Streetlight lights up the Pearl Street

By George Felder

Ellie Rulon-Miller/Collegian

The lights dimmed and the crowd chanted “Streetlight! Streetlight! Streetlight!”

The band members of Streetlight Manifesto ran out onstage, the light lit up and the crowd roared.

Cue stellar music.

Streetlight Manifesto played at the Iron Horse Theater last Thursday night, and rocked in front of a crowd of more than 100 people.

Upon stepping out on stage, the band charged directly into their musical intro, a testament to their musical versatility and variety. They showed off the skills of the multiple brass and woodwind musicians in the band. This musical introduction segued into their first title track of the set.

Their first song was “Everything Went Numb,” from the first studio album released by Streetlight back in 2003. The song instilled a feeling of nostalgia in many audience members.

Amid all of the pushing, shoving and moshing, one could hear a vast majority of the audience members singing, or rather, screaming along with the lead singer Tomas Kalnoky. After finishing the first song, the band paused momentarily for applause, and then proceeded to play one of their most famous tracks, “We Will Fall Together.”

The music of Streetlight possesses a punk quality that is conducive to violent moshing and slamdancing when heard live. They also possess the ska groove and reggae vibes of a jam band and, when combined with the punk essence, Streetlight plays a dynamic and satisfying show.

Following “We Will Fall Together,” Streetlight played a song off of its new album – for which their North American tour is named – titled “The Hands That Thieve.” Much to the fans delight they played the album’s hit, “Three of Us.” It is just as funky-punky and in your face as anything they’ve ever produced.

This was followed by “Down, Down, Down to Mephisto’s Café,” and then another new song from their upcoming album, a track titled “Never Be Afraid.” By playing new hits, the band showed the audience that its new album will meet or equal, the brilliance of its last albums.

Next on the set came “40 days,” the third song of the night played off of Streetlight’s most famous studio album, “Somewhere In The Between,” an album that possesses hit after hit for the band, and is full of songs that fans will line up and down the street to hear played live.

The  band played “Here’s to Life” off of itsfirst studio album. At  this point, everyone was either being pushed up against the edge of the stage, arms outstretched toward the band members, or they were a couple of rows back, flailing around and moshing in what was now more of a sweaty free-for-all and less of a mere excited crowd.

After this, the band played “Watch It Crash,” “Who Hides the Night” (off of the new upcoming album), as well as the  beloved and treasured anthem, “A Better Place, A Better Time.”

After finishing their outro, the band went offstage leaving a hoard of unruly fans who were not ready to leave. The crowd cheered and chanted for an encore, and was granted their wish when Streetlight ran back onto the stage to play two more of their new tracks. But when they finished, Streetlight sadly departed with the Northampton crowd, and the lights in the ballroom came on, signaling that it was time for everyone to leave.

Even though last Thursday night was all about Streetlight Manifesto, it had two opening acts that had the crowd of more than 100 slamdancing.

First to take the stage was The Chicharones, a punk-rock/hip-hop hybrid out of Portland, Ore. The hip-hop aspect was unexpected for the setting of the show, but was wildly successful in setting the mood for the rest of the night.

Before their set began, DJ Zone confused audience members as he wandered through the crowd in his signature pig mask. The confusion waned after he took the stage with the rest of the Chicharones and served as both DJ and hype man for the group. The highlight of their set was undoubtedly “Go F*** Yourself,” described on various websites and by the band as “a love song for your enemies.”

After they left the stage, the next opening act, Lionize, a four-piece groove-heavy rock band, was welcomed by a growing throng of excited fans. Lionize grabbed the attention of the audience members, who were in the early stages of forming a mosh pit, which would eventually be full-blown by the time Streetlight took the stage.

After Lionize cranked out five or six heavy jams, the band left the stage and the anticipation was too much for the standing crowd to handle.

Though the show was a serious blast, a lot of fun was had after, when sweat-drenched fans filed out of the back of the theater to the bar, merchandise table, and onto the street to discuss and revel in the wake of the stellar performance they’d just seen. People spoke to each other in raised voices since the music had been so loud they’d lost about a fourth of their hearing capability.

Hearing loss aside, Streetlight puts on a fabulous show, and the excitement over the release of its next album “The Hands That Thieve,” due to be released Nov. 6, only intensified.

George Felder can be reached at [email protected]