Live review: Streetlight Manifesto

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Streelight Manifesto with Rodeo Ruby Love
Fillmore Charlotte
Aug. 4, 2011

The Deal: When co-headliners Reel Big Fish pulled out at the last minute due to illness, Streetlight Manifesto was left to carry the load.

The Good: It’s not easy to play a show where one of the main draws is forced to bow out with little advanced warning. While the tour with Streetlight Manifesto is co-headlining, and Reel Big Fish’s star has faded over the past several years, they are still arguably the better known band. Streetlight Manifesto is on the rise though, and that may not be true for that much longer.

Fortunately for me, I’m not much of a Reel Big Fish fan, so I didn’t much care that I was going to miss them. Actually, I hoped it would mean a longer set by the band I actually came to see.

I wasn’t disappointed, as Streetlight Manifesto delivered a strong and punchy set, with songs spanning its career. The band also put its unique stamp on two covers — Simon and Garfunkel's “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights.” Their horn intro to “Such Great Heights” was worth the price of admission alone and stands as one of the more inventive restructurings I’ve heard in awhile.

The Bad: Opener Rodeo Ruby Love really didn’t do it for me. Their music is as aimless and saccharine as their name. They seem to be trying to play it safe, producing a sort of bland mix of country, indie and pop punk. The crowd seemed restless for the most part. While that’s not exactly a new phenomenon in a crowd waiting for the main act, I have never seen a band have to tell the crowd, “Hold on, it’s coming” during a slow build up intro.

The ridiculous prices at the Live Nation owned Fillmore are always annoying, though expected. At least some in the crowd were treated to a free bottle of water from the stage, as Streetlight Manifesto frontman Tomas Kalnoky kept throwing them out throughout the night.

The Verdict: While Reel Big Fish dropping off was probably a disappointment to many, it didn’t ruin my night in the least, as Streetlight Manifesto came through and provided one of the better shows I’ve seen here in Charlotte in the past few months.

Streetlight Manifesto Setlist
Watch It Crash
Down, Down, Down to Mephisto’s Café
We Will Fall Together
Forty Days
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
Failing, Flailing
Would You Be Impressed?
What a Wicked Gang Are We
We Are the Few
Such Great Heights
A Better Place, A Better Time
A Moment of Silence
A Moment of Violence
The Big Sleep

Encore
A Call to Arms
Here’s to Life
Somewhere in the Between

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