh at the pain, weep in the happiness kind of record. Honesty and vulnerability."
The Vinyl Covers Are Set To Stand Out
Several Exclusive Vinyls of Saviors will be released, including options of neon pink with neon green splatter or black ice with hot pink splatter. Vinyl records will be limited supply and pressed once.
The Inspiration Behind The Apocalyptic Music Video "The American Dream Is Killing Me"
The black & white music video, directed by Bredan Walter and Ryan Baxley, was shot in Los Angeles. With lyrics that describe the pain of America's way of living, with references to social media, unemployment and the housing crisis, this rock track sets the overall tone for the album.
The video shows the band is in the midst of a zombie-apocalyptic universe, which encapsulates the state of our world.This noir-inspired aesthetic could be shown in future tracks.
Performances Are Arriving Sooner Than You Think
If you missed the lively back-to-back performances in Las Vegas this past weekend, tune in this Thursday as the group performs on Amazon Music's Live Concert Series.
Gear up for these performances and more — and watch this space for more information about Green Day’s Saviors as it arrives!
Photo: Richard Thigpen
Get Amped For When We Were Young 2023: Sum 41's Deryck Whibley's Favorite Emo Songs By Fellow Performers
Ahead of Sum 41's appearance at When We Were Young Festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 21 and 22, lead singer Deryck Whibley curated a playlist of tracks from Blink-182, KennyHoopla, Good Charlotte and more.
For the second year in a row, pop-punk is taking over Las Vegas. The When We Were Young Festival is bringing another slew of emo and pop-punk acts from the mid/late aughts to the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on Oct. 21 and 22, from Yellowcard to Rise Against to Green Day.
"Fat Lip" rockers Sum 41 are one of the 55 artists playing this year's iteration of WWWY, which will mark two of the Canadian group's final shows (in May, they announced they'll be disbanding after their current tour commitments). Though they've been touring for nearly 30 years, frontman Deryck Whibley tells GRAMMY.com that the front row "looks the same as it did in 2001."
"This music speaks to a younger generation, and the new generation always gets into it," he says. "There's just something about this kind of music that is youthful and exciting, and there's energy there. I think it's always going to be here."
In celebration of the 2023 iteration of When We Were Young Fest, Whibley put together a playlist of 15 songs by his fellow performers, including the Offspring, Blink-182 and the Ataris. Whether or not you're headed to Las Vegas, get your dose of pop-punk nostalgia on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, or Pandora.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.