Brighton Music Hall, Boston MA.
Driving into Boston was a bittersweet ride Tuesday afternoon. The Chicago Blackhawks came into Boston and won the Stanley Cup on the Bruins’ home ice Monday night, but the sting of the loss didn’t have much time to reside with me – because Tuesday night was a punk show.
Ballyhoo! and Authority Zero made their way through Boston, about mid-way through their co-headlining Summer Sickness Tour, each with an album’s worth of new material in-hand. With some help from opening act Versus the World, the night was a blaring swirl of punk, pop, and reggae fused into a few hours.
There was a bit of confusion at the box office, so I wasn’t able to catch the first opener, but through the doors, they sounded pretty great. But at 7:30 when Versus the World took the stage, I forgot about the previous drama and witnessed a pleasant surprise. The brief 45-minute set worked great as an opening act – passionate, talented, and entertaining. They began without much audience attention, but by the closing notes, they had a room of new fans.
I’ve known of Authority Zero for years, and they’ve always been one of those groups that I’ve heard about and meant to check out when I had time. Man, I really should have. Around half past 8:00, the band took the stage. And, with that, they took complete control over the venue. Their set was just around an hour, but they crammed their hearts into every second of it, not wasting a moment with their fans that “came out to have some fucking fun, even on a Tuesday night.”
Lastly, to wrap up the night – one that has already impressed me immensely, was Ballyhoo! Their fusion of alternative, reggae, punk, and pop swam throughout the room better than most bands I’ve seen. After the first note, singer/guitarist Howi Spangler urged and motioned the crowd to get as close to the stage as they could.
And we all did.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, a room filled with a mixture of diehard fans and new listeners swayed and sang for the better part of an hour. From the start of their set, through a round of shots, a plethora of guitar solos, and what seemed to be the crowd favorite “Meat Head,” the energy was relentless and unending.
Even without knowing the bands’ discographies, it was still one of the most entertaining and all-around impressive shows I’ve seen in a while. The contrasts of Versus the World’s pop-punk, leading to Authority Zero’s fast, heavy punk rock, followed by the genre-mixed Ballyhoo!, it was a lineup combination that drew varied fanbases into the pit, but helped lead each one of them out the doors at the end of the night with ringing ears and smiles on their faces.
Ballyhoo!’s Pineapple Grenade, Authority Zero’s The Tipping Point, and Versus the World’s Drink. Sing. Live. Love. are all available now.