At any sold-out concert, there are always fans left without tickets, standing outside the venue asking passersby if they have an extra they might buy. Ticketless concertgoers at the Streetlight Manifesto show Tuesday evening swarmed the sidewalk outside the Bluebird, but few seemed willing to give up the opportunity to see this New Jersey- born and bred ska band.
The band released a new album in March, but only two of the songs Streetlight Manifesto performed were from “99 Songs of the Revolution: Vol. 1” — an album consisting of covers from bands such as Radiohead, Simon & Garfunkel and the Postal Service.
Toward the end of their set, Streetlight Manifesto did play the Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl,” and during the encore, they threw in their own rendition of NOFX’s “Linoleum.”
The rest of the evening consisted of fan favorites and deep cuts from their previous three albums. Throughout their set, the septet exuded passionate energy as guitarist Tomas Kalnoky played while standing on the edge of Chris Thatcher’s drum set. Throwing towels and water bottles into the abyss of waving fists in front of the stage, trombonist Nadav Nirenberg and saxophonists Mike Brown and Jim Conti howled “Fight” along with the crowd and Kalnoky during the second song of the night, “Point/Counterpoint.”
The arrangements allowed each band member to showcase their talents without fighting for the spotlight. During the powerful ballad “We Will Fall Together,” the strong message of the lyrics united perfectly with the upbeat, reggae-influenced melody in which no one part overwhelmed another, allowing the song to maintain its studio recording quality while creating a noteworthy live experience.
Putting on a concert is easy. Creating a live music experience that creates a lasting impression on fans? Not so much — though Streetlight Manifesto made it look effortless at their Tuesday show. Without a doubt, each of the seven members poured themselves into every note they played. However, it wasn’t just a band on stage with people watching but a gathering with a shared, deeply-rooted history.
The band ended with “1234 1234,” but the greatest takeaway was being able to witness the non-verbal dialogue the members of Streetlight Manifesto sparked with their fans.
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