Chris Carrabba serenades the summer

6 March 2012

Written by: Cass Savellis

Chris Carrabba, front man of the American alternative rock band Dashboard Confessional hosted an all sorted crowd on a wet but balmy Melbourne night at The Prince Bandroom.  The range of audience members were evident between the set played by the Orange County based Jack’s Mannequin renowned for ‘Mixed Tape’ and ‘Dark Blue’ and Dashboard Confessional, or as the red head female beside me had tried to coin, ‘Dashy’.

You had your standard ‘indie’ gentlemen, dressed in the skinniest jeans you could find, nose pierced and sporting a beanie in only what can be described as a boiler room. They came out in the dozens to support the emo acoustic alternative side that is Chris Carrabba. They swayed to the indie anthems that are ‘The Places That You Come To Fear The Most’, ‘Screaming Infidelities’ and ‘So Impossible’. I noticed there was a little head bobbing from this sector of the audience, as they nursed a cold beer in one hand whilst relishing in the delights of the sensational acoustic graces.

Dashboard’s genre also flirts with a punk rock crowd that appeared sprinkled between the bar and front line of the stage last night. These hard core fans are the most noticeable in any venue, look for an oversized chunky ear ring that hangs from the lobe and an American based sporting team snap back cap. Usually the loudest of fans, persistent in starting chants, shouting out requests for songs and ordering too many drinks. They are often a most intimidating bunch however they are quite friendly offering opinions of the band to everyone and anyone who will listen. The room vibrated to songs such as ‘Saints and Sailors’, ‘The Good Fight’ and ‘Get Me Right’ as the punks splashed around, spilling drinks, echoing lyrics and having in general a bloody good time.

One only has to Google image a picture of Chris Carrabba to see why the man has loyal following of love struck teens. With nice arms laced in a sleeve of tattoos and a plain button down top, he had every girl in the room swooning. This brings me to the next category of the audience, the boyfriends. Like it or lump Dashboard Confessional, these men have little choice. Posing as the great boyfriend, as they held their girlfriends hand whilst grinding their teeth, they can’t help but be sucked into the classics that were performed by Carrabba. Crowd favourites included the 2003 hit ‘Hands Down’, which peaked on the US Music Charts at eight, 2007 released ‘Stolen’ and ‘Age Six Racer’, a homage to the end of summer, fitting for the 29th of February.

Carrabba had a way with words, as females clung to every last one of them. His cool yet soft approach when speaking in between songs only proved to further the imaginations of the females that had their eyes glued on him. Carrabba was charismatic, handing out guitar picks and paying compliments to the crowd. The ladies loved his serenading songs of love which included ‘As Lovers Go’, ‘Belle Of The Boulevard’ and ‘Don’t Wait’. Eyes glossed over as girls full of wishful thinking sang along.

Dashboard Confessional bought all their fans together in the end with an encore act fit for a king. In a humbling and friendly fashion Carrabba welcomed to the stage Jack’s Mannequin and Relient K to play the Silverchair cover of ‘Straight Lines’ and Weezer’s ‘El Sorcho’. Both songs were performed in a chilled and sociable way, with beers frothing near instruments and band members taking breaks in the songs to take a swig. All over, the artists seemed happy they were there and the audience appreciated the energy and enjoyed watching the interesting collaboration take forth.

Screamed onto the stage after he left withholding Dashboard’s most successful hit ‘Vindicated’, Carrabba left his crowd of all sorts hanging up in the air until the final song. In a slow start he built up the explosiveness that is ‘Vindicated’ to the point in which the colourful mixed crowd was heard well over the eight musicians that played on stage.

Dashboard Confessional, Jack’s Mannequin and Relient K all played at this year’s Melbourne Soundwave Festival on the 2nd of March at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

Clare Cosgrave is doing a Bachelor of Journalism at La Trobe University. You can follow her on Twitter: @ClareCosy.