Streetlight Manifesto @ The Bottom Lounge, Chicago, IL

Live Reviews | Jun 25th, 2004

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Date: July 25th, 2004
Opening Bands: The Ecliptics
Venue: The Bottom Lounge, Chicago

All of Sunday night’s bands were family, according the Ecliptics, an upbeat Chicago ska band. That was because they all knew each other and had been playing shows together for years. The Ecliptics’ set was full of fun surprises, including a thrash metal moment led by the band’s trombonist who had been flown in from LA for the show, as well as a highly unexpected surge of screaming vocals performed by the otherwise relatively quiet keyboard player. The singer stage dove as the guitarist rocked out, until his guitar string broke. Yet the band played on the best they could and persevered regardless of the absent string.

Although the Ecliptics were good, Streetlight Manifesto easily blew them far, far away. For having an uncomfortable night’s sleep underneath their tour van using their backpacks for pillows and a bad day to follow, this band still managed to sound phenomenal. Streetlight Manifesto’s music is somehow unique from other ska bands and demonstrates perfectly timed pauses that occur amidst the songs, which are just so meticulously clean. As many people know, Streetlight Manifesto’s singer and guitarist used to front another ska band, Catch22. It is safe to say that Streetlight Manifesto’s sound closely resembles that of old Catch22 records, except this time around the music is even better. As if there could be anything better than old Catch22, right? There is, and it goes by the name of Streetlight Manifesto.

It was difficult to see Streetlight Manifesto’s drummer. The musician was out of sight behind the other six members of the band who had created a line across the front of the stage. That is what happens when there is a brass section accommodating a trumpet, a trombone, as well as two saxophones in a band. The trumpet player actively pointed his instrument at kids in the audience with enthusiasm to get them pumped and make them feel like a part of the show. When the band ran into technical difficulties, the guys tried miserably to stage babble while equipment was fixed. They even told jokes. It was a successful attempt, for it is doubtful any of the sweaty fans minded too much the break from moshing in such a hot and humid venue. If only the Bottom Lounge had air conditioning. Oh well, like the band said, Chicago likes it HOT! Towards the end of the set, the bass player broke a string. It was amusing how he seemed to carry a fuck it attitude by putting down his bass and, instead of trying to play with out the string, he just stage dove into the crowd and proceeded to mosh in the pit. The bassist also made sure to advertise that Streetlight Manifesto’s drummer is single, so go for it, groupies!


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