There exists a few bands and albums that are considered sacred to us New Jersey punks who were teenagers around the time that Y2K was going to unleash the nukes and kill us all. The Bouncing Souls (obviously), Lifetime, and if you were one of the nerds who liked to flaunt the checkerboard pattern, Catch 22’s Keasby Nights.
Most fans already know the history, but quick refresher for those that don’t: after the release of the debut album, singer/guitarist and primary songwriter of Keasby Nights Thomas Kalnoky left the band and started Streetlight Manifesto (who eventually re-recorded the album).
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album, Streetlight Manifesto announced that they’d be playing Keasby Nights in its entirety at a 3500 person venue in Tom’s River, NJ. What was more of a surprise was the announcement right before tickets went on sale was that they’d also be playing the album from front to back the night before, but at the much smaller, more intimate 300 person capacity House Of Independents in Asbury Park. I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to the quickly sold out show.
I made the trek to my ancestral homeland of NJ and got there towards the end of the only opener, Dan Potthast (which is a shame because I do really like the MU330 vocalist’s solo work… but traffic is a bitch). I did get to hear the necessary MU330 cover “KKK Highway” along with my personal favorite song of his solo stuff “Fan” so I have that going for me at least.
The room was obviously packed (with plenty of people I don’t know but have seeing at shows since I was 16 which is always crazy), and Streetlight took the stage and joked with the crowd “we’re going to play a new song” right before kicking things off with “Dear Sergio”.
The cramped room erupted as a circle/skanking pit formed and we shouted the anthems of our youth. As I’m sure is the case for a lot of people there, Keasby Nights isn’t something I throw on very often, but once Streetlight Manifesto started playing not a single word was forgotten (which makes you wonder just what percentage of our brain is used just for the storage of ska/punk lyrics).
Video by Youtube user: People Of Punk Rock
As usual, Streetlight Manifesto sounded as tight and crisp as ever. They are alway one of the most consistent and well rehearsed bands, and never fail to sound pretty much like the album live. The band ripped through Keasby Nights, playing all of their classics to an enthusiastic crowd. It has to be a bit surreal for Thomas… to hear a crowd of people singing along to a song he wrote about his crush (Kristina) when he was just a teenager to be shouted with fervor 20 years later.
Right before the album was coming to a close and they were supposed to play “1234”, the band left the stage for the obvious encore, but when they returned they announced that since Keasby Nights is only about 45 minutes long, they’d play a couple of other songs as well. Streetlight Manifesto started their encore with “We Will Fall Together”, the opener off of their 2nd full length Somewhere In The Between, following it with “Here’s To Life”. However it was the opening riff of another old Catch 22 song (off their Rules Of The Game EP) “Better Than You” that had myself and plenty in the crowd the most excited. Following it with “The Big Sleep”, and finally returning to the album closer “1234”, Streetlight Manifesto called it a night.
I’m really happy I got to go see them play one of my favorite ska albums in its entirety, and the fact that it was in a smaller, more intimate room made it even better. I’ve been seeing Streetlight Manifesto since they released their debut album back in 2003, and this was definitely one of my favorite shows of theirs.
Sick And Sad
Day In, Day Out
Giving Up, Giving In
On & On & On
Riding The Fourth Wave
This One Goes Out To…
9mm and a Three Piece Suit
Kristina She Don’t Know I Exist
As The Footsteps Die Out Forever
We Will Fall Together
Here’s To Life
Better Than You
The Big Sleep