September 23, 2020

Streetlight leads revolution at Starland

The mass of Streetlight Manifesto enthusiasts at the Starland Ballroom on Oct. 4 released a blissful roar when their beloved band’s front man, Tomas Kalnoky, led the other six members of the ska punk septet off the stage.

The band’s departure signaled the first half of its final performance of a long tour, and its last concert for at least the next year and a half.  It was time for a hard earned break after churning out countless numbers from both of its studio albums, “Everything Goes Numb” (2003) and “Somewhere In the Between” (2007), of which the band played both in full by the end of the night.

Why did the various pits suddenly fill up with curious onlookers? Why the hell would we dare applaud Streetlight Manifesto’s exit stage right?  Because after the better part of a decade it was finally time for “99 Songs of Revolution.”

“99 Songs of Revolution” is an eight-album project that, due to equipment robberies and money troubles, has been on the back burner since the band’s inception in 2002.  The collection of covers is literally 99 songs that have influenced the various artists taking part in the venture.

The four groups that will record two albums apiece include Streetlight Manifesto, Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution and two other associated collectives.

As the dimmed lighting was raised, a gravelly articulated and even faster paced version of the Simon and Garfunkel hit “Me and Julio Down By the School Yard” induced a venue wide sing along.

The band turned the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ “Hell,” a poppy damnation and hell fire themed tune, into a harder ska punk classic. Kalnoky also transformed “Linoleum,” a blistering punk rock anthem by NOFX, by slowing it down and stripping the usually electrically charged song via acoustic guitar.

The final song played off the new album was “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service. Streetlight played it rather genuinely without any large structural changes.

Look for covers of Nirvana and The Drifters, two of Kalnoky’s biggest musical influences, to show up on this album, more precisely The Drifters’ 1964 hit “Under the Boardwalk.”

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