Live Review: Green Day and The Interrupters – First Direct Arena, Leeds – 05/02/2017

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When it feels like half the world has had its politics and sense of rationality dropped on its head by some very small hands, and even smaller minds, turning to punk rock seems like the most appropriate form of solace and escape. And fittingly what better time could there be to spend an evening in the company of surely the greatest arena act the genre has to offer, as this week sees the always incendiary and outspoken Green Day return to our shores for the first time in three years. Already Heard headed to Leeds for the tour’s opening night at the First Direct Arena.

Lets make one thing clear, if you’re not a fan of punk bands using their songs and platform to take a stand against the powers that be, or speak out against political and social wrongs then this probably wasn’t the show for you. Openers The Interrupters wasted little time in kicking off the gleeful, catchy as hell rallying cries. The LA based Ska-punk outfit may not be an instantly recognisable name, but they should be. Their infectious update on the classic two-tone ska-punk sound features a glorious blend of influences from the likes of The Specials and Rancid, with hints of earlier No Doubt and The Distillers. Vocalist Aimee Interrupter runs the show with a sparky and attitude oozing performance that rapidly wins over the entire arena and gets large pockets of skanking going on the floor. ‘She Got Arrested’, ‘Liberty’ proove so infectious they’ll still be lodged in the consciousness of audience members weeks from now. (4/5)

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The last time U.S. politics got itself into anything like it’s current climate it resulted in Green Day producing the album of their careers and becoming one of the biggest bands on the planet in the process. Since then they’ve learnt a thing or two about putting on massive shows and have become rather excellent at it. We really can’t underplay how triumphant, entertaining and memorable the spectacle and execution of this show was. Billie-Joe Armstong’s command of his audience was as masterful as ever, his speeches and interaction exuding conviction, heart and a sheer love of his fans. Age is clearly dimming none of his fire as the tabloid media, corrupt politicians and the negativity of divided society all receive both barrels. Unsurprisingly he’s not a fan of Donald Trump either, roundly blasting him during both ‘Holiday’ and, even more aptly, after ‘American Idiot’.

A near three hour long set delved into every corner of the band’s treasure trove of a back catalogue, ‘2000 Light Years’, ‘Christie Road’ and ‘Longview’ all sounding as essential and life affirming as they did in the early 90s. But it’s the tracks from ‘American Idiot’ that really steal the show, with ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ and ‘Are We The Waiting having only got more poignant and relevant as time has passed. Only ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ was a glaring omission from an otherwise exemplary set list.

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Everyone present got some real bang for their buck, literally, with pyro shaking the arena throughout, while several young fans got to join their heroes on stage for moments they’ll never forget. The band kept up the showmanship throughout, swapping roles, dressing up and dousing the crowd with mini water cannons before eking out proceedings with two encores. The latter featuring a beautiful rendition of underrated acoustic ballad ‘Ordinary World, as well as a huge emotional singalong to ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’ to end the night with confetti raining down from the rafters.

This was arena punk at its most consummate, all-encompassing and spirit emboldening finest. Young pretenders beware, Billie-Joe, Mike and Tre are still the absolute best in the game. In even the most frustrating of times Green Day will still make you smile, fight on and completely blow away audiences with a live show like no other. (5/5)


Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright). Photos by Connie Taylor Photography and taken at O2 Arena, London – 08/02/2017 


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