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Stroke your emo – Dashboard Confessional at the House of Blues, Atlantic City, November 10, 2007

By on Jan 8, 2008 in Music

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Dashboard Confessional is not one of my favorite bands. I’m not sure Dashboard would even break the top 20. Dashboard Confessional is, however, a band full of memories. From my initial rash, un-informed hatred of their emoness to certain friends to good times and bad. Their music makes me especially nostalgic for my time in St. Louis singing at the top of my lungs to songs from ‘A mark, a mission, a brand, a scar‘ in my nice, big apartment dreaming of a certainly impossible man who would write those dreamy words for me:

I’ll be true I’ll be useful I’ll be cavalier I’ll be yours my dear And I’ll belong to you … if you’ll just let me through …

Those same words that I sang into Adam’s ear while he stood begrudgingly next to me at the Dashboard Confessional show at the House of Blues in Atlantic City on November 10, 2007. That song, ‘As Lovers Go,’ is especially poignant for me since I see myself as the antagonist of the song. But enough about me, on to the show.

Chris Carraba is adorable … and tiny. He came out – to roaring applause – to sing with each of the opening bands (neither of which, in my opinion, are worth mentioning … or remembering for that matter) which, aside from being a rousing endorsement, gave him a badge of integrity in my book … and proved that he has quite the voice. When he finally arrived on stage for his own set, he was effectively naked – it was just him and his guitar. For most of the show, the mic effects blurred his vocals, but the onstage banter i made out was amusing. For all I’ve read about his stage fright, he seemed at comfortable, at home on stage. Despite the obnoxious, collar-popping crowd, I enjoyed the quiet, graceful momentum built up and torn down with each song.

I may not rush to see Dashboard Confessional again but the show, like the songs, will hold a special place in my heart for a long time. Which, I suppose, brings this blog post back to me again. This is what connects me, reluctantly, to those other kids at the show – the deeply personal and private way I think about Dashboard Confessional.

I read an excellent (albeit pray to the glorifying, mythical talk of music fan turned journalist) book, Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo. Dashboard Confessional comprises an entire section. For good reason. Despite the debatable history of emo – from Rites of Spring and Sunny Day Real Estate to Face to Face to the Get Up Kids and Saves the Day, Dashboard Confessional is probably the band most widely associated with emo. I came to terms with my love of poppy punk/rock long ago; yet it was this book, tracing the history of emo and describing the intense – familiar – way the fan’s feel about the music, that allowed me to admit that I, too, have an emo place in my heart. It is not a large space – I need more rock than Rites of Spring or Sunny Day or many of the new wave of emo bands can provide – but it is there nonetheless.

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