Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish & Authority Zero at The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey
Words by Anthony Toto, Photos by Garret Torres
In the midst of a brutally cold night in January, sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to leave the house. I’m not speaking for myself – this is how some people approach their time off after a long week at work or school. From my perspective, booking my calendar with a nonstop barrage of live shows is the perfect way to combat this terrible winter.
Talk about a storybook worthy Friday night – Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, and Authority Zero performed a sold out show at the Starland Ballroom. Whenever I pull up to Starland and see the words “sold out” on the marquee- the thought of 2,000 people ready to lose their minds sends bolts of adrenaline through my veins. Unlike a majority of big named tours, fans could always expect the unexpected whenever these bands come to town. Believe me; keep your eyes glued to the screen, as I couldn’t make up some of the scenarios from last week’s “ultimate ska experience.”
Full disclosure, I will shamefully admit that I never saw Reel Big Fish or Authority Zero beforehand (Shake your head; I understand.) Let me start off by giving massive props to Authority Zero – I thought this veteran act was the perfect opener considering how attendees were bound for a nonstop barrage of ska after their set. For any artist out there struggling to attract a fan base, take a look at this band’s twenty year history and recognize their ability to survive through nonstop touring.
Right from the opening chords of “No Other Place,” Authority Zero transformed the Starland Ballroom into a reckoning assault of punk infused chaos reminiscent of vintage CBGB’s. Kudos to guitarist Brandon Landelius, his riffs were heavier and tastier than a majority of his punk rock contemporaries, which played a massive role in riling up the crowd. Vocalist Jason DeVore’s on-stage charisma spread across the room instantaneously – his hilarious joke about his distaste for Denny’s (yes, America’s diner) became a rally call. Seriously, the crowd chanted, “Fuck you Denny’s!” and cheered for IHOP the entire night. Talk about a lasting impression – Authority Zero satisfied this audience like a whole stack of chocolate chip pancakes on a Sunday morning.
Authority Zero Setlist
No Other Place
Lift One Up