Streetlight Manifesto exhausts energetic concertgoers

(Photo courtesy of Marlena Sauceda)

Streetlight Manifesto rocked the shoes off crowd members at the Marquee Theater on Dec. 1.

The seven-member ska group made a stop in Tempe on its North American tour and made the first night of December a day the crowd won’t soon forget. The show was a nonstop, high-energy experience, during which several crowd surfers lost shoes and other articles of clothing in the melee.

The night began with Lionize, a band that plays rich, blues-rock that is complimented nicely by lead singer Nate Bergman’s gruff voice. The band’s set was full of groovy instrumental pieces, and Streetlight’s baritone saxophone player Mike Brown joined the group onstage for a few songs.

Following Lionize were the guitar-heavy, pop punk sounds of Hostage Calm, a band clearly inspired by Taking Back Sunday. Although Hostage Calm’s performance wasn’t quite of the same caliber as Lionize, the group did a good job of getting the crowd charged and ready for the headliner.

Tomas Kalnoky and Mike Brown were joined by Chris Thatcher on drums, Pete McCullough on bass, Matt Stewart on trumpet, Nadav Nirenberg on trombone and Jim Conti on tenor saxophone. The group has great chemistry, and the band mates obviously enjoy playing together as much as their fans enjoy watching them.

Streetlight kept the audience roaring throughout its entire 75-minute set. The group played a combination of songs from albums recorded almost a decade ago and threw in a few songs that will be on their new album, “The Hands that Thieve,” which will be released sometime next month.

The set started off with the fast-paced anthem “If and When We Rise Again,” working the crowd into a frenzy that continued with the horn-heavy “Everything Went Numb” and didn’t stop until Streetlight played its last note. Each song was more intense than the one before it, working the crowd, the band and even security guards into a sweat.

Respect should be paid to the security team at the Marquee for handling the never-ending onslaught of crowd surfers. After Kalnoky threw several water bottles into the audience, one security guard began handing out bottles to the fans in the front row, who poured some into their mouths before passing them back to their fellow concertgoers.

As dehydrated, sweaty and bruised as the audience became, there was nothing but happy faces after the show ended. Streetlight put on an incredible performance, interacting with the crowd and joking around with one another on stage.

Individually, each member of Streetlight Manifesto is highly skilled. Paired with Kalnoky’s lyrics, which apparently every audience member knew by heart, the band creates some of the best ska music to date.

It’s almost impossible to pick out songs that were crowd favorites, as each one made the noise level rise and the mosh pit gain momentum. Some notable numbers were the mash-up of the songs “Moment of Silence” and “Moment of Violence,” “Down, Down, Down to Mephisto’s Café” and “A Better Place, A Better Time.” The songs from the upcoming album kept the audience going as much as the songs they’ve loved for years and surely got fans excited for the undetermined album release.

Streetlight finished the night by playing “Point/Counterpoint” and “The Big Sleep” for its encore performance, ending the show on a high note and leaving the crowd exhilarated and exhausted.


Reach the reporter at


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.