Jan. 16, 2011
House of Blues, Anaheim
Coinciding nicely with the Anaheim House of Blues' 10th anniversary, Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional is touring in celebration of his own 10th anniversary: that of his debut breakthrough album, The Swiss Army Romance. It was fitting the show was on a Sunday, as Carrabba performed with the zeal of a fire-and-brimstone preacher.
While Carrabba usually plays with a full band, he is going back to his roots on this tour, performing solo versions of Dashboard classics as welll as his solo material. “Screaming Infidelities” instantly ignited the audience, and he never needed to coax his fans into singing along. The crowd was relentless all night, rarely missing a lyric. “The Sharp Hint of New Tears” held special significance, with Carrabba pulling the name of his band from the lyrics.
“Living In Your Letters” and “The Swiss Army Romance” were peppered with adoring screams and hollers from the rabid fans. Carrabba even admitted it was slightly redundant to ask the crowd to sing the counterpart female vocals during “A Plain Morning.” While I didn't agree with its use, Carrabba added some slight overdrive to his acoustic guitar, which intensified the vibe of the songs.
When the crowd wasn't singing along, they held phones and cameras aloft to record favorite songs. The whole show will probably be on YouTube by the time you read this review. Carrabba did a nice job of adding a storyteller vibe to the evening by including anecdotes about each song. It seemed like only seconds had passed when Carrabba finished “Shirts and Gloves” to complete the album.
Carrabba wouldn't let the faithful rest their voices, pouring out favorites “The Places You Come to Fear the Most” and “So Impossible.” Politely asking the crowd if he could do one of his own choice, Carrabba unleashed a cover of “Tall Green Grass” by Cory Branan. Everyone's Spidey sense tingled when Carrabba played “Vindicated” from the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack. Instead of leaving the stage for an encore, Carrabba continued on, closing with “Hands Down.”
Former Vagrant labelmate Chris Conley of Saves the Day entertained the gathered with a selection of acoustic renditions of his band's songs, with “At Your Funeral” the highlight of his set. Lady Danville was pure sugary pop. They scored with a melodic cover of MGMT's “Kids.” Longtime Dashboard Confessional associate John Lefler delighted the audience with a handful of acoustic ballads.
Personal Bias: I saw Dashboard Confessional open for the Weakerthans just as The Swiss Army Romance was garnering some buzz.
Crowd: A predominantly female crowd who screamed, “I love you Chris!” throughout the evening.
Overheard in the Crowd: See above.
Random Notebook Dump: Carrabba uses some exotic guitar tunings to get his unique acoustic sound.
“The Sharp Hint of New Tears”
“Living In Your Letters”
“The Swiss Army Romance”
“A Plain Morning”
“Age Six Racer”
“Again I Go Unnoticed”
“Ender Will Save Us All”
“Shirts and Gloves”
“This Brilliant Dance”
“The Good Fight”
“The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most”
“Tall Green Grass”
“Reason to Believe”
“As Lovers Go”
“Get Me Right”
“Saints and Sailors”
“Remember to Breathe”