POP MUSIC REVIEWS : Bay Area’s Green Day Wilts at Palace

Although Green Day is a fairly new arrival, you got the feeling on Saturday at the Palace that you’d seen it a hundred times before. The San Francisco trio, whose major-label debut has caused a buzz among KROQ listeners, slammed out speedy, initially inviting tunes, but eventually came off as an ode to pop-punk pioneers the Buzzcocks and the Jam. The bouncy tunes lacked a spontaneous or gruff edge and seemed to dissipate before they could make any lasting impression.

The group, accustomed to playing in the constricted spaces of San Francisco’s tiny clubs, clustered in a tight triangle on the big stage while the mostly teen-age audience moshed and even pogoed to the sound. Between songs, the musicians cracked jokes and poured beer on their heads, and singer Billie Joe asked the quintessentially snide punk-rock question, “Are there any hippies in the audience?” Pretty gratuitous, considering that A) half the fans at the Palace had long hair, and B) the band looked straight out of 1979 with their short, spiky hair.

Green Day went on to do a medley mocking music from the past, from spacey Grateful Dead-like jams to cheesy ‘80s metal. Before they make fun of dated genres, they should realize that they’ve built a career on one.