Authority Zero – Nambucca, London

By Andy

An odd choice of venue for a good old fashioned punk rock/ska show, but with the closure of the Gaff, Authority Zero found themselves headlining one of the truly trendy indie venues in North London as the result of some reworking. Really, that only served to heighten the strangeness of the atmosphere. Or perhaps the word should be sterile atmosphere.

The sterile atmosphere, in truth, went on for most of the evening. First on stage were ska band ALMOST PRESIDENTS [2/5], who somehow managed to transport me back to 2000 and a time when things were different. When chef trousers and Hawaiian shirts infested venues like rats. In truth, the crowd present were tailor made for some old school ska-punk – baggy jeans, Etnies and Fat Wreck t-shirts ahoy – but Almost Presidents? basic problem was a singular lack of intensity. Tight enough, but contrived and at times a little cheesey – the whole thing hit a low point when they pulled out ?Under The Sea? from the Little Mermaid. The room emptied.

7 DAY CONSPIRACY [3/5] followed to a suitably deadened crowd – half of the people who paid in were anxiously waiting for Authority Zero in the bar, nursing some relatively-cheap-for-North-London pints. The ?I?m sure none of you that are in the room care about us anyway? attitude didn?t serve the band well, alienating yet more of a dwindling numbers. In truth, 7DC are a more than competent old-school skate-punk fourpiece and got a rough deal tonight. It is nice to see a band pedaling some of the least fashionable punk rock going, and enjoying doing it.

By after 10pm, the night badly, badly needed a pick up. Cue a band who I thought I would probably never get the chance to see on these shores ? AUTHORITY ZERO [4/5]. Walking round the venue before the set and chatting to anyone and everyone, I was struck with the humility of the band – obviously tonight playing a really intimate show compared to their usual fare. What was striking was that nearly everyone of the 50 or thereabouts people there tonight were from foreign shores – proof that AZ are an unknown quantity to most people round here. What was great about the whole thing was that the band were clearly just happy to be playing in London – and they gave it some. Liberally borrowing from their back catalogue – mostly a lot from debut album ?Passage In Time? and third record ?12:34?, the Arizona fourpiece gave everyone in the room a real lesson in how to play old-school ska infused skate punk. As generic a basic concept as the band have always been, they work on the ?same meat, different gravy? ideology, with singer Jason?s exceptional voice the driving force for making things work. He spent half the set in the crowd, throwing Minor Threat style group shouting photo opportunities out liberally. Songs like ?A Passage In Time? and ?No Regrets? are genuine classic punk rock, and it was great to hear everyone in the room singing along. Authority Zero are one the truly great post-millennium West Coast punk bands and they warmed things up nicely on a cold, sterile London evening. I was glad to be there to witness it.


All photographs by Maryam Hassan. Click here for the full gallery.