Excitement about Streetlight is manifesting in NoHo

By Ellie Rulon-Miller

Courtesy Wikimedia

Streetlight Manifesto will be headlining at the Pearl Street Ballroom in Northampton tonight, Friday, Feb. 11. The show, one stop on the officially named “Ship of Fools” tour, will also include A Loss For Words, Lionize and Terrible Things.

The band began playing shows at the end of 2003 and has been touring regularly ever since, drawing increasingly large crowds each year. Originally formed by members of Catch 22 and lesser-known New Jersey ska band One Cool Guy, the members of Streetlight Manifesto each contribute different influences and therefore different sounds.

Their most recent release was a compilation of cover songs. The album, “99 Songs of Revolution: Volume I” includes The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” and NOFX’s “Linoleum.” The latter has been acoustically performed by singer and guitarist Tomas Kalnoky in the past when the band takes brief breaks. The album is to be the first in a series of albums through which 99 songs are covered. Streetlight even covers a song by another one of Kalnoky’s bands, “They Provide the Paint for the Picture-Perfect Masterpiece That You Will Paint on the Insides of Your Eyelids.”

            While it is not always perfectly clear what each of their songs is about, they are all somehow extremely easy to relate to. Line after line, it is evident that these are not made-up feelings, conjured solely for the purpose of the song; They are unabashedly truthful.

            A Loss For Words, a pop-punk band from Boston, has gained popularity for their covers of various Motown songs. Their version of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 is fun and well-developed. They make use of typical melodic punk gang vocals, which adds a new edge to each cover. Their original songs are just as well done as their covers.

Maryland’s Lionize plays a mix of reggae and punk that sounds like something entirely different from the definition of ska. Their incorporation of an organ into their music makes it sound like something new and different. A lot of punk bands feature an organ at times, but not in quite the same way Lionize does. Some of their songs also have a bluesy feel, utilizing a harmonica for a different approach.

Terrible Things is a straight-up rock trio comprised of rock and punk rock veterans Andy Jackson, Fred Mascherino and Josh Eppard, from Hot Rod Circuit, Taking Back Sunday and Coheed and Cambria, respectively. Each of their songs is beautifully composed.

It is always a good thing when Streetlight Manifesto performs with opening acts that do not play as hard and fast as they do. This is the type of punk show at which people can get injured. Streetlight Manifesto has a huge cult following which has been building up since their inception and fans hear the first notes of every song played and somehow, it’s always better than the last one, and this warrants a great deal of screaming and shoving. Some find that unpleasant; others live for the pit.

Regardless, Streetlight Manifesto never fails to disappoint with their live shows. The atmosphere is not unlike other punk shows, but Streetlight’s energy is unsurpassable. This is a big part of why they draw such huge crowds with each show.

Ellie Rulon-Miller can be reached at [email protected]