Voodoo Glow Skulls and Authority Zero at the Firebird, 2/3/12: Recap
Punk/ska fans got a great bang for their buck at this weekend's concert at the Firebird, which brought Voodoo Glow Skulls, Authority Zero and Sky Fox to town and threw on locals Snooty and the Ratfinks and Scene of Irony for good measure. The night culminated in triumphant, crowd-pleasing performances by the headliners that made sure everyone went home happy.
Authority Zero brought serious chops to the proceedings as drummer Chris Bartholomew and bassist Jeremy Wood shifted effortlessly between full-throttle, double bass-drum workout punk to up-tempo ska, sometimes mid-song. Brandon Landelius kept pace with solid guitar work and took advantage of two small opportunities to cut loose with skillful, head-banging solos. But singer Jason DeVore was the star of the night, running around stage spitting growly but tuneful lyrics at a superhuman rate (Twista would be impressed at how fast he sings). The band kept the tempo and energy kicking throughout the night, wowing a roaring pit with screaming renditions of such favorites as "A Passage In Time" and "Retreat," but the highlight of the set came in the slower desert skank of "One More Minute."
Clad in matching black shirts, Voodoo Glow Skulls entered the stage firing on all cylinders, pumping out four fast newer songs. These were well received, but older selections from fan-favorite albums Firme and the Band Geek Mafia predictably stole the show. VGS land farther on the ska divide of punk/ska genre than Authority Zero and accordingly turned in a less ferocious but more danceable set than the previous act. This hardly meant the Glow Skulls were tame, however. Songs like "Human Piñata" and "Shoot the Moon" set the mosh-pit ablaze and hardcore fans in the front were quick to sing every lyric when singer Frank Casillas thrust his microphone to them. Occasionally, the two-piece horn section struggled to cut through the mix, but trombonist Brodie Johnson compensated with an intensely enthusiastic stage presence. Overall though, the band's road-seasoned chemistry shone through in a tight performance that would please any '90s ska fan.