Concert Review: Streetlight Manifesto


By: Juan Barragan
Streetlight Manifesto
SOMA San Diego
26 October, 2013

Nestled between what used to be called the San Diego Sports Arena and the Point Loma In & Out is a music venue that used to be a movie theatre back in the day. The venue is called SOMA and is all ages for all shows. New Jersey Ska-Punk band Streetlight Manifesto would be taking the stage later on this evening. Before the doors even opened, the line stretched throughout the whole parking lot, with mostly younger members sporting their favorite punk shirts, ready to release all their energy in the pits inside the venue. After the opening acts played, the crowd started chanting, “Streetlight, Streetlight, Streetlight,” at the top of their lungs. When the lights dimmed and the band took the stage, the crowd responded to the music with all the energy they could muster.

Streetlight Manifesto opened their set with “With Any Sort of Certainty,” a track from their newest album, The Hands That Thieve, which was released earlier this year. The reaction from the crowd was instant. A huge pit erupted in the middle of the standing area as the fans cycloned their way around the pit. The energy from the crowd in this very first song proved that this was not going to be a show for the faint of heart. The band followed with their hit from their album, Somewhere in Between, “We Will Fall Together.” The crowd sang along to every single lyric as loud as they could, as if trying to prove how much they loved the band.

Streetlight Manifesto is a very unique act. It is a seven-piece band that consists of a drummer, a guitarist/vocalist, and a bassist. The remaining members make up the brass section of the band. They had someone playing trumpet, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, and trombone as well. The talent this band has can be heard with any song. Their extremely fast paced songs did not give the drummer, Chris Thatcher, any problems as he did not miss a beat, proving that his stamina is in top shape. The horn section is another story in and of itself. The natural fluidity and organized nature of the horn section was thoroughly enjoyed by all members of the audience. When they played their song, “Here’s to Life,” off of their debut album, Everything Goes Numb, the horn section played their parts flawlessly. What they were playing was most certainly not easy, and this is where the talent of this great band is showcased. Behind the horn section was a true catalyst of the amazing music that the audience got to hear that night. The bassist, Pete McCullough, laid down some extremely groovy bass lines throughout the whole set. The bass lines are no easy feat, as they are complex and intricate even at lower speeds. This did not stop McCullough from powering through a fan-favorite from the new album, “The Three of Us.”

The band ended their set after the crowd begged for an encore with their song, “The Big Sleep.” The energy the crowd gave the band on this song was unexplainable. In addition to savage pits, the security staff was put to work as dozens of fans began crowd surfing towards the stage. Lead vocalist/guitarist, Tomas Kalnoky, seemed satisfied with the energy he got from the crowd that night, at times smiling as he played the songs that the people in attendance so desperately wanted to hear. The whole set lasted a little over eighty minutes. The crowd, though, looked as if they had been moshing for hours as sweat-drenched audience members worked their way towards the exit and into the merchandise line, eager to buy a t-shirt and support the band’s self-proclaimed retirement fund. The band is currently finishing up their The End of the Beginning tour, which is also their support tour for their newest album.