Foxboro Hot Tubs Go Back to the Garage at Tiny Austin Club Show

Foxboro Hot Tubs
Stacie McChesney/NBCU Photo Bank
May 23, 2008 12:20 PM ET

Green Day side project Foxboro Hot Tubs declined the backstage at Emo's in Austin last night. Instead, they entered through the front door of the 300-person club, presumably from the tour bus parked out front. In that 10-second, body-crammed span, a paparazzi-style photographer lit them up like the Griswold Christmas tree despite the no-camera mandate.

A guitarless, bleached-blonde Billie Joe Armstrong took the stage looking like Kurt Cobain circa the Jackie Onassis white-sunglasses phase. "Come close to me," he intoned. "Come close to me. Me llamo es the Reverend Strychnine Twist." Then the six-piece (augmented by two guitarists and a sax/flute/keys player) suddenly locked into the title track from their just-released vintage garage rock album Stop Drop and Roll. It was followed by big-beat doo-wop number "Mother Mary" and "Alligator," during which Billie Joe waved around a long stick with a plastic alligator head named One-Eyed Jack attached to the end. Meanwhile, bassist Mike Dirnt poured PBR tallboys on the crowd.

500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Green Day, ‘American Idiot’

Even with the expansiveness of American Idiot, Green Day has always been rooted in the three-chord jumps perfected by the Ramones. But Foxboro Hot Tubs are straight out of the '60s, rooted in Kinks-ian British mod. The group also covered a tune by Network, the other mysterious Green Day alter-ego from a few years ago.

It was a refreshing way for a band coming of a massively successful album to keep it real and reconnect with hardcore fans. Be forewarned, though: the only way to catch the Tubs on the back-end of their 10-day tour is by standing in line for tickets like the rest of the diehards. They're only available the day of the show, at the box office, $20 cash.

But in return, Billie Joe will crowd-surf on your outstretched arms all night long.

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