Tag Archives: Streetlight Manifesto

Ten Photos That Defined my 2013 Concert Experience

by Vasilis


Shone @ Mercury Lounge (New York, NY), Februrary 7 – After a perfectly orchestrated social media campaign that led to the most commented thread in Absolutepunk.net history, the Shone mystery was finally revealed. Once the shock and mystery wore off, the band, made up of members of Long Island staples Brand New and Robbers, played their first show at Mercury Lounge. Like the social media campaign, the evening was strange, memorable and a little terrifying, with animal sounds, face paint, and spooky music accompanying the newly-formed band.


Frank Turner @ Blackheart Bar (Austin, TX), SXSW 2013, March 15 – The defining moment of my life as a music fan was getting to work and attend SXSW this year. On Friday night, I ran to catch Frank Turner’s 1am set following a long work day, and it was well worth it. I would end up seeing Frank 3 times during the last 24 hours of the incredible SXSW 2013 festival.


Green Day @ The Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY), April 7 – Green Day is my favorite band their live show is unmatched. When I was lucky enough to score 2 general admission spots to their headlining show I knew it would be a night to remember. As always, the performance the band put on was nothing short of perfect and is one of the best shows I went to all year.


Fall Out Boy @ Terminal 5 (New York, NY), May 29 – One of the biggest music stories of 2013 for me was the reemergence of Fall Out Boy. Following their four-year hiatus, the pop/rock group recorded their new album and planned an entire tour without any news leaking. The album was a huge success, and their small-market headlining tour sold out instantly. Their New York set showcased their improved live act while demonstrating their high level of energy and fun.


Mumford & Sons @ Forest Hills Stadium (Queens, NY), August 28 – Having the opportunity to see a band I really like perform on my home borough of Queens, New York was easily one of the coolest concert experiences I’ve ever had. Between some annoying crowd members and flaws in the stadium’s design, the show definitely had downsides; however, that did not stop this from being an extremely enjoyable concert by an incredible live band 10 minutes from my home.


Yellowcard @ Irving Plaza (New York, NY), September 9, 2013 – Yellowcard put a fun twist on the 10-year craze, instead releasing an acoustic rendition of their classic decade-old Ocean Avenue and performing an acoustic tour. The experience, equipped with a full electric encore of their hits, was beautifully nostalgic and reminded me of how much this band means to me.


The Front Bottoms @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, NY), November 13 – Not many bands can take a tour in which they’re the supporting act and make it their own. The Front Bottoms did just that while opening for Manchester Orchestra. The quirky New Jersey indie-dance-punk band worked the crowd into a frenzy with the help of their infectious music and their wacky arm-waving friends, who made an appearance during the catchy tune “The Beers”.


Streetlight Manifesto @ Starland Ballroom (Sayreville, NJ), November 16 – I said everything I need to say about the band that made me fall in love with live music on my farewell post to them. Still, this picture remains one of the most memorable I have ever taken from their last show in NJ and serves as a fitting farewell (or “see you later”) for the Jersey ska-punk band.


The Wonder Years @ 89 North (Patchogue, NY), December 15 – Realist pop-punk band The Wonder Years have been growing at a rapid pace over the years and are now headlining 1000-2000 cap venues. This made their holiday-themed acoustic tour, which closed out its four-show run on Long Island, even more special. Playing in front of 450 people (the show sold out in mere hours), the band threw in some amazing surprise cuts in their set. The venue was decorated with trees and snowflakes and fans dressed up in ugly Christmas sweaters to receive free cookies and hot chocolate. As far as holiday acoustic shows go, this one was incredibly fun night.


Brand New @ The Paramount (Huntington, NY), December 20 – Though show should go down as one of the best I have ever seen, it’s the issues around it that may define it. The band announced small-venue discography shows where they would play their four albums, resulting in scalping issues when tickets sold out in seconds. At the Long Island hometown show, when fans expect earlier classic records Your Favorite Weapon and Deja Entendu, the band threw a curveball and played their latter two (incredibly stellar) records, much to some people’s disappointment. When Daisy was played instead of Deja Entendu, some booed and even walked out, taking to social media to voice displeasure. Being cryptic and unpredictable has always led to Brand New being placed on a sort of pedestal and examined closely through a microscope, but the performance was still breath-taking and their experience of seeing those records was perfect.

