by Robert Goss |
Any true ska fan will know that Streetlight Manifesto is a band that will not go quietly into that dark night. Beside their high energy performances, the group has been battered with unfortunate events basically since their formation over a decade ago.
The large band- cultivated of members from the well known group Catch 22- formed in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 2002 and a year later signed with Victory Records. Within the first few years of touring and recording with Victory Records, Streetlight Manifesto already had seen several changes in members due to personal reasons, which kept things for the band in a constant state of adaptation. In October 2005, while in Jacksonville Florida, the band’s van was broken into and over $80,000 worth of merchandise, equipment and instruments were stolen. A few shows were cancelled, but the Garden State rockers pushed onto their European tour. A month later while in Paris, the group was robbed, again, for thousands of dollars in materials including recordings they had made while on tour.
Luckily for Streetlight Manifesto, their record label had their back during these thefts; however, that relationship would soon turn sour. Due to certain contract agreements, in 2013 the label withheld Streetlight Manifesto’s fifth album, The Hands that Thieve, from the band, as well as fans who had pre-ordered it. This caused a major rift between the band and label, resulting in Streetlight Manifesto’s members hitting social media to encourage fans to buy merchandise directly through the band’s website rather than Victory Records or their affiliated outlet.
In 2015, with tension building, Victory served Tomas Kalnoky- the lead and remaining founding member of Streetlight Manifesto- for over one million dollars on claims of not fulfilling the band’s contractual agreements with the label. Even with these litigations looming over them, the band fought hard, continuing on with their tour.
Finally in April of 2017, both Streetlight Manifesto and Victory announced that they had reached a joint settlement where the band paid the label an undisclosed amount to officially leave Victory Records while obtaining the rights to and the actual master tracks to all albums produced under the contract. A month later the group would kick off their new tour celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Somewhere In The Between album with Philadelphia being the very first stop on such tour.
All this considered, you better believe Streetlight Manifesto brought one heck of a performance to the Electric Factory! Being so close to home, fans were foaming at the mouth throughout the performance- but all in the most positive variety possible. Moshing, crowd surfing, and chanting were all in attendance this joyous night. The band played straight through Somewhere In The Between in its entirety with selected other classic favorites- such as “Dear Sergio”- peppered in.
Streetlight Manifesto brought the heat, and Philadelphia threw it right back at them. The night summarized itself as the band waved their goodbye and the fans erupted in chant: “Thank You Streetlight!”
All photos by Goose Media (Robby Goss)