Elks braces for veteran punk band

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

With shows on the Vans Warped Tour, opening gigs for popular punk/rock outfits like Sum 41 and Everclear, and having their songs appear on video game and movie soundtracks and anti-President Bush compilations, Mesa punk band Authority Zero has a loaded musical résumé.

It was a surprise, then, for promoters of the "Live at the Elks" music showcase when one of Arizona's most successful bands agreed to play at their concert on Saturday, Aug. 27.

"Authority Zero has been great," promoter Calvin Bowers said. "They really could have taken us to the bank, but they didn't."

The Elks' showcase - the second after last month's gospel show - will feature the band, which released its newest album, "Stories of Survival," in June of last year, as well as up-and-coming local rock band Known Enemies.

Known Enemies singer/guitarist Nick Stecki said his band is thrilled to share the stage with such a well-known group in the punk scene.

"We're very excited to play with them. It'll be big for us," Stecki said. "It'll be a lot of fun. I don't know if the Elks is ready for this kind of show."

Stecki's band only formed a couple of months ago, but is already attracting some attention in the music community and will play at Tempe's Marquee Theater for the second time this Friday for a battle of the bands.

Despite this, the Live at the Elks show will be the first in Prescott for the band, which also consists of bass player Jordan and drummer Mike Thompson.

Stecki, a sound engineer at Heavenly Sound Studio, has been playing for about 10 years. The band was formed when he met Jordan and the two bonded over their love for English rock band Muse. After meeting studio drummer Thompson at Heavenly Sound, Known Enemies started playing. They're currently auditioning for a full-time lead guitarist.

Stecki describes the band's genre as "alternative grunge," and calls bands such as Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age and, of course, Muse as influences.

Mark Echard, who runs Heavenly Sound and is helping put together the Live at the Elks showcase, said he was just as thrilled to see Known Enemies on the stage as Authority Zero.

"They're amazing. I really honestly think they're going to make it nationally," he said. "They're that good."

Usually, said Echard, who often runs sound at the Elks Opera House, the Live at the Elks showcase would have more bands, but in this case, the public outcry was to let Authority Zero have more time to perform.

"Everyone said, 'Give them more time,'" Echard said. "So we said, 'Well, heck, let's give them some more time.'"

The first Live at the Elks show featured Mike Farris, a Dove Award-winning gospel singer from Nashville. Bowers, who runs Cottonwood promotional company Pasturegate Productions, said it was a success.

"We had a perfect performance by Mike Farris," he said. Bowers added that after that show, the amount of national bands contacting him about a possible Live at the Elks appearance has increased dramatically.

Next up for Live at the Elks is an Oct. 2 show featuring Jimmy Fortune, who was in Gospel Music Hall of Fame members The Statler Brothers. Bowers said many new things are in store for Live at the Elks, including a Halloween costume party and a "really big karaoke show."

Live at the Elks with Authority Zero and Known Enemies takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Elks Opera House, 117 E. Gurley St. Tickets are $25 general admission and $20 for students and seniors. For tickets and more information, visit www.elksoperahouse.com or call 777-1370.