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Top Albums of 2013 (as chosen by Vas)

Band – Album – “Favorite Song”

  1. The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation – “I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral”

  2. Streetlight Manifesto – The Hands That Thieve – “Your Day Will Come”

  3. Balance & Composure – The Things We Think We’re Missing – “Keepsake”

  4. Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart – “Plain Sailing Weather”

  5. Kevin Devine – Bulldozer/Bubblegum – “Redbird”

  6. Into It. Over It. – Intersections – “Contractual Obligation”

  7. The Front Bottoms – Talon of the Hawk – “Backflip”

  8. Arctic Monkeys – AM – “R U Mine?”

  9. Citizen – Youth – “Roam the Room”

  10. The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Whenever, If Ever – “Getting Sodas”

  11. Fall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll – “Save Rock and Roll”

  12. Saves the Day – Saves the Day – “Ain’t No Kind of Love”

  13. The Swellers – Light Under Closed Doors – “Got Social”

  14. Mixtapes – Ordinary Silence – “Elevator Days”

  15. Sainthood Reps – Headswell – “Headswell”

  16. Allison Weiss – Say What You Mean – “One Way Love”

  17. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City – “Unbelievers”

  18. Have Mercy – The Earth Pushed Back – “This Old Ark”

  19. Polar Bear Club – Death Chorus – “WLWYCD”

  20. Paramore – Paramore – “Anklebiters”

2013 Top 5 EPs:

  1. Vinnie Caruana – City By The Sea

  2. Pentimento – Inside the Sea

  3. Their / They’re / There – Their / They’re / There

  4. Misser – Distancing

  5. Why Bother? – This Isn’t Very Good


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“THANK YOU STREETLIGHT!” – A Moment of Silence For One Of My Favorite Bands

by Vasilis, contributing writer


There are so many things I will remember from the last Streetlight Manifesto show at Starland Ballroom on November 16, 2013.

The drive. The anxiety shifting to a sense of accomplishment that I made it on my own. The huge parking lot. The excitement of the line moving. The first step inside Starland Ballroom. The beautiful bathrooms. Exploring a new venue. We Do The Ska. Gumby and The Banana. Chants of BA-NA-NA! Cheering for iHop. “Fuck You Dennys!” Crowd surfers during Dan Potthast’s set. Dance party during Dan’s set. Larry! “We’re all ass-holes! *clap clap clapclapclap*”. Bubbles. Camera crews. The lights going down. The forward rush of the floor as the band took the stage. Sweat. Pain. Pushing. Getting smacked in the head. The familiar excitement of hearing “We Will Fall Together”. Sweat. Tomas’ grunting stage banter. Bending the rules to play “We Are The Few” even though they played it the night before. Hearing their entire new album The Hands That Thieve. Tomas forgetting the words to “Your Day Will Come”. “Stick THAT on your tumblr!” So much sweat. The Big Sleep. 12341234. Somewhere In The Between. “Thank You Streetlight! *clap clap clapclapclap*”. “We’re Not Leaving! *clap clap clapclapclap*”. The final bow. The music coming up. My new beautiful poster. The end of the night. The ride home.


There are so many things I will remember from the 15 Streetlight Manifesto shows I have been to in my life, from my first show at Roseland Ballroom on January 20, 2009.

Losing my glasses 5 times, only to find them before they were crushed. The sweat and post-show showers. Losing my voice. Horn parts sounded out by mouth. That time I happened to be in DC when they were and ended up going to see them at the 930 Club. The biggest Warped Tour circle pit I ever saw. Everything Goes Numb in its entirety. Seeing The Wonder Years for the first time and instantly falling in love. Conga line during Reel Big Fish’s set. Seeing them play my college campus. The Crazy Donkey post-hiatus show.  Meeting Michael Emerson. The insane pits. The skanking. Chants for Mrs. Buttersworth. Fans playing “duck, duck goose” pre-show. Tomas’ stage banter (or lack thereof). The amazing horn lines. The insane drumming. So much sweat. The excitement of buying a ticket. The wait until the show. The sadness when it’s over.

