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Bosstones, Streetlight Manifesto thrill ska fans

The Town Ballroom on Saturday night was full of energetic ska lovers of all ages in anticipation of an epic show.

First to take the stage was Everybody Out! from Boston. Many fans were still outside waiting in the ever-growing line for admittance; those inside were enjoying a lively show-starter, with the guitarists showing off their picking styles.

The combination of the following two bands is the reason why this show was so epic. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, formed in 1985, and New Jersey band Streetlight Manifesto, were each on separate show tours. Upon realizing their Buffalo stops would be on the same night, they merged their shows into one. The crowd Saturday was lucky to witness these generations of ska performing together in one night.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones gained a huge fan base in the early '90s, and have since gained more popularity by appearing on "Saturday Night Live" and with multiple summers of Warped Tour. Streetlight Manifesto is among the current leading ska bands. They grew to fame without help from outside management and with minimal advertising due to the recognition their past bands received (mainly Tomas Kalnoky coming from Catch 22).

The Streetlight Manifesto set contained a favorite from Kalnoky's Catch 22 days, "Keasbey Nights," which got the crowd moving. They were on their own to sing the chorus while the horns continued with their catchy riffs. "Keasbey Nights" was spliced perfectly into the middle of their performance of "Point/Counterpoint," off the "Everything Goes Numb" CD. "Here's to Life" also had the pit jumping. "We Will Fall Together" provided Jim Conti on tenor sax and Pete McCullough on bass a chance to let their fingers fly during solos. Trumpet player Matt Stewart in particular had an outstanding night, reaching all the high notes and consistently impressing the audience with his energy.

Kalnoky writes most Streetlight Manifesto songs. He begins with writing the song structure on an acoustic guitar, then adding basic hornlines, leaving the brass players to write harmonies. His vast knowledge of music theory and guitar expertise was apparent throughout the entire Streetlight Manifesto set and especially in "Somewhere in the Between," their last song in the hourlong set.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones followed. It was the one-year anniversary of the announcement they would reunite for at least one show after a four-year hiatus. Lead singer Dicky Barrett warmed up the crowd saying, "Since we've gotten back together, we're been saying we need to get back to Buffalo. It's like our second city and it's so good to be back." The Mighty Mighty Bosstones brought four lucky guests onstage, pulling a crowd surfer up to sing "Someday I Suppose" and another to dance to "Kinder Words" before slowing down with "Let Me Be." The phrasing of "Everybody's Better" showed off Kevin Lenear's smooth sound on saxophone. The crowd joined in to sing to "The Impression That I Get," perhaps their best known song.

Ben Carr, manager and dancing "Bosstone" of the band, has been bringing energy to the stage since the very beginning, by dancing around the stage, and his performance Saturday served its purpose well. The audience didn't need any help from Carr to keep them entertained though, and easily brought the band back for a three-song encore.

Laura Rumschik is a junior at Mount St Mary Academy

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