A Familiar Pair

How often do you see a two band show? I feel like it is rare that any show I attend isn’t a minimum of three. However, that is exactly what happened on Streetlight Manifesto’s latest trip to Phoenix with Kitty Kat Fan Club. Although with bands this good, two is a good number.

Our openers were Kitty Kat Fan Club, a familiar group to anyone who went to the last times that Streetlight Manifesto or Koo Koo Kanga Roo came to town. I was in attendance at both, though felt a lot older at the latter one. Regardless, I was first introduced to them almost a year to the day of this show and grabbed their first release then. In that year’s span they have put out an album, “Dreamy Little You,” that ranks in my favorites of 2019. The charm of this album and the band live is that their music is happy and cheerful. It is a folky, indie rock that is sure to bring out the smile in anyone within earshot.

The night’s set from Kitty Kat Fan Club was all about spreading cheer. Casey is one of the happiest lead vocalists I’ve seen on a stage. Her vocals and the entire band sounds more cohesive and improved each time I see them. One absence this tour is Justin, who Mike said was sick. In his absence, we got a familiar drummer in Kevin Higuchi, from Jeff Rosenstock’s band. The other slight change to those that didn’t see them their last time through, would be Megan rocking the keys for them. They did a cover of The Selector’s “Too Much Pressure” again with a funny anecdote. Last time they came through with Streetlight Manifesto, they selected an audience member. They did it again, and per Lorenzo’s own words, he was the same person that Mike Park chose last time. They just keep getting better, so I can’t wait until Kitty Kat Fan Club returns once more.

Of course, a band with so much enthusiasm and energy to match that of the openers was the one and only Streetlight Manifesto. Toh Kay looked like he is having a ball from the moment he steps in front of that audience. He is playing, bouncing, and moving to every corner of that stage he can reach before another verse is to be sung. Though if energy and expression is the game, Dan and Mike on the two saxophones got the market covered sometimes literally bouncing backwards as they play. Not to be out done, if this were a competition, Karl and Matt singing and shouting excitedly between times playing their brass instruments. The entire Streetlight Manifesto performance is pure energy that infects the large crowd in front of them.

Last tour through it was a celebration of “Everything Goes Numb,” with majority of the set that entire album. For this night, it was back to the regular mix of songs from various Streetlight Manifesto albums. Even with camera in hand, I found myself skanking and singing along to favorites like “Point/Counterpoint” and ending of the set “Somewhere In The Between.” The Van Buren’s stage lighting lent to perhaps the best visual and colors flashing before my eyes to the familiar tunes belted from that stage. For the encore, Toh Kay came out and joked that while people chanted for one more song, they were going to stick with their plan of playing five more. Streetlight Manifesto ended on the exciting “1234 1234,” and like that another fantastic night of music came to an end.

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