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“List of Green Day Opening Acts”

* “I asked you to go to the Green Day concert / You said you’d never heard of them / How cool is that? / So I went to your room / And read your diary” – Weezer [1]

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To be honest, for a while I wasn’t sure if Rivers Cuomo was being serious or sarcastic when he asked “How cool is that” about the girl not having heard of Green Day — but then, doesn’t that just open up a can of worms about how expression itself is always necessarily a sort of rebellion, punk rock more so than any other kind.
It would be impossible to within one blog post sum up the entire discourse surrounding a bona fide American cultural phenomenon like the Green Day show, but this Weezer line is one thing that jumps out at me, them being a magnanimous rock act of our time, but even more so, the sheer resonance of said phenomenon’s awesomeness. Over and over, on greendayauthority.com, a site I luckily happened upon after a slew of arduous Google and Wikipedia searches toward this post’s overall endeavor, I would read raving reviews of the shows, such diatribes far more likely to spring from insular, non-stuck-up towns (like say Zurich to Berlin, for that matter), and more likely to be prized in situations not involving prominent television outlets or corporations. The 1998 Zurich crowd relates as follows, according to Green Day Authority: “Hands down my favorite throwback (sic) EVER”; “I was in the front row at the Green Day concert at Paladido (in my opinion the best concert in Italy yet). I would like to know if anyone who was there has a recording of the concert.”; “I saw Tre Cool walk out of the building… Then he hung around the merch booth. He shook my hand and then said something I did not quite catch. He had bright green hair.” Another person from one of the shows, I forget which but I believe it was from an indoor concert, said something along the lines of that the band “we’ren’t acting like typical egotistical rock stars” and were taking song requests from the audience. Also, and this is a random memory, but it must have been a really random year like 2003 or so, after Warning but before American Idiot, I was a stalwart and relentless fan of the band preferring everything from “Pulling Teeth” to “Bab’s Uvula Who?” to pretty much the entire album Nimrod for mix tapes, and I was doodling on the band’s website then coming across a sound bite from all three of the band members. Tre’s and Mike’s were really goofy, but Billie Joe, dead serious, expressed that he’d come across a list of “the best live bands.” Then he said something like “I don’t mean to sound pi**ed off, but I think we’d shred a lot of them.” But friends, he definitely did sound pi**ed off.
You know what else? People are incredibly psychotic. I still remember reading this one online forum, for instance, concurrent to “Oh Love”’s release as a single which took grieving offense to the song’s critical acclaim (the post went something like “New Green Day single ‘epic’? No fu**ing way!”) Then I brought up the topic of Green Day with this crazy lady I work with, who by the way listened to all this annoying punk crap all day and The Cure and stuff, and she made a sound like a rottweiler (I later joked that I’d buy her a ticket to Wrigley, if she really wanted one).
And indeed, Wrigley is the primary reason I got inspired to finally compile a list of all the bands which have opened for Green Day in the latter’s history. As a native of South Bend, Indiana, I grew up going to concerts, and to Wrigley Field, but never to the two in conjunction. I happen to hate the Cubs now for what they did to Rick Renteria, but all that imagery of the ball park makes for some poignant rumination in my mind, the sort of familiar setting which can’t really help but yield an incredible amount of truth, or defining concepts about the way I’d view the world from then on, if I were to witness such a thing.
This being said, I don’t think there’s any question that an indoor venue would be a better place to watch the legendary Berkeley trio. To my surprise, they’ve recently played Washington, D.C.’s, 9:30 Club, a relatively small setting typically reserved for more indie or DIY type bands, although I’m almost positive Ween has played there pretty recently (I did read that there were extensive anti-scalping measures initiated outside the Green Day show, probably by the venue security or whatever). I saw one indoor performance from 2016 on Youtube of “Welcome to Paradise” and the sound was incredible. Who knows what those swirling lake winds will do for the tuneage being belted out this late August… hopefully the high walls of the stands will help solidify and magnify some of the noise, so that it’s not just noise and nothing else.
As far as this act opening for them at the Cubs’ haunts goes, I wasn’t really too IMPRESSED, or thrilled with them — they’re sort of just a reductive pop/punk Green Day clone, though the fact that they’re from Wales is sort of an interesting tidbit. At this point, I feel that as a lifelong fan of the band my inability to have ever seen them is basically just a travesty — this being said, I saw that tickets to the Noblesville, Indiana (near Indianapolis) shows are only $30… but like I said I just might hold out for an indoor show.
Anyway, with the help of Green Day Authority I was able to put together what I think is a list of every band that’s ever opened for Green Day, though it should also be noted that in 2006 Green Day opened for U2 for their tour of the United States. As is my egotistical blogging wont, I’ve included a little mini-blurb about each band… feel free to ignore the crap I say, especially since I seem adverse to the bands which are too similar to Green Day, anyway.
One thing I noticed: there seems to be a Wikipedia page on just about all these da** bands.
