When people go to a Streetlight Manifesto show, they come to move. Which was a bit unfortunate for Dan Potthast, the one-man opening act with only an acoustic guitar. Although a couple dozen people found a way to form a “circle pit” during some of his songs, they yearned for more movement. They heckled and yelled, begged him to play something with more energy, and in one strange moment, suddenly started chanting USA for no apparent reason. When someone in the front roused the crowd to chant for Dan to play “Freebird,” he politely asked the man’s name. He dedicated his last song to this man, whose name was Justin. After he finished playing his bitter song, in which he called Justin a man with no friends, a man who hated himself, one of the assholes in every show heckling someone to play “Freebird” (the last part was the chorus)—Dan left with a smile while people chanted “Justin sucks.” Whoops.

Behind all the instruments and stands on stage, only one image on stage remained, a giant streetlight surrounded bursts of red. “Streetlight, Streelight, Streetlight!” they chanted, along with scattered applause and yells.

When Streetlight came on, the second they played their first note, everyone instantly jumped. Standing close to the back, I suddenly found myself pushed up close to the front, only to recede a few seconds later. For a little while, I continued to advance and recede with the crowd like a wave.

This was my third Streetlight Manifesto show, and I loved every minute of it. I don’t know of any other shows where the spotlight hits the crowd as much as the stage, where the mosh pits swell and constrain like a beating heart, where someone in the crowd will instantly help you up if you fall, sometimes before you even hit the ground.

For those who do not know it, the typical dance, (if we can call it a dance), at a ska concert is called “skanking.” For a quick lesson, you can refer to this youtube video. And at the concert, most people either knew the routine or learned it that day.

When Streetlight played one of their most loved songs, “Everything Goes Numb,” during a slower part, members of the mosh pit faced each other in the middle of the crowd, and yelled “push back,” making a clearing about two-thirds the entire House of Blues. A little impatient, some people skanked in place. As soon as the drums and horns picked up, we ran into the clearing, bouncing off each other, spinning around, and occasionally struggling to leave our shoes on. (Anytime someone tied their shoe, I saw a few big guys hover over them, protecting them from the flying bodies).

Despite all the fast-paced skanking though, the crowd stayed loyal for the soft parts of the songs. When all the instruments except for the guitars and vocals cut out in “When We Fall Together,” we stopped moshing or skanking and just sang along, swaying our arms back and forth.

“Streetlight won’t be touring much more. It’s a pleasure to come back, especially to this city!” yelled lead vocalist Tomas Kalnoky. They have been touring for ten years, always keeping their concert tickets less than twenty dollars. Tomas went on to comment on how many faces he recognized in the audience. It’s certainly not uncommon for fans to go to even a dozen Streetlight shows, perhaps because of the camaraderie present in every single show.

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