Dashboard Confessional at Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale by Cortney
The first time I stood on the sidewalk outside Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale, FL the club was called The Edge and the year was 1996. Back then, the club hosted shows from touring acts, like it does now, but it was mostly known as an afterhours rave club with a 16 and up age policy. The weekend I finally got around the getting my driver’s license my parents went out of town and took my sister and brother with them. That left me on my own with my car. It was surprisingly difficult to find friends to go with me, but eventually some of my older guy friends caved. They didn’t want me to go down there alone. I didn’t care what their reasons were, I just wanted to go. Passing through the door of that club at 3am on some random Saturday changed the course of my life. It introduced me to the dark world of loud bass, friendly faces, and sweaty bodies dancing all night long. Funny that all these years later, that building still exists and I’m still passing through the same door, looking for that live music fix.
Last week, I was looking for less bass and more emotion. I was going to a Dashboard Confessional show. I’ve seen this band a countless number of times over the last 17 years. One of my best friends, Micah, and I never miss a show. This was our fifth together. Dashboard started as a side project in 2000 for front man, Chris Carrabba. Carrabba was fronting another local act, Further Seems Forever, at the time. He’s said in interviews that he gave the project a name, rather than just using his own name to allow for other musicians and friends to participate freely. Already a fan of the local music scene, I saw Dashboard perform as a solo singer/song writer act at a small bar on Clematis Street in Downtown West Palm Beach that first year. It felt like he was cutting open wounds and bleeding into a microphone just five feet from me. There couldn’t have been more than 30 people in the bar. His performance was raw, emotional, personal, and unrefined. His words, his fearlessness to give of himself to the audience, and his passion to create art that he believed in connected on a spiritual level with me. Dashboard has been one of my favorite acts ever since.
Dashboard has two acts opening for them on this tour, This Wild Life and Vinyl Theater. Both bands were from California. I can’t say I am familiar with either of the bands, which is unusual for me. I usually study for concerts, but with Okee and Bonnaroo on the horizon, there is just too much music and not enough hours in the day. Lead singer of This Wild Life, Kevin Jordan, shared a story with the audience about learning to play guitar and teaching himself a Dashboard song in his garage, years ago. It was clear that although we might not have known their music, these guys really understood the draw of this band and the connection they have with their fans. I saw guitarist, Anthony Del Grosso walking through the club later that night and stopped him to congratulate him on a good show. You can tell these guys have a passion for music and hustle to make it happen. I am interested to see where they go.
Last year, Dashboard put out their first song in nearly seven years. You wouldn’t guess it had been that long by looking and listening to the sold out crowd. The loyalty to this band hadn’t faded. The crowd sung along loudly, a staple of any Dashboard show, to every song. The set list focused on earlier tracks, covering songs from the original EP like “Screaming Infidelities” and “The Sharp Hint of New Tears” as through their 2005 album Dusk and Summer, which yielded “Don’t Wait.” He even through in a track from another side project, Twin Forks. The band may have been on hiatus but Carrabba never stops. Closing the show on an upbeat note, the band played their biggest radio hits, “Vindicated” off the Spiderman 2 soundtrack and “Hands Down” a sweet and simple love song off A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar.
Seeing a homecoming show for a local band that has made it big is always a reunion of sorts. The crowd was filled with fans in their 30s, most of whom had matured with Carrabba over the years. I noticed many married couples, groups of girlfriends with pictures of babies on their home screens, and even a family with their elementary aged children in tow. We saw people we’d known in high school in the crowd and faces we’ve seen at other shows. It felt like a homecoming for everyone there, not just the band. Coming together like that bonds people for life.