By: Jaime' En Fuego
Seeing one of your favorite bands live for the first time is the kind of thing that will forever stick out in your mind and I will certainly never forget the inaugural instance when I witnessed how wicked awesome Arizona's own AUTHORITY ZERO are in person! What made the entire exciting experience even that much more massively memorable was the sheer shock factor accompanied along with it since at that time in my late teenage years I didn't even have a flippin' clue who they were. So jump in your imaginary Delorean and hit 88mph back to the fall of 2002 when this desert dweller music writer was commencing his first freshman semester at Arizona State University. Go Devils! Now this was my initial interaction in a 'secular' academic institution after spending all 19 years of my educational existence in the repressive religious sector, though that wasn't to say it didn't come without it's intellectual incentives from such intensive instruction. Plus those of us that rebelled a bit, myself most notably being a bible teacher's progeny, constantly found sanctuary within music, especially of the mainstream variety that we were often condemned to listen to at school, and mine was discovered in the wave of 90's punk which began running rampant in my adolescence. Ironically I had parents who were surprisingly cool with the aggressive breakneck tempos of BAD RELIGION and just as long as they weren't swearing up a storm in their earshot everything was cool, though they still to this day despise my collection of 'Crossbuster' shirts I began amassing back then.
With these facts in mind you can imagine my surprise after arriving at a big time college and seeing bands not just playing the surrounding area around ASU but actually on campus itself. That semester I was severely spoiled with a ton of musica en vivo at school, including THE ATARIS for the first time as well whom I was already familiarized with, but what overshadowed everything else of that year's performances came from some punks from Mesa I was slightly skeptical about even going to see until the urgent urging of Amigos in a few local bands and acquaintances I had spoken with inside the minuscule subterranean Zia Records that once resided at the Memorial Union. I wasn't entirely convinced yet my curiosity got the best of me enough to ditch the second of back to back classes that day and arrive late instead of missing the performance entirely. To put it simply I am eternally grateful about the last second decision made that day. I arrived with the AUTHORITY ZERO program already in progress, and was immediately taken aback by the intensity of everything occurring in front of me, even more so since it was transpiring right inside this student eatery area. It wasn't merely the might of the music either, which appealed to my affinity for the aforementioned BR and their Epitaph brethren in PENNYWISE and OFFSPRING, before the latter sold out with Americana, paired with a daring dash of SUBLIME's rocking reggae but also by the crazed crowd of kids' enormous energy as well that was feeding in a ferocious frenzy off of this group which were teetering on the verge of inciting these students to tear the cluttered cafeteria to pieces as they played.
After the chaos climactically concluded I was so immensely impressed that I purchased the album for sale which just so happened to be the eponymous A Passage In Time, their major label debut that would launch them into superstardom across the country thanks to spots on the Vans Warped Tour and support for their chilled out video hits "One More Minute" and "Over Seasons" from the MTV familia of channels and MuchMusic USA as it transitioned over to FUSE. I've been a rabid fan of their work ever since that starling setlist I almost didn't decide to attend, spanning fantastic follow-ups like Andiamo (aka: 'And I Am Zero'), 12:34, Stories Of Survival, and the latest potent effort, this past April's The Tipping Point. Yes 11 years may have flowed by like waves since the sands of that time I described, along with countless tours across the globe and various lineup changes, yet I can honestly attest that I will never forget the most recent time I saw AUTHORITY ZERO either. It was for the release of that most recent record mentioned and featured a live set by the band inside of all places the flagship Zia that's just a mile from my Casa now. Talk about things coming full circle after first being coerced to check them out there, and the while the performance was just as incredible as the numerous I've seen in the passing years there was something so spectacularly intense about the intimacy of seeing the crowd, now both youthful and matured, in a smaller spot ready to start ripping apart shelves at the sound of long-time vocalist Jason Devore belting "Here we go" as the band blasted into the title track from that first full-length from so far back. It was a supremely special feeling indeed, and needless to say, reminded me I made the right choice to study some rock that day insteed!
AUTHORITY ZERO are set to take audiences on A Passage in Time Over Seasons of their killer career from Mesa Town on the Endless Roads to their 21st Century Breakout at 6:00pm this Saturday, August 24 in Tempe, AZ's Marquee Theatre. As a special bonus for fans they also will be premiering the music video for their current single "Today We Heard The News" which can be heard aqui: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXnFATEYiX4. Cheers!
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