The Uplifting and The Dark

Tours revolving around the anniversary of an album are one of the current trends. It is likely because a lot of the bands these days that we follow and love are sticking together longer. One of those bands just happens to be Streetlight Manifesto, who is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the album “Everything Goes Numb.” Along for the ride on this tour were, Kitty Kat Fan Club and Mephiskapheles.

Up first is one of the newest bands on Asian Man Records, Kitty Kat Fan Club. The streak of great bands I keep getting introduced to through Mike Park is getting very consistent these days. It is up there with any band Frank Turner brings on tour with him. Kitty Kat Fan Club is indie rock meets punk rock, in a Laura Stevenson kind of way. Up front you will notice great vocals from Casey, on lead, along with the harmonies from Brianda and Mike Park behind her.

Their lyrics are happy go lucky. They cover loving things, the work grind, and, yes, cats. They played through the songs they have already released for the set, along with others. In a vocalized effort to blend in with all the ska bands this night, they incorporated into the set the Selector’s “Too Much Pressure.” As their lyrics and overall pop sound communicates, they left me feeling happy and lighthearted. Overall, Kitty Kat Fan Club brought a fantastic first impression. I can’t wait to hear more from them going forward.

Following that up was the band that identifies as a devilish brand of ska, Mephiskaphales. Despite the long history of the band and my two decades of discovering ska, this was my first time catching them. I want to describe them more like a 2 Tone band mixed with Rockabilly and Jazz. Similar to the sound you find with the Skabilly Rebels. It is a better make sure you have your dancing shoes kind of ska.

Living up to their name, this is with songs that are darker in tone. The stage lights never changed from red their entire set. Invidious makes for an excellent front man, lively and singing into that microphone from many different angles. They left a good impression that makes me look forward to seeing Mephiskaphales when they return to Phoenix in November.

Last up is a band that many know already, Streetlight Manifesto. While I go on ten years watching these guys, they are celebrating fifteen years of their first album “Everything Goes Numb.” It is an album that holds my overall favorite song from them, “Point/Counterpoint.” Obviously, when it is an album anniversary tour you know that album is going to get played. However, when they first said goodnight they had cut off a song. This audience had heard the entire album from the title track “Everything Goes Numb” to “The Saddest Song.”

It was certainly a twist and figured maybe they start the encore with the last song. Though actually, they would play four songs from the other albums first. Thomas introduced each one by how long ago the song was released. These tracks included “Dear Sergio” to “Somewhere In the Between.” Then finally it was “The Big Sleep” to quite appropriately close the album and the show out. Streetlight Manifesto is a band that knows exactly how to play to an audience. What a superb way to create suspense, and leave people buzzing on their way out.

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