“You can’t punch people at a ska show,” my friend Trevor said to me as we waited for the first band to play at the Streetlight Manifesto concert this past Wednesday at Northern Lights in Clifton Park, NY. Which is pretty much true. The overall vibe of that was something along the hippie ideal, treat everyone pretty groovy. Even if I wouldn’t necessarily throw the word groovy around to describe ska. Maybe something more along the lines of hyper relaxing. As kinetic as the synergy of a surprising collective of instruments.
The first band to open the night was punk-rock trio of Broadway Calls. They weren’t too bad as opening acts go. There energy was pretty good, but nothing that got the crowd all that amped. None too surprising. This was a group of individuals here to see Streetlight Manifesto. Who do we get to open? A couple dudes that sound like Fall Out Boy circa their Take This to Your Grave album. Only less about not fitting in and hot girls and without the cam whore to Pete Wentz to propel them to super stardom.
Following Broadway Calls was the much more appreciated !Outernational!. Now they were a riot. With a reggae old school punk sound, !Outernational! got the whole crowd going. A sign of a good band is when they can make their stage show seem like a relaxed practice session. That’s the vibe you get from them. Just a couple who love playing music for you. Especially when you a lead singer like Miles Solay actively interacting with the crowd pressed against the stage. And their trumpeter Dr. Blum plays a mighty mean horn.
After being all relaxed but psyched up by !Outernational!, I was more than ready for Streetlight Manifesto. In the lull of the crew setting up for Streetlight Manifesto, a chant began. Not just any chant. It was the opening lyrics to fan favorite Streetlight Manifesto song “Point/Counterpoint.” Impressive enough was that the vast majority of the crowd was able to sing the whole opening lyrics and even, humorously, emulate the instrumental interlude that follows. So it should come to no surprise that with the opening notes of the first song of their set that Streetlight Manifesto had the whole floor moving. And its stayed that way the whole night. If you weren’t part of the massive skank pit, you were jumping up and down. And if you don’t know what skanking is, look it up. I don’t really feel like explaining it here. So just type in ska and skank on YouTube and see what comes up. Wow, what a sidetrack. Let me just put it as simple as possible; Streetlight Manifesto rocked the venue. Unfortunately, even after enjoying a set list comprised of a lot of Streetlight Manifesto favs, I was saddened to be informed Streetlight Manifesto is going to take a slight break after they wrap up this tour to record a new album. Horray? Horray! Hopefully they will finish this album as quickly as possible so I can see them live again.
Recommended !Outernational! songs: “In Their Sights,” “Fighting Song,” “Future Rock”
Recommended Streetlight Manifesto songs: “We Will Fall Together,” “Point/Counterpoint,” “A Better Place, Better Time”