Get our free newsletter
When he’s fronting the hyperactive ska-punk outfit Streetlight Manifesto, Tomas Kalnoky fires off mile-a-minute battle cries and existential musings that he juxtaposes with a flurry of horn section fanfare. Although Streetlight’s most riveting work is driven by his sense of urgency, Kalnoky—who has been a ska-punk mainstay since he formed Catch 22 in 1996—maintains his command when he gently reimagines these songs as Toh Kay, his acoustic solo project. Toh Kay’s 2011 album Streetlight Lullabies lives up to its name, as Kalnoky transforms rousing Streetlight anthems like “Somewhere in the Between” and “A Better Place, A Better Time” into the musical equivalent of home-cooked comfort food. Last year’s The Hand That Thieves, released concurrently with Streetlight’s The Hands That Thieve, proves that the same songs work just as well around a campfire as they do in a sweaty skank pit. Kalnoky can undoubtedly hold his own alongside a frantic horn arrangement, but as Toh Kay he succeeds by embracing his softer side. Toh Kay performs at 7:30 p.m. at the Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. $15–$18. (202) 787-1000. thehamiltondc.com.