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Pansy Division (1995)
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This is great rich, straight-ahead punk very much in the vein of the Buzzcocks or The Modern Lovers, a couple notable things being that they’re apparently openly gay (debut album is called Deflowered), and that they’re old GD label mates (Lookout!) from San Francisco.
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The Riverdales (1995)
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Ah, The Riverdales and I go way back… sometime in high school my friend scored this rad punk compilation called Honest Don’s Welcome Wagon on which The Riverdales were one of many crisp, perky and zany installers. Plus, they’re a veritable buffet of influential label associations, what with Honest Don’s being founded by Fat Mike of Fat’s NOFX as well as, as you might have guessed, Lookout!
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Hi-Fives (1995)
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More straight-ahead punk here but with a little more refreshing bite in the drum sound… also the singer Chris Imlay has a groovy way of approximating the way Bad Brains’ H.R. sounds.
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Mr. T Experience (1996)
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One of the few songs online I could find was definitely pretty depressing: it was called “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend,” featuring vocals, acoustic guitar and no drums, and apparent earnestness dealing with the theme of never having a girlfriend — like the Violent Femmes except less violent. I pity the fool!
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Hi-Standard (1996)
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This was one of those household names for the die hard punks (of which I must confess to not having been one) from my high school era… gettin’ into more of a hardcore type realm here, and from the looks of it these guys seem to be Asian. Cool. Nice tempo change on the opener to 1995’s debut album Growing up.
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Superdrag (1997)
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Superdrag! Da** was that a blast from the past… I hadn’t heard this once-household-name’s well, name, in probably a solid 10 years. Wow do they have a funny album title: “Regretfully Yours.” And da** does this stuff pay off: it’s like a more grunge-influenced brand of punk rock, with a slicker sound and more sluggish (heroin-informed?) chord changes. Curiously enough, the band hails from Knoxville, Tennessee (sounding every bit West Coast in doing so).
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D Generation (1998)
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Here we have a possible influence on The Gaslight Anthem, a similarly East Coast punk-leaning arena rock or glam act prone to those swirling, incessant guitar riffs, even within rhythmic song segments.
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The Mavis’s (1998)
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This band is from Australia and should be commended for the excellent song title “Moon Drone Gold.” They’re also way funkier than any band on this list thus far. But then, somewhat true to form, the vocals come in rather white-boy and awkward, hardly the loverboy type fare… slightly reminiscent of LIVE’s Ed Kowalczyk, in fact.
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Samiam (1998)
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Samiam seems to be the rare late-‘80s Bay Area punk band that WASN’T on Lookout!, boasting however five or so different labels to their name. Bad Religion and Blink-182 have also claimed them as trusty openers over the years.
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Huevos Rancheros (1999)
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Actually on my google search for “green day huevos rancheros,” I got about 11 results for the actual food dish, and then, finally, the exact page whereon I initially discovered the band, the Green Day Authority link to the 1999 show with Jello Biafra (singer of the Dead Kennedys apparently doing solo stuff). All it says on the page is “One Man Army and Huevos Rancheros played” and I couldn’t find the latter on the Lookout! Wikipedia page so… your guess is as good as mine!
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One Man Army (1999)
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Wow, Billie Joe must just really love punk… apparently he discovered this band and brought them in for a show for a record release party… the singer kind of has a cool Glenn Danzig-type yelling style when he sings. Other than that they don’t stand out too much to me.
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Jello Biafra (1999)
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Lead singer of Dead Kennedys… card carrying anti-capitalist, for some reason.
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The Get Up Kids (2001)
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If you were to select one group of young rapscallions to encapsulate the overall zeitgeist of EMO, I assure you many tastemakers, hipsters and beard strokers would in a knee-jerk reaction point to Kansas City’s The Get Up Kids.
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The Living End (2001)
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Probably named after the Jesus and Mary Chain song, The Living End are the second Australian band on this list and were always a favorite among all the truly well-versed punk fans out there. For how well established they were by the late-‘90s, it’s hard to believe they formed as recently as 1994.
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Blink-182 (2002)
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Where rock meets comedy… there aren’t enough bands like this these days.
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Jimmy Eat World (2002)
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It’s impossible to say enough about how great this band is, from their initial lo-fi and hardcore days out of Mesa, Arizona to their eventual, much-deserved commercial success with classic tracks like “The Middle” and “Sweetness.” Even 2012’s Damage I found to be a very listenable and successful effort.
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Saves the Day (2002)
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Oh man, we’re getting into the eye of the emo storm here… and this is the exact fu**ing year I graduated high school! No wonder I did so many drugs. I knew this chick who used to really like these guys.
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The Crush (2002)
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Not exactly emo, and too overproduced obviously to be deemed “alternative rock” (although they probably were anyway), The Crush are fairly listenable and precocious mainstream rock of the early ‘00s very akin to Moth and The Exies, with one interesting caveat: the title of their debut album seems to have gone on to spawn that of The Strokes’ last EP.
