The band seems to be making a habit of showing up unexpectedly and delighting fans with surprise full-length performances, as was the case Friday evening when they delivered a generous small-venue performance at Don Hill's in Soho. I was at a birthday party a few blocks away and, when a text alerted me that the "Hot Tubs" were on deck and the place wasn't sold out, I hightailed it over to the venue.
Though word had leaked on a few of the Green Day fan sites, the gig was for the most part unadvertised and unpublicized, as evidenced by the relative ease of admission.
And there they were, The Foxboro Hot Tubs headed by frontman Reverend Strychnine Twitch (aka Billie Joe Armstrong), holding fort at the classic rock venue in front of a throng of screaming fans. The main difference: rather than shell out hundreds of dollars as they might at one of Green Day's sold-out stadium shows, this crowd gained access for $20 cash.
Note: even though Green Day and the Foxboro Hot Tubs are, for the most part, the same band, the musicians stayed "in character" throughout the entire evening and stuck almost entirely to songs composed as the Hot Tubs. In fact, this performance was considered the Tubs' debut New York performance.
Over the course of the more-than-two-hour performance, the Hot Tubs performed their entire 2008 album, "Stop, Drop and Roll," including the somewhat well-known "Dark Side of Night." Not ignoring their alter-egos entirely, they did deliver "covers" of Green Day's "Blood, Sex and Booze" and "Saint Jimmy." One of my favorite moments was an unexpected, whimsical rendition of The Penguins' 1954 doo-wop hit "Earth Angel." (See video.)
The raucous, beer-drenched concert included its share of theatrics, with repeated waves of crowd surfing by both band members and audience. At one point The Reverend (aka Billie Joe) hung upside down from a metal pipe while performing a tune with a title that cannot be printed here.
By night's end, as we all filed out onto Greenwich Street with ears ringing and clothes soaked in alcohol flung from the stage by The Reverend, one could only think, "Well, Green Day for $20... gotta love New York!"
Here are some snapshots and video clips from the show:
Video- "Saint Jimmy"
Video- "Earth Angel"