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Live Review: Dashboard Confessional Emotes All Over Us

December 11, 2006 6:06 PM ET

Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba writes songs that speak for an entire generation of love-bewildered youths. He is also perhaps the only man in rock music today that can draw endless praise from masses of rabid teenage girls while simultaneously getting the musical OK from said ladies' boyfriends — an achievement on par with Beatles mania. Never was this more evident than during Dashboard's sold-out show at New York City's Madison Square Garden Saturday night.

Long Island emo dudes Brand New kicked off the evening, delivering a lackluster set that didn't do justice to the band's formidable pop-punk songs. Rather than correctly executing song lyrics, the foursome opted to roll around the stage in faux seizures, much to the dismay of fans. "They were slurring their words," said a devout Brand New fan that traveled three hours from Albany, New York to the show. "It sounded like junk," she said.

Thankfully, things improved when Dashboard took the stage. As the stadium went black and the cheering intensified, Carrabba appeared solo behind a scrim and began to sing. Within moments, the screen was lifted and the band launched into a furious set, blending passionate playing with precise, professional musicianship on songs new and old.

With two guitarists, drums and a violinist to back him, Carrabba cycled through instruments including a brief stint on piano and a few intimate moments on his acoustic guitar. But for the majority of the evening, the quintessential emo outfit powered through anthemic pop songs laden in operatic crescendos that illustrated Carrabba's vocal prowess and signature sulky bellow.

On "Remember to Breathe," Carrabba and company dove headfirst into ethereal, sonically charged guitar, proving that they're not just for the kids. Introducing the last song of the evening, the melancholic masterpiece "Hands Down," Carraba told fans, "This song has finally been matched — by tonight. It's about the best day of my life." The stadium glowed with praise thanking Carrabba — the guy chosen to die for their adolescent sins — for all his hard work.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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