Streetlight Manifesto / Dan Potthast – Live In Vancouver (Oct. 19th, 2013)

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Streetlight Manifesto / Dan Potthast

Live In Vancouver (October 19th, 2013) - The Venue - Vancouver, BC

Once you go to enough shows, you can pretty much guess the set times for any of them. It’s generally the same structure; so despite the fact that Saturday’s ska-filled evening at The Venue was billed as an early show I figured arriving an hour after doors opened would be perfect to catch the openers. How wrong I was, as Mike Park had already played and left so the night, for me anyway, began with MU330’s front man Dan Potthast doing his acoustic set and he started it quite well.

Like Chris Murray The One Man Ska Band, Potthast was a breath of fresh air in a steady stream of singer-songwriters. Upbeat and energetic, Potthast filled his songs with upstrokes and two-toned ska melodies with a somewhat sophisticated edge to them. Playful and gimmicky, Potthast was equal parts comedian and musician; and while his songs at times felt forced there was a sincerity that was undeniable and fun.

Like the thirty second anthem KKK Highway or the closing fight back Heckler Song, he had the crowd laughing and cheering along as much as he had them dancing and clapping. Many of the songs were newly written, as he explained he was trying to write a song each day. Tonight’s effort was written between his and Park’s set about MU330’s European van driver. As you would expect from a song written performed with the lyrics sheet taped to the side of the singer’s guitar, the song was disjointed and rough but you couldn’t help smile at the absurdity of it. And you know never know, with some tweaking it could turn into something like the football anthem about The Baltimore Ravens he wrote while in that city for the superbowl – because man, that song is proof that writing every day can lead to something fantastic.

As eight oclock rolled around, New Jersey’s Streetlight Manifesto hit the stage for what may, or may not be, their farewell tour. Joined by A Wilhelm Scream’s bassist Brian Robinson, they opened the evening with With Any Sort of Certainty but it wasn’t until We Will Fall Together that the band (and the crowd) really exploded. While they sprinkled in several cuts from The Hand That Thieves (which they encouraged people to go online and steal anyway they could), it was always their earlier cuts that really got the crowd going.

Skanking, jumping, and pushing, the crowd was as big a part of the show as the band was. When they slowed it down for Toe To Toe and the acoustic cover of Bandits Of The Acoustic Revolution’s It’s A Wonderful Life– the crowd swayed in unison. They exploded for Down Down Down To Memphisto’s Café and celebrated life with a gusto on Here’s To Life.

Like with every Streetlight show, they didn’t waste any time with banter. When most of your songs clock in at around five minutes, you don’t have time to spare. Instead Tomas Kalnoky and crew delivered a rousing, non-stop set of energetic ska tunes. They sounded perfect, Kalnoky’s lyrical genius played through and momentarily friendships were made as strangers sang in unison; and while a chant of “ten more songs” only resulted in them coming back for Somewhere In The Between and The Big Sleep, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone disappointed.

Keeping the promise of an early show, I stepped into the crisp Vancouver air at nine thirty. The Saturday night was still young, but drenched in sweat, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.