The End of the Manifesto
Streetlight Manifesto electrified The Republik in semi-farewell tour
On Oct. 17, Streetlight Manifesto, a long-standing seven-member ska group, put on an explosive show at The Republik.
The band combines guitar, trumpet, trombone, alto and tenor saxophones, bass and drums. Their unique instrumentation and genre diversity were key ingredients to a truly amazing show.
Touring in celebration both of their latest album, The Hands That Thieve, and their messy breakup with their record label, Victory Records, they brought to Republik a wall of sound that electrified the small venue. The band has been candid that their 2013 tour will be their last, for now.
The opening solo artists, Mike Park and Dan P., both showed huge energy, using only their voices and acoustic guitar. Their pop/punk and ska hooks kept the crowd roaring in approval — and a shout-out to the main attraction, as Dan P. pointed out, doesn’t hurt either. With their boundless energy and good vibes, each of the opening artists could easily headline their own pub show.
The crowd was already rocking by the time Streetlight marched onstage; the band’s only pomp came from the screaming audience as the first song began.
Right from the beginning, the band produced a wall of sound that assaulted the eardrums. Both hands and audience members were thrown in the air from start to finish, and the hullabaloo didn’t cease until Streetlight’s set was far over. It’s a rare sight to see crowd surfing in such a small venue like The Republik, but security was strong-arming those that were riding the waves from song one. That crowd energy dared you not to throw your hands in the air and have a good time.
Heavy drums and bass pounded through the show, which served to highlight the brass’ mastery; the high notes and shiny solos were clear as a bell from the front row or across the room. The quality of sound mixing, which varies between Republik shows, heavily favoured the low notes, but the band’s skill easily trumped the situation. The horns came through strong from the start, and never let up.
As promised by their recorded work, Streetlight Manifesto showed a variety of genres during their show. Each band member brought their own style to the live performance, blending their own unique flavor of ska — using folk, rock, pop/punk, jazz and funk elements along with ska’s usual reputation as reggae’s progenitor. The band’s versatility shone through the event, never faltering for a second.
The band’s guitarist and lead singer, Tomas Kalnoky, cites the soundtrack for the film Stand by Me as his main influence, but added he takes cues from diverse range of bands – from Nirvana to The Drifters. The band proves that since producing their first album, they’ve added more and more eastern European and gypsy sounds to give their music a definite world influence.
Only a flexible band such as Streetlight could pull off Kurt Cobain, 1950s doo-wop, and gypsy sounds simultaneously, and at their Republik show, they surpassed all expectations with flying colours.