Authority Zero @ Black Cat Tavern, Saskatoon, Canada

Words: Miljan Milekić

Nothing shows how hyped I was for this show better than the fact that I took two days off of work. And it was fucking worth it. I somewhat knew what to expect from Authority Zero, seeing them twice in the past, but this time, things were very different. While the Punk Rock Holiday festival, hidden in the woods of the Slovenian Alps might be one of the best places on Earth to see them, I was hyped to finally see them in a club setting, close and in-your-face. Throw in great supporting acts, and a random Tuesday night turned into a great one.

The opening slot belonged to Saskatoon’s own GreenWing. The four-piece brought their high-octane, melodic rock and roll sound, relying heavily on their new record ‘Eatin’ It,’ released on March 15th. Although they “forgot to play their songs a quarter faster,” as the singer Matt Stinn joked, considering the lineup they were on, the crowd didn’t seem to mind. GreenWing are currently in a strange spot – they are too good for a local band, but they are yet to step up to the next level and get the recognition they deserve. However, with the constant improvements to their live shows and the consistently good music they put out, it shouldn’t be too long before it happens.

It doesn’t happen too often that the band just floors me when I hear them for the first time, but that’s exactly what happened when I first stumbled on The Corps and ‘Dog of War’ in our inbox a couple of months ago. The pure, raw energy combined with big melodies got me instantly hooked up. In the meantime, they dropped their brand-new album ‘Fractured Protocol,’ which I’d been listening to ever since. So, to say I was excited to hear them live would be an understatement.

Much like GreenWing, the Vancouver punks also had a significant crowd in front of them, and not only because their bassist grew up literally across the street from the Black Cat Tavern. Full-steam ahead, practically from the get-go, the four-piece cruised through their set, picking from their older stuff as much as from their new record, much to the approval of the crowd, before finishing off with the above-mentioned ‘Dog of War’ which seems to be slowly becoming a favorite among fans.

As soon as Authority Zero stepped on the stage, it was clear who the majority of the crowd came in to see. On this tour, the band celebrates its 30th anniversary, and along these three decades, they picked up quite a few fans on the way. Well aware of the fact that many of the fans joined the ride in different stages of the career, as well as album cycles, the band touched on almost every one of them, keeping the energy high at all times.

They kicked in fast and strong, with ‘Ollie Ollie Oxen Free,’ but there was no hiding, nor was anyone thinking about it. Instantaneously, the crowd responded with mosh pits, and the party could start. ‘Get It Right’ followed next before the band fired up the anthemic ‘When We Rule The World,’ met by the crowd with a big sing-along. From this point, it was smooth sailing for the band, as they were picking and choosing between old and new, punk and reggae, and steering the crowd in every way they wanted. Singer Jason DeVore, energetic as always, used every inch of the stage, both horizontally and vertically, doing minor re-arrangements of the venue’s ceiling tiles in the process.

Later stages of the set kicked off with a symbolic and optimistic ‘Back Nine,’ another song from the band’s most recent record, before sliding into fan favorites such as ‘One More Minute’ and ‘Mexican Radio.’ The very end was reserved for an absolute banger in the form of ‘Lift One Up,’ which expectedly caused mayhem in front of the stage. The fans, however, wouldn’t let the band go that easily, so we got another song, and yet another banger – ‘A Passage in Time.’ With that, it was the time for the band to leave the stage, this time for real, and leave us, as usual, wanting for more.

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