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New Found Glory (2004)
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Ok, a lot of these bands were really “punk” in their burgeoning days and then went on to go kind of pop… Green Day is kind of like that except that Kerplunk! is actually very stylistically similar to Dookie… credit Reprise’s Rob Cavallo for the excellent find and guru-convincing job there.
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Sugarcult (2004)
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If I’m not mistaken, this band was once endorsed by Everclear’s Art Alexakis and also toured with them at one point… nice thick sound… emo on steroids.
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The Network (2005)
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Now, this band is dubbed “new wave” despite that they were only active from 2003 to 2005… at first I thought it was going to hark to the great robot-rock days of Head Automatica and the Willowz and maybe Morningwood or whatever, but in fact these are just retro boys from New York with fake British accents. They should team up and do a tour with Alien Ant Farm. Rather pointless fare.
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The Bravery (2009)
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Ok this is a band we used to make fun of the Smashing Pumpkins about for bringing them on tour, partly for their being firmly entrenched in the time when every band and their moms began their name with the word “the”… I must confess to though not ever have really LISTENED to them before this point, being as I was in a zealous indie phase (New Pornographers, Aloha, Sufjan Stevens) this whole time… at this point I’m probably not going to woo you if you’re a deterrent or quell you of you’re a lauder, so I won’t even try.
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Kaiser Chiefs (2009)
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I remember this real shaky-handed clerk at Indianpolis’ now-defunct Massachusetts Ave. location of Luna Record being all about this band (he would just refer to them as the “Chiefs”). They never really wowed me personally.
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Franz Ferdinand (2009)
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Wow, if I hear “Take Me out” by one more cover band in South Bend I’m gonna fu**ing spew. This being said, they do have some good songs (“40’,” “I’m Your Villain,” “Eleanor Put Your Boots on”).
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Jet (2009)
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Hmm, I think I’ll “jet” to the next band on this list before things get profane.
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Prima Donna (2009-2010)
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Occupying a space somewhere between The Darkness and The Jim Jones Revue, Prima Donna is an LA band that spewed out pretty sophisticated saxaphone-rich mod-rock in the ‘00s and early ‘10s, a time in rock which always intrigues me in cases of bands which didn’t fall into the banjo-jangly/mellowness “indie” trap.
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Emily’s Army (2010)
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Self-pitying retro-punks.
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Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (2010)
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We all know these early-‘80s icons who brought us the seminal radio smash “I Love Rock and Roll.”
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Paramore (2010)
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This female-fronted band from the late-‘00s and early-‘10s hails from Tennessee, sounding a bit like Jimmy Eat World in the guitars (and also somehow in the vocals as well), to their credit brandishing guitar sound very recollective of Real Estate.
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Billy Talent (2010)
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Yes, this is one of those bands that has a person’s name as their name, but is actually a whole band, somewhat like Franz Ferdinand or Bettie Serveert (or Mookie Blaylock, which was Pearl Jam’s first name). They hail from Canada and play loud punk rock. Take it or fu**in’ leave it.
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The Pooh (2010)
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Holy sh**, this band really rocks! And I know I must have found the right group going by the name of The Pooh, because the album I found is the only one in the band’s catalogue, issuing from right there in ’09. Very production-rich throwback punk rock.
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Donots (2010)
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He** yeah, this was a pretty thriving time for Green Day right-hand-men… the Donots even have an awesome album cover and title (Coma Chameleon) along with some boisterous, muscular, focused and meaningful punk rock in two.
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Rise Against (2010)
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Chicago’s Rise Against have been around pretty much forever (since I was in high school, same thing), played a Lollapalooza I happened to attent (2009) and make old-faithful Midwestern punk rock very much artistically adjacent to the Lawrence Arms. Cheerz.
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AFI (2010)
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As I’m sure you know, AFI really rock — a California quartet belting out voluminous, infectiously catchy rock songs. I believe their best album is Sing the Sorrow, but I must admit I got a little sidetracked from them over the years.
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The Stitches (2013)
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The Stitches, as a redeeming quality conversing with their retro shtick and excessive brevity, come with a raw rock sound taking it back to the REAL glory days of punk — I’m talking like Swell Maps and Wire era.
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Frank Turner (2013)
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I had a feeling it was going to be the exact year that brought us the awesome album title “Tape Deck Heart” that warranted the Green Day reference — sure enough, this project did issue in 2013. But why is this guy singing with a faux-punk attitude in a song called “Plain Sailing Weather”? Some things I’ll never understand.
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Against Me! (2016)
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Punk rock veterans here, Against Me! are a band which has undergone many metamorphoses, from goth, to emo, to straight up power pop, and nobody could be more deserving of getting a great double bill with punk legends Green Day.
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Catfish and the Bottlemen (2017)
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Young blokes from Wales making unassuming, keenly Green Day-informed power pop. They will share the stage of Wrigley Field with the band this August.
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[1] Green Day has shared a stage with Weezer albeit not with them as an opening act, but rather co-rocking Germany’s Highfield Festival in 2001.

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