Biilie Joe Armstrong at Moustache Bar
  • Biilie Joe Armstrong at Moustache Bar
  • Image by Flor Gonzalez and Victoria Villanueva
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Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong launched his side project the Longshot on Thursday, May 3 at Moustache Bar.

“We sold out all 300 tickets within three hours when they went on sale last Frday [April 27],” says Andres Apreza, Moustache Bar owner. He says he now knows he could have charged a lot more to let people see the world premier of Billie Joe’s new band.

“We charged $25,” Apreza tells the Reader. “We could have charged $150 and still sold out.”

Armstrong made it clear to Green Day fans that the 20-year-old pop punk outfit isn’t going away. He said the Longshot is simply a chance to do something different with some of his friends. The Moustache Bar date was the first date of the Longshot tour and was followed by 19 other U.S. cities.

The Moustache Bar was the only Longshot date for greater San Diego. But why Tijuana?

“I think it had a lot to do with Argentis Garcia, who is from Tijuana,” Apreza says. Garcia is the founder of the cross-border All My Friends new music festival that has been staged in L.A. and Rosarito.

This is the biggest show yet for the ten-year-old Moustache Bar. Apreza has used it to bring bands from all over the world including La Femme (France), Japanther (New York) and Radiation City (Oregon). He says San Diego bands such as Hills Like Elephants, Spooky Cigarette, Shady Francos, Low Volts, and Gary Wilson who have played the Moustache over the years have worn down the resistance of gringos toward coming back to Baja as they did from 1989 through 1994, when Iguana’s was a major draw for major music headliners.

By now, people have heard of Moustache Bar. On Saturday May 12, the Moustache hosts E Arenas of Chicano Batman and Matt Hollywood of Brian Jonestown Massacre on May 27.

Within the last year, Black Box, the 800-seat Tijuana showcase, has hosted sold out shows by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Erasure. Black Box will host the Desert Daze Festival Saturday May 12, featuring headliners Ariel Pink and DIIV.

Apreza, 35, was too young to get in to Iguana’s, the 1000-seat venue that was the must-play Tijuana stopover for such American bands as the Ramones, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction, and Rage Against the Machine. “But all my older friends and cousins were there.”

Video:

Fronterizo Fest 2018

While Moustache Bar and Black Box seem to paint a rosy picture for Yankee bands’ returning to Tijuana more often, Apreza says the three-day Fronterizo Fest April 27-29, featuring the Scorpions, Megadeth, and Sepultura, was not a slam dunk.

“I was expecting a lot more people,” says Apreza. “I was there on Sunday and there were like 15,000. I think they were expecting 30,000.” A Xolos soccer game was held at the same Estadio Caliente venue on the first day of the festival, which caused major logistical problems. Many social media complaints noted long lines and delayed band starting times.

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