There are some bands that you are guaranteed to see some amazing music every tour they have. Streetlight Manifesto is just one of those bands. You could say they are bedfellows with some legends of Ska and talented solo acts. Over the years they have introduced me to acts like Sycamore Smith and Dan Potthast’s solo work. Their own music puts them atop the upper echelon of my favorite bands. Without worry, a tour with Ogikubo Station, Jenny Owen Youngs, and Streetlight Manifesto was going to be a blast.
Opening up was a talented combo of musicians that make up Ogikubo Station. The two members of the band consist of Maura Weaver and Mike Park. I idolize Mike already, a legend of Ska from the Skankin’ Pickle days to his continued music projects and label. A favorite memory is a night at the old Trunk Space. Dan Potthast and Mike joined our locals, Liam and the Ladies, for an invigorated Ska set.
On the other side, Maura Weaver comes from the band, Mixtapes, which I discovered through friends about four years ago. I only got to see that band once, when they came through on the 2014 Warped Tour. Despite the heat out here, they made for a great performance. The band looks to be on hiatus at this point, so I can wager it probably be the only time I will see that band. Nonetheless, when I saw that Maura’s new band was on this tour, you could color me excited to see it.
This duo together in Ogikubo Station ends up as a spectacular amalgamation. The set opens up with a video, of them, introducing the band on a small projector screen. Once introduced, they perform in front of the screen with various images and video projected behind them. Their music is an excellent combination of vocals and acoustic guitars. The songs bring whimsy and politics. Mike squeezed in a Skankin’ Pickle song too. They ended up on the floor of the Marquee finishing the set. On names alone, I was excited to see this combination, and live Ogikubo Station delivered on my excitement.
Smack dab in the middle was another talented musician, Jenny Owen Youngs. Probably the nerdiest topical performer, as she mentioned her podcast about all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Notwithstanding that her songs touch upon the same topics. Plus I was laughing when I heard her say a spoiler warning before she played a song she wrote about the X-Files. That clearly added to her music’s ability to resonate with me.
Jenny looked to just be herself and completely comfortable on that stage. A terrific voice only bolstered the songs and her stage presence. It brought a great first impression for me, who had missed her music up to this point. The music is witty and has a charm to it. You can expect me to try to catch Jenny Owen Youngs when she comes through Phoenix again.
Then there was the band with the most members on stage at once, Streetlight Manifesto. I first discovered these guys when they opened up for Reel Big Fish in January 2009. I was hooked since. I purchased any piece of music they put out minus “The Hands That Thieve” due to the Victory Records lawsuit. Of course, I found a way to enjoy that album and without giving Victory any money. The year that album came out, Streetlight announced it would be their last full tour due to the lawsuit. Because of that, I drove down to Tucson plus I caught them play Phoenix a few months after. I was going to maximize the times to see them live in that situation. Lucky for us, the Victory Records lawsuit is over. Streetlight Manifesto owns their music and tours appear to be a regular event again.
This show itself was the high energy, full of enthusiasm sets that made me fall in love with Streetlight Manifesto in the first place. Every member of that band is highly animated, moving around the stage, and trying to further pump up the already energized crowd. I am a holdout in the sense that I want a skanking pit for dancing to their music. I can mosh to plenty of bands, but these songs make me want to move my feet to the music while I sing along. Regardless, they were the cap on another amazing ensemble of musicians together for a Streetlight Manifesto tour. I can’t end this without a huge thank you to Mike Park for allowing me to take pictures this night. Now, it is time to start the anticipation for the next time all these musicians come through town.