w/ Voodoo Glowskulls, Skyfox and The Hard Richards
February 18, 2012
From the first line of "A Passage In Time," a simple melodic
suggestion of "here we go" gave frontman Jason DeVore command of the kinetic
energy at the packed Respectable Street on Saturday night. Instrumentals from the 2002 release
of the same name kicked in a second later and reverberated into the mix of
underage hipsters and twenty somethings hell bent on capturing that feeling
Authority Zero brought to the table nearly a decade ago.
The set opener seemed appropriate given the subject matter, but all facets of past and present relationships reflecting nostalgia disappeared when the center of the room exploded into a furious mosh pit.
South Florida has always been a welcoming environment for the Mesa, Arizona punk rock band. Although their genesis dates back to the mid-'90s, the early 2000s were when the quartet really made a name for themselves with constant touring and intrepid studio recordings. The use of surf guitar, ska rhythms, and break-neck hardcore drums back up a melodic, socio-politically themed vocal presentation. What really sets them apart is that their songs not only incite thrashing and reckless abandon, but they also contain pop sensibilities that make them genre specific and yet offer a unique variety at the same time. Because of that, DeVore and company are still able to channel that teenage angst into an auditory assault that compels you to sing, dance, and slam dance.
Their more recent release Stories of Survival kept the post-punk thread true to form with "Liberateducation." The anthem opened up a section for new guitarist Brandon Landelius to introduce himself with a shredding solo. From there, things really got interesting as throwback hits "Taking On The World," "Retreat," and "Revolution" all bled into each other. In between circle pit shenanigans, the crowd managed to jump up and down while DeVore flew around the stage and launched off monitor speaks at interval peaks. His showmanship had not lost any of its intensity with age, and he egged the crowd on in between rapid-fire vocals.
Things finally did slow down during a fan-favorite sing-a-long during "Over Seasons." The reggae undertones provided the right rhythm to bounce in the crammed crowd. Despite the temperature rising a good 20 degrees, sweat pouring from the band and audience members, everyone seemed comfortable being body to body with their neighbor. Despite the overt lack of mohawks and ripped jeans among the patrons, any notion that the essence of punk rock is dead vanished as the raw energy spilt over again and again. Crowd surfers and a particularly vicious moment in the pit during set closer "Superbitch" proved that sentiment.
Catching their breath for a minute, the band left the stage, but chants and unified clapping quickly brought DeVore back out. This time he was armed with an acoustic guitar. This was new, at least compared to the old days, but the delivery of "Courage" with him alone on stage showed the poise and maturity that comes with being a traveling musician for a decade and a half. It was a special moment, and for the only time the entire evening the crowd stopped moving and simply listened. Of course, as soon as he ditched the guitar and dropped into "One More Minute" the frenzy kicked back into full gear and peaked when the encore ended with ever inspiring "Sky's The Limit."
Random Detail: Reliving your youth through a punk rock show can make you feel old, especially the next morning, but it also reminds you of the inspired vigor you once had. I highly recommend doing this often.
Overheard: "Devore has still got it. That guy is like the punk version of Freddie Mercury on stage."
The Crowd: An electrified mix of young hipsters, reformed punks, and skaters.
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