DALLAS -Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, and Authority Zero brought their ska-punk roadshow to Gas Monkey Live in Dallas, Texas on Saturday night. By 5:30 fans were already in line stretching around Gas Monkey Live in anticipation for the evening’s festivities. It was obvious from the onset that the fans knew that tonight’s show was going to be a big one. When the doors to Gas Monkey Live at 7:00 the 38,000 square feet was filled in no time.
Opening the show was Authority Zero, a punk rock band from Mesa, Arizona that formed in 1994. Authority Zero has had its fair share of lineup changes, with Jason DeVore being the only original member still in the band. Guitarist Brandon Landelius, bassist Mike Spero and drummer Sean Sellers had no trouble honoring the past while putting their signature on Authority Zero’s sound. With a combination of their faster punk tunes and their more punk-ska oriented songs Authority Zero left the crowd salivating for more.
Next to hit the stage was Reel Big Fish, a ska-punk bad from Huntington Beach, California that formed in the early 90’s. It was obvious as soon as Reel Big Fish hit the stage that a party was going to ensue. Their flashy outfits matched their personalities exactly. From the opening song “Everyone Else Is An Asshole,” it was clear that crowd participation was going to be big. With the entire crowd singing the chorus “Everyone Else Is An Asshole,” there was a look of approval on the face of singer Aaron Barrett. During the duets “I Know You Too Well to Like You Anymore,” and “She Has a Girlfriend Now,” trombone player Slaxel Rose was forced to take the female vocal duties, although with the crowds input it was almost unnecessary. At the conclusion of their set the crowd begin to shout “Reel Big Fish! Reel Big Fish!” demanding an encore. They obliged by jumping into “S.R.” and requesting the crowd to form a circle pit, as singer, Aaron Barrett added a death-metal section to the song. The encore continued with their biggest song “Beer,” while incorporating two verses from the Offspring song “Self Esteem,” in the middle. They concluded their set with a cover of a-Ha’s “Take On Me.”
A confetti storm blasted the crowd as headliner Less Than Jake, a five piece ska-punk band from Gainesville, Florida took the stage. For those that don’t know a Less Than Jake show is a full on experience that includes toilet paper blowers, water guns, balloons and confetti. The crowd participation continued into Less Than Jake’s set as they blasted into “Look What Happened,” as the crowd sang out the lyrics “I swear it’s the last time,” with bassist/singer Roger Lima. As the opening notes of “Nervous in the Alley” began crowd surfers were coming from all corners of the venue one right after another! The energy level from Less Than Jake and the crowd were amazing.
The fact is that each of these bands has more than 20 years of experience in the ska-punk scene. Most people would assume that life experiences and age would have tamed their punk attitudes. Luckily for the fans that is not the case. Authority Zero, Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake all performed with a reckless abandon that would put most other bands to shame.
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Article by: Jason Crews
Photos by : Jason Crews and Jason Maguire