New Jersey's Streetlight Manifesto deserve a couple props, first, for still carrying the torch of third-wave ska as it was largely played at its tail end in the late Nineties: in a group of many, many musicians, and with a heavy punk edge. Second, this is impressive because the band remains pretty much the only one to do so on hardcore stalwart label Victory Records. It makes sense if you look at the band's pedigree, though -- its driving force is songwriter/frontman Tomas Kalnoky, who shored up the excellent Catch 22 back then, one of the few bands to successfully merge new ska with an almost-hardcore sensibility. (That sounds horrible in black-and-white type, I know, but back then it was really good! That band also continues to play, in somewhat reduced form, and with a sort of rivalry with Streetlight Maniesto)
While the band is said to be working on an ambitious, quadruple-CD project called 99 Songs of Revolution, it continues to tour in support of its 2007 full-length, Somewhere In the Between. Hitting the road in January, the band lands at Culture Room on Feb. 6.
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Playing in support are a few groups that span genres. The Massachusetts quintet A Wilhelm Scream play melodic, hardcore-ish skate punk; Michigan quartet the Swellers aren't too far off, but delve occasionally into Nineties-style indie-rock-influenced patches. Finally the Stitch Up is also a pun band, but fronted by another legendary Nineties ska-punk figure: MU330's Dan Potthast.