There's this little band called Streetlight Manifesto -- you may have heard of 'em -- that played on November 8, 2007 in Buffalo.
A local Buffalo band called And Many More opened the show. They were wonderful. I may be saying this because one of their trumpet players is a friend of mine from Geneseo, but they were great. Everyone could tell that they really love what they do. I'm pretty sure they've been around for a long time (since high school), and it showed in the way that they fed off each other very well. All in all, they were a perfect opening act.
I didn't really pay attention to the Stitch Up. I was watching the Sabres beat the Bruins while they were on stage -- go Sabres! Eat it, Boston. However, I digress.
Suburban Legends. What can I say about Suburban Legends? They were absurdly over the top. They had choreographed dance moves and the guitarist had a fan blowing his hair just to make him look hawt. They were ridiculous. It seems as if they're trying to make ska marketable by wearing the "uniform" (girl pants and shirts, professional haircuts, etc.) and singing songs about DJs spinning their fave tracks. No joke, these were some of their lyrics: "Hey hey DJ / Come on spin the record ‘round / I know that I've got the moves to bring this disco down / Hey hey DJ / Come on play the record I like / Ain't no stoppin’ body rockin’ / ‘Til the morning light." What? Sorry, I know they had cred before, but they're just trying so hard to sell their personas. I have to give them credit, however. They were incredible showmen that love what they do. I just happen to hate what they do. (Oh, they do a killer cover of "Under the Sea" from "The Little Mermaid" though, so they're not all bad.)
When I had last seen Streetlight Manifesto, suffice it to say I was not impressed. I got the feeling that they were trying too hard to be the hardest possible version of themselves, not to mention hardly playing any of their more major key songs. However, I shall not live in the past for this review.
Streetlight Manifesto opened with "Would You Be Impressed" from their new album, Somewhere in the Between. It was a perfect choice for an opening song, replete with their characteristic high-energy horns and sing-alongs. Even though most people in the crowd didn't know the lyrics, the band had everyone yelling "It's not my fault!" at the top of their lungs by the end. Throughout the night, the band hardly spoke at all, furiously going through almost their entire discography (two CDs, but it's still a lot of songs). They even did a medley of "Point/Counterpoint" and "Keasbey Nights" per the usual, a fan favorite that I feel is just going to be played more often. Even though they played a lot of songs from their new album that most people failed to know unless they managed to get their hands on the leaked copy circulating through this here Internet, they somehow managed to get the crowd into all the new songs they played -- truly a feat. There was a perfect mixture of new and old here, and even a little BOTAR action thrown in, which i managed to slow-dance to, something I never thought I would do at a show such as this. I can tell that they're trying to get more intricate with their horn lines and melodies, which is tough to do without sounding like pompous pricks. They pull it off perfectly, mixing complicated lines with simple guitar parts in every song.
I do not have the set list, unfortunately. Just trust me that all their good stuff was played.
Let me close by saying that I realized something looking through the crowd that night. Streetlight Manifesto has an incredibly universal appeal. Everyone from fifteen-year-old kids in Hollister shorts to aging rude boys showed up and got along. Streetlight Manifesto is unintentionally reaching out to everyone by playing great, but still accessible music.
Oh, and my goofy, 6'-6" ass crowd-surfed at the show. If anyone got kicked in the head by my size 16s, my apologies.