December 2, 2012
The Yost staff had no idea the insanity that would ensue once Streetlight Manifesto took stage for their performance last night. The opening bands Lionize and Hostage Calm were hardly any indication of the energy fans saved for the headlining New Jersey ska-punk band.
There were makeshift barriers placed with two supporting boxes between the center stage and barricades, which proved to be more burdensome than helpful at keeping fans at bay. The crowd went bat shit crazy for as soon as vocalist and guitarist, Tomas Kalnoky started off the night with a snippet of a new track.
With only two security guards present, it didn't take long until they realized they needed more man power as the railings began to sway and were constantly almost overturned by the crowd. It took roughly seven guards in the photo pit to hold back the throng of fans pushing and crowd surfers. A large chance of the evening consisted of security guards desperately trying to uphold the barricade; a few ended up sitting on top of the stage, using their legs to keep fans from toppling over with the rail. Ironically enough, a few fans voiced their concerns about how the makeshift barricade wouldn't hold up for a band like Streetlight.
Shoes and hats were continuously tossed onstage to which Kalnoky stopped and responded to a fan, "You asshole! I saw you!" And without hesitation, found the person and tossed it back in his direction.
Articles of clothing weren't the only things being tossed around. Bodies attempted to crowd surf and only some were successful as seven guards shoved surfers back into the pit. As the guards focused on keeping the barrier stable, a few managed to run onstage and dance with the band before a Yost staff member would snatch them off.
Despite the band being notorious for minimal to no banter while onstage, the band's infectious energy and back to back songs made up for the lack of audience interaction of most bands. Fan favorites like "A Better Place, A Better Time" and "Point/Counterpoint" with "Keasy Nights" intertwined had the crowd going wild, considering the band hardly plays those two songs live. New songs from their upcoming album, "The Hands That Thieve" allowed fans to rest and catch their breath before the energy picked up again. Alto saxophonist, Mike Brown, especially, interacted with fans, making silly faces at those in the crowd and dancing wildly onstage.
At one point, the barricade did fall loose and it took a while for the security guards to set it back into place. Fans near the front were in constant tug-o-war, with a hoard of fans pushing forward while security guards pushed in the opposite direction, just as hard. Although majority of those against the rail where in pain, no one wanted to give up their spot against the barricade.
By the end of the night, the Yost staff had to force fans out the venue as they scurried among the floor, looking for guitar picks and other treasures that are left behind as the crowd shuffles out. Everyone walked out drenched in sweat and beer and it wasn't until outside where fans felt a cool breeze as rain drizzled and fans continued to mingle outdoors.
Critical Bias: Streetlight Manifesto is definitely the most talented band pigeonholed into the ska genre without relying on the typical, Orange County third wave ska sound.
The Crowd: OC ska fans, pop punk fans and all those inbetween
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Overheard in the Crowd: "This isn't even the gist of it. This isn't even a fraction of what's going to happen. They need more people up here," a fan said after the fifth song and more security guards rushed into the photo pit to help hold up the barricades.
Random Notebook Dump: It's only at ska shows where you'll find fans humming along to the horn section.
"Everything Went Numb"
"We Will Fall Together"
"Down, Down, Down to Mephisto's Cafe"
"Here's To Life"
"Watch It Crash"
"A Moment of Silence"
"A Moment of Violence"
"A Better Place, A Better Time"
"Somewhere In the Between"
"The Big Sleep"