In Nothing Feels Good, an examination of emo culture by former SPIN scribe Andy Greenwald, he describes the crowd gathering outside a Dashboard Confessional concert at CBGB in November 2001:
There are young girls in powder blue, midriff-baring tank tops emblazoned with the word ‘rockstar’ emerging from idling SUVs, waving goodbye to their parents behind the wheel with a dismissive nod. There are clean-cut high school boys wearing baseball hats and overly long shorts and khakis. Serious-looking 15-year-olds smile and awkwardly switch off their cell phones. There is backslapping. There are high-pitched giggles.
The events happening inside of Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday could’ve unfolded any night during the genre’s early-aught zenith. Blue-blooded poster boy Chris Carrabba enters the stage looking just as he has every day for the past decade: Ken-doll hair, fitted jeans, snug plaid shirt revealing sleeves of tattoos. He starts into “The Good Fight,” spending the most intense portions of the song away from the mic, sweeping the stage and letting the audience take over. They know all the words. Every single one. They don’t sing them, they shout them. Even years after they were filmed, those MTV Unplugged videos aren’t hyperbole.
The only difference between what Greenwald witnessed eleven years ago and what’s happening here are the people doing the shouting. Despite the genre becoming a punch line for most BrooklynVegan commenters, the show, billed as a solo acoustic rendition of Carrabba’s band, is sold out. So was the one at Webster Hall two years ago. So who’s buying tickets to these? At 37, is Carrabba still resonating with 16-year-olds? Or is this more of a nostalgia thing—presumably the same reason why Taking Back Sunday just added a second show at Terminal 5 for the 10-year anniversary of Tell All Your Friends? (And if so, why is it mocked by indie elitists when every other strain of 90s-birthed nostalgia is currently all the rage?) Or maybe, just maybe, Carrabba is still netting new fans via the powers of
message boards Facebook? Talking to fans before Saturday’s show, we found out that it’s a little bit of all the above.