Around the end of the year there are usually a few traditions that everyone tends to have. A lot of those tend to revolve around various holidays that come together around the end of the year. A lot are wonderful and usually a few can have those familiar family frustrations. However, there is the Authority Zero tradition that may not always land on New Year’s Eve, but it always close to it. Continuing a solid streak of bolstering the lineup with fantastic locals, the bill included ZeeCeeKeely, Black Mountain Moonshine, Skull Drug, and Madd Dog Tannen before them.
The opening act, ZeeCeeKeely, were the only ones I entered with no knowledge of. This Tucson band kicked things off as the solo reggae act. Zach, on lead vocals and guitar, did apologize for hopefully not being too slow for the punk crowd.
He didn’t need to as Adam, on bass, and Justin were found moving around that stage with regularity. From percussion to keys, I love that I could see these guys happy performing throughout the performance. Additionally, it was never out of place as the Zero crew always has a little bit of reggae on their bills. ZeeCeeKeely fit right in up there.
The second band is one back in action and I couldn’t be more excited for it, Black Mountain Moonshine. If you hadn’t heard of them before, it may have to do with them being inactive for a little over a year until the Necromantix show a month prior. Shedding one member, they are back with a fury playing that bluegrass and punk hybrid sound.
Ethan is back on lead vocals and the mandolin joined by Eric on guitar, Alec on bass, and Art behind the kit. Their fast pace of music opened up the first circle pit of the night reinforcing how open minded this crowd is to music. I’m excited to have Black Mountain Moonshine back performing and excited to see what they have in store for us in 2020.
Third was Skull Drug, a band that should be familiar to anyone who listens to the slightest amount of punk in the valley. Demonstrating that it doesn’t matter what the size of the stage is, they know exactly how to use it. Actually, they even knew how to go further than that. Hoon, with the benefit of his wireless receiver, took off down the Marquee stairs, across the barricade, and into the crowd.
Evan got in on it, jumping down to the barricade area during their last song. Those up front got to see Evan down there until the close of the song through an unplanned side effect of an amp chord and hands tied up playing guitar. Skull Drug only continues to reinforce why they sit in the top echelon of the Phoenix punk scene.
Next is what is becoming an Authority Zero show staple with Madd Dog Tannen. In the future, I might actually be confused if I don’t see Madd Dog Tannen on the bill. However, this night we had something new with Andy Thompson joining the two Willey brothers and Kyle Cross. His additional guitar playing blended right in to the already wonderful Madd Dog Tannen. In what I only assume makes Logan an official member of the band, he once again joined them for two songs at points throughout.
On top of these highlights, if we want to talk about bands that just keep getting better then Madd Dog Tannen is in that conversation. Brian seems not only more engaging, but more emotive and energized on stage. It is like he is feeding off the energy of the room, as the crowd continues to be more receptive and louder for them with each show. Without a doubt, Madd Dog Tannen continues to improve and grow in all the best ways.
Last was Authority Zero with one more local set for their twenty fifth anniversary year. All four of them came out in top energy and form. From the usual acrobatic jumps of Dan to the giant grin on Mike Spero, they were excited to be up there in front of their hometown crowd. The pit immediately exploded open and lyrics audibly were sung back at Jason. The songs for which those lyrics belong ranged from old school favorites like “Superbitch” to very recent tracks like “Broadcasting to the Nations.”
Though speaking of what is old is young again, nine year old Recker jumped on the drums during their encore for my favorite Authority Zero track “Mesa Town.” My first introduction to Recker was when Jim, of Pennywise, invited him to play drums on their last visit to Phoenix. Impressive as that was, being on stage to see it closer this time only made it better. He didn’t miss a beat and Dalley took him up like a champion after that song. Filled with many memorable moments, Authority Zero capped off another superb end of the year show at the Marquee.