Wouldn’t it be great to have a time machine? Wouldn’t it be great to travel back a decade into the heyday of emo music. Ya know, when expressive, often confessional, lyrics reigned supreme. A time when it was nearly impossible to countdown the alternative rock radio top 20 without hearing Chris Carrabba’s vulnerable lyrics, “My hopes are so high, that your kiss might kill me. So won’t you kill me, so I die happy.” Ahh, wouldn’t it be nice to relive those times? In short, yes, and Dashboard Confessional gave fans the chance this year with one of the most entertaining shows of summer seventeen. Alongside The All-American Rejects and The Maine (albeit a different time), each band offered a sing along of decade-old tracks that are still alive and well, while also showcasing a glimpse of what the future brings.
When you think of genre-defining bands from the early 2000s, The Maine isn’t one that comes to mind (because they didn’t exist until 2007). However that doesn’t keep the Arizona natives from bringing their own piece of something special to the table. It’s rare to see The Maine open. As the band just hosted its own headlining tour and 8123 Fest in Phoenix, they’re used to performing under the lights. Although this didn’t keep John O’Callaghan and co. from creating an exciting atmosphere with undeniably catchy tunes. The band’s most recent album, Lovely Little Lonely is bubbly, dynamic and positive – an attitude that the quintet exuded on stage.
As frontman O’Callaghan parades around stage to “Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu” and “Am I Pretty?,” he’s constantly reaching out to fans guaranteeing a good time. His fun-loving attitude and demeanor is contagious and reaches a fan (Garrison) that graciously held up a sign reading, “IT’S MY FIRST CONCERT!” On par with O’Callaghan’s spirit, he invited Garrison onto stage for “Girls Do What They Want” and before long the high-schooler was jumping higher than the band themselves.
Lucky enough for Garrison, his sign caught the attention of The All-American Rejects and Tyson Ritter who in return demonstrated a few unspeakable acts to the microphone stand in hopes of making the high-schoolers first concert the most memorable. While Ritter’s antics were disguised as additional entertainment for the first-timer, it wasn’t far off from the normal eccentricity that Ritter typically brings to the stage. At times his frolicking – wildly dancing atop the speakers and laying face down on the concrete – stole the spotlight from the music itself, but it never outshine classics such as “Dirty Little Secret” and “Move Along.” For the most part, fans were too busy belting the lyrics back, word for word, at the band.
Confessional music legends Dashboard Confessional followed in the footsteps of their predecessors, entering the limelight to one of their most popular songs, “Vindicated.” The band shot off to a hot start reintroducing fans to timeless classics and a few praised covers, most notably Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.” While excitement and elation was at an all-time high, the final night of tour introduced an additional level of emotion. It didn’t take long for DC to bring tears to the eyes of CMCU Amphitheatre. In fact, all it took was, “Vindicated, I am selfish, I am wrong…,” but looking out into the crowd, Carrabba felt an equal level of thankfulness that he stopped to vocalize between songs.
The frontman didn’t take the night for granted and urged the same for everyone in attendance because he “doesn’t do that often enough. None of us do.” Carrabba showed a level of appreciation for everyone standing with him as he moved from “Stolen” to “We Fight.” The latter hinted at an album announcement that only escalated emotions while setting the stage for the acoustic “The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most. ” After nearly 20 years, Carrabba showed off his ability to still strike those high notes like the best of ’em and entertain fans like few in the industry.
The brief hiatus preceding the encore came and went and Carrabba galloped back onto stage in front of the Dashboard Confessional chants. He tugged on his shirt collar and pointed to his heart. His authenticity was sweet and set the stage for something even sweeter. As if fans didn’t what was coming, the opening riff of “Hands Down” sent shivers throughout the crowd and brought smiles to the faces of all in attendance. The anthem was exactly what anyone would expect, satisfying and fulfilling. The moment felt brief, but rest assured that Charlotte felt complete with one of the most memorable concerts of the summer, hands down.