When it was originally announced, the Dashboard Confessional winter headline tour was scheduled to hit the Susquehanna Bank Center with New Found Glory as one of the openers. Due to a family emergency in the Dashboard camp, the tour got scaled back to two Florida bands with acoustic guitars, a happy mistake that couldn't have turned out better.
We all know Chris Carrabba knows his way around an acoustic guitar, but New Found Glory has never done anything like this. Glad to say, it works. Maybe it's because they're now in their late twenties, but even a song as old as "Hit or Miss" works well acoustic. The most obvious difference is the voice of singer Jordan Pundik. In the band's early days, his nasal tone was part of his charm. He's gotten older, more tattooed and his voice has changed as well. It's not necessarily "weathered," but it's obvious he's been doing it for more than a decade; practice makes perfect.
Former hardcore song "Something I Call Personality" was turned into a sparse acoustic-punk jam, but "It's Not Your Fault" from the band's last major label record Coming Home benefited even more, seeing as the acