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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What To Do Tonight: Streetlight Manifesto

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 8:00 AM

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Streetlight Manifesto represent everything that made the third-wave ska revival great: a tight, flashy horn section; uptempo arrangements full of frenetic energy; punky guitars and vocals; a slight hardcore edge. What they blessedly lack is the watered-down, formulaic ska-light pap that rode the heels of that wave onto the radio dial in the mid-’90s. Thanks to singer Tomas Kalnoky’s rough edge, the band has retained a strong dose of punk, which plays well against the tight and cleanly orchestrated music. The horn lines, in particular, are lean, muscular and creatively arranged. While the band clearly falls into many of third-wave ska’s formulas, it’s not because it lacks originality; there’s real love there for the choppy, offbeat guitars and the bright pop of brass. Without these elements, the music would cease to be what it is in the first place: a portable party machine for sweaty inebriates, unmoved by matters of faddish popularity. Another reason this show’s a must-see: After this tour, the band is taking a year-long hiatus and will then cut back its touring schedule. !OUTERNATIONAL! and Broadway Calls open at 8 p.m. at the Agora Ballroom (5000 Euclid Ave., 216.881.2221, clevelandagora.com). Tickets: $16. — Nicholas Hall

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