Few people or musical acts these days can hold a candle to the energy of the world-renowned band fronted by the legendary Billie Joe Armstrong, but Just Paranoid seeks to do just that. Consisting of vocalist / guitarist Dave Knight, vocalist / drummer Brian Sowdan, and bassist Audra, these talented musicians consistently bring the angst and the grit needed to properly sell these iconic tracks that just about everyone knows. With their band name cleverly adopted from the chorus of the iconic ear worm “Basket Case”, this trio relentlessly resigns themselves to the persona and artistry of one of the greats.
With lots of energy and angst, Just Paranoid brings the party with all the fan-favorites including “Brain Stew”, “Holiday”, and “American Idiot” – just to name a few. The tricky thing about being a tribute band is that every moment they’re playing, the crowd is comparing them to the originals – which could make it very easy to fall short, just by default. But this trio really embodies the vibe and style of Green Day through their musicality, confidence, and slick instrumentation. It’s also a fringe-benefit that Dave does bear a significant resemblance to Billie Joe, even if his vocal tone is a little deeper and bass-heavy than that of the slightly more nasal Green Day frontman.
After a brief perusal of their website and YouTube video gallery, I found myself quite enamored with their covers of “She”, “Brain Stew”, and “Basket Case” most of all. These three tunes are some of their slickest, and their playing seems especially tight here – I found myself absent-mindedly zoning in and out of the songs, allowing myself to dare to dream that they were really Green Day. It’s an interesting feeling not so different from experiencing the literary device of Gothic doubling to find artists that mimic others as well as these guys do – and they command the stage with a relentless vengeance. Anyone with eyes and ears can see that these players know what they’re doing and do it quite well. Their cover of “Brain Stew” especially shows off their ability to pull off quick stops and and complex rhythms while balancing energetic vocals with muddy distortion.
I especially enjoyed hearing the iconic guitar solos played more or less exactly. Layered with the consistent drums and slick bass lines, Dave, Brian, and Audra are a punk-rocker’s dream team of nostalgic bliss and angst. The guitar solo in the politically-charged “Holiday” especially shines as the rich band backing it truly fills the soundscape of whatever venue they’re playing at.
If you love Green Day and punk music, come to Newport Blues Cafe THIS THURSDAY (12/12/19) where local Rhode Island teenage pop punk band Never Coming Home will be opening for Just Paranoid. It looks like a fantastic lineup and should be a great way to decompress amidst the busiest time of the year.
Grab tickets to the show HERE: https://www.newportblues.com/event/10041865/just-paranoid-green-day-tribute-band/
Photos of the band courtesy of their website: https://justparanoid.com