Photos: So, Who Goes to See Dashboard Confessional in 2012?

08/20/2012 1:31 PM |

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.

One Comment

  • I am over 60 and I have loved Dashboard Confessional (and Taking Back Sunday) for a long time. Chris Carrabba is in the acknowledgements to my book “Diary of a Congressional Candidate in Florida’s Fourth Congressional District”:…

    I think a lot of over-60 politicians like Dashboard Confessional and the bands I said I liked when my candidate’s diary first appeared in McSweeney’s 8 years ago. There are at least four references to Taking Back Sunday and others to Matchbox Romance and Fall Out Boy:…

    In the diary, when I fly from Ft. Lauderdale to Jacksonville to be interviewed by a local TV station and go to a rally with Michael Moore, I am envious that I cannot go to a Dashboard Confessional show instead. Going to the TV station, I write:

    “I drive behind several pickup trucks with Bush-Cheney stickers, but at the Publix supermarket where I’m buying my lunch—low-carb bagel, Smart Beat fake cheese slices, cut-up fruits and veggies—I meet two emo-looking young guys who tell me they’re going to see Dashboard Confessional tonight at the nearby University of North Florida.

    “One of them is wearing a T-shirt that says “LOSER” and I think of buying it off him so I can wear it on TV instead of the dress shirt, tie, and sport jacket I’ve got on.”


    Perhaps losers identify with Dashboard Confessional? Those of us who are repeatedly told by voters, “Cause now that I can see you,/ I ?don’t think you’re worth a second glance”?

    I would have liked to be at the show but I am busy with my current campaign for Congress in next week’s Americans Elect Party primary in Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District.

    See if Paul Ryan likes DC as much as he likes Rage Against the Machine.