Without this band, my love for live music would not have been born. I owe this band a tremendous debt of gratitude. Tomas Kalnoky has made it clear this is not the end of the band, it’s the end for now. So to Streetlight Manifesto, I say this is not goodbye, this is see you later.

A moment of silence, please…


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Four Songs That Changed My Life Forever

by Vasilis

    On the train ride home from work this Thursday, I was listening to Streetlight Manifesto’s stellar album Somewhere In The Between and lamenting the fact that after their New York show on Tuesday night, I may never see them live again. After “The End of the Beginning” tour, the band has sworn to take a lot of time off, leaving their future very uncertain. But while listening to the opening track “We Will Fall Together”, it really hit me that this particular song has had a lasting effect on my life. I realized just how much I will miss hearing it live and witnessing the ensuing mayhem of the crowd as the first notes blare over the speakers. That song inspired me to recount the four biggest songs that have had a profound impact on my life.

Somewhere In The Between – Streetlight Manifesto

    I remember buying Thursday’s “Kill The House Lights”, which came with a Victory Records 2007 Sampler. By 2007, Victory Records’ reputation as a powerhouse started diminishing as all the good bands left for greener pastures so I had little interest in the sampler. However, I decided to glance through it, and this song was on it. 20 seconds into the song, I was already downloading the band’s entire discography. It was as close to a literal jaw-dropping moment as I have ever had listening to music. The horns… the drums… the guitar… everything about the song was so fresh, so wild, so unpredictable, so invigorating. I had never experienced music like this and it led me not only to falling in love with the band, but the entire genre of ska/punk and additionally led me to see them live and helped me fall in love with live music. My first “real concert” (away from Hostra’s campus) was seeing Streetlight Manifesto open for Reel Big Fish and it was a life-altering event. They opened with this song, as if they knew what it meant to me, and the rest was history. Since then, I’ve seen them fourteen times and I can trace each moment, and each of the almost 200 shows/concerts I’ve seen since, to this song.


Devotion and Desire – Bayside

    Sometimes you can’t anticipate the moment you’re going to be introduced to a band that changes your life. With Bayside, a friend of a friend showed me her myspace song and told me I had to hear her Myspace song. That song was Devotion and Desire by Queens natives Bayside. Without meaning to sound at all melodramatic or hyperbolic, this song saved my life. I was introduced to Bayside at a moment in time when I wasn’t enjoying life at all and couldn’t muster any excitement for anything. Bayside gave me an outlet to express my pain and became a cathartic soundtrack that has remained a constant in my life to this day. Bayside will forever remain a personal top five band and Bayside a personal top five album because no album or lyrics resonates more with me emotionally than this album, and no song more than “Devotion and Desire”. Years later, Bayside is the reason I was introduced to my girlfriend, which continued their far-reaching presence in my personal life. For that, I will always love them.


Washington Square Park – The Wonder Years

    This song serves as part two to “Devotion and Desire”. Along with Bayside, The Wonder Years’ impact on my life extends further than just their music. This band, and their album The Upsides, encompasses a complete shift in my mindset on life. I was introduced to them (mainly thanks to Streetlight Manifesto, who took them out on tour during the summer of 2010) at a time when I was emotionally unsatisfied and wasn’t sure if I wanted to go on. The band entered with Soupy’s perseverance about fighting and grabbing life and making what you want of it, and it is exactly what I needed at the exact time I needed it. The opening line “I’m looking for the upsides to these panic attack nights” is the rally cry I was yearning for. This album more than anything helped save my life, and for that reason I get especially testy when people criticize The Wonder Years (and Bayside). These bands (and these specific songs) mean so much more than the guitars, the drums, the bass, or the vocals. These songs mean the world to me.


Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day

    I sincerely do not mean to be cliché or propose that this is Green Day’s biggest hit or their greatest song. It is neither. But for me, this is the first song I ever heard by Green Day, the first rock song I ever fell in love with and as a result the song that got me into the band that got me into music and, as a result, every single other band I love to this day. Without Green Day there would be no Blink-182 for me, no Bayside, no Wonder Years, no Streetlight Manifesto, no Brand New, no New Found Glory, etc etc. There is no profound reason why this is the most influential song of my life, except for the fact that without this song I would not have discovered music and without discovering the music I love and the bands that make me tick, I would be a completely different person than I am now. Sometimes, it is really just as simple as that.


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Midyear Musical Roundup – Part One

Imageby Vas, contributing writer

It’s a good thing we didn’t do a top 5, since I have already discussed my 4th and 5th picks (The Front Bottoms and The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, respectively) ad nauseum in my reviews. A special honorable mention goes out to indie pop punk group Mixtapes, who put forth their strongest effort to date with the infectiously catchy and well-crafted Ordinary Silence. Now, on to my top 3:

3) Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart

I wanted to write a full review of British country-folk-punk singer-songwriter Frank Turner’s fifth studio release Tape Deck Heart but I genuinely don’t think I could have done it justice. The album features 18 (that’s right, 18) new tracks from the songwriting machine, who wears his heart on his sleeve on every single one of them. To be able to use language as effectively as Frank Turner does to get his point across and make you live through his experiences is a gift. While 18 songs undoubtedly means there will be a few weaker or fillers on the album, that in no way detracts from how many strong tracks there are. “Recovery” raucously kicks off the album with a chorus reminiscent of “If Ever I Stray”. “Plain Sailing Weather” is the story of losing faith in love woven wonderfully with his masterful lyricism, excellent guitar playing and brilliant contributions from his backing band, “The Sleeping Souls”. His evolution as a musician from his first album to now has been a great ride for his die hard fans, and Tape Deck Heart is just another reward from the hard-working, constantly touring Frank Turner.

2) Streetlight Manifesto – The Hands That Thieve

For the longest time, I (along with any Streetlight fan who is well aware of frontman Tomas Kalnoky’s notorious perfectionism and the group’s long-running feud with their label, Victory Records) thought this album would never see the light of day. Even with the album’s release, Victory refused to give the band the album to the group so they can honor purchases from their site. Luckily, a leak found its way onto the internet (don’t they always) and the band encouraged fans to illegally download it instead of supporting Victory. Though only 10 songs long, the album clocks in at 50 minutes and is an epic adventure through a ska-punk roller coaster that is often unpredictable but never dull. The horn lines, which have always been the group’s strongest suit (the band has one trumpet, one trombone, an alto/baritone sax and a tenor sax) are as blaring and intricate as ever. The drums and bass continue to excel and Tomas displays his knack for witty and scathing lyrics. “The Littlest Things”, “With Any Sort of Certainty”, and “Your Day Will Come” are as memorable as any song the group has ever written and I’m sure fans will forgive their perfectionist attitude and the multitude of delays if this is the result we get. Sadly, the group has announced a touring hiatus following their two New Jersey shows this November, but chances are we haven’t heard the last of this 7-piece Jersey ska outfit.

1) The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation

I think I covered really everything I could possibly say about this album in my review from May 18th. The Greatest Generation, like their past two efforts, was captivating and truly inspiring to listen to in a way very few pop punk bands truly are nowadays. It breaks away from potential problematic clichés with its brutal honesty (both lyrically and musically) and its hopeful optimism. Soupy’s voice has never sounded better and the group’s music has never sounded more passionate, crisper, and more authoritative, as each member is given their moment to shine and grasps it defiantly. From the quieter opener “There, There” to the more pulsing “We Could Die Like This” and the aggressive “Cul-De-Sac”, each track is a journey through growing up, attacking failure and grabbing success in any way that we can. The album closer, “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral”, is a song three albums in the making, a perfect epilogue to the trilogy about growing up and the start of a whole new chapter in the young group’s already very impressive career.

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