Streetlight Manifesto / the Tossers / Drat - live in Charlotte (Cover Artwork)

Streetlight Manifesto / the Tossers / Drat

live in Charlotte (2005)

live show

As a recent transplant into Charlotte from Ft. Lauderdale, I've witnessed the Charlotte-area ska/punk scene for only a short time, and I've been mostly unimpressed by what I've seen. Over the past week however, I've found that there can be a rich bounty of bands to be seen from time to time, with this show and two other recent ones (Bouncing Souls and None More Black). This one blew the other two away, hands down, and was one of the best shows I've ever been to, regardless of the location.

I got to Tremont just as Drat was setting up. The music hall is a nice, smaller atmosphere, allowing you to get very close to the stage, or, if you prefer, lounge on one of several couches. Drat was the only one of the three bands I wasn't a big fan of (in fact, I'd never heard of them). Their set was musically good and I plan on checking out some of their stuff, but their biggest problem was stage presence, or lack thereof. They ran through their songs, standing in place the entire time, making a few bad jokes throughout. Didn't get things started off nicely, but oh well, it wasn't them I came to see.

The Tossers took a while to get set up, but the performance was well worth the wait. Their songs were full of energy, and there were plenty about liquor, always a given for a Tossers performance. The crowd finally got going, with a nice pit forming almost immediately, full of kids doing drunken jigs to the tune of "Monday Morning."

A side note: I haven't moshed in a pit this cool in a very, very long time. There wasn't a single asshole in the crowd, and it's always fun to know that when you fall down, there'll be five or six guys picking you back up again, instead of trampling on you.

Anyways, the Tossers finished up their great performace with a few ballads off their new album, punctuated when Duggins fumbled a few lyrics as he struggled to keep his cigarette in his mouth. Classic-ness, for sure.

Finally, it was time for Streetlight. I grabbed a beer and made sure to get a standing spot at the very front of the stage. Streetlight got set up pretty quick; I laughed a bit to myself when a pack of girls behind me swooned over the guy they thought was Tomas, but was actually Jim Conti. I gotta tell you, there was an amazing energy running through the crowd as soon as the dudes got on stage, and by the time they ripped into "A Moment of Violence," all 900 in the hall were belting out lyrics with the band, a theme that would follow through to the end of the set. The climax of their performace came when, during the breakdown of "Point/Counterpoint," the ensemble transitioned flawlessly into "Keasbey Nights," playing that entire song, then picking up "P/CP" where they left off without missing a note. The band closed out with "Big Sleep," complete with an improv horn section, only to be brought back to play "If and When We Rise Again" as an encore to the crowd that was chanting their names.

Afterwards, I hung around the backstage entrance where I was able to chat with Paul and Daniel, and then finally Tomas for a while. I can't tell if Tomas was weirded out when I hugged him, but I sure as hell loved it; an awesome end to an awesome night.

Really, I'm hard-pressed to find any flaws here, as every band played tight, and the soundstage was very, very impressive, a far cry from the guys who had butchered the Bouncing Souls at the same venue only a week prior. My only little nitpicks were the shortness of Streetlight's set (to be fair, they played every song off Everything Went Numb except "The Saddest Song" and "Failing, Flailing") and the fact that they didn't play anything of Keasbey Nights II, which I would have loved.

But, come on, I hugged Tomas. 10/10, and can't wait 'till they're back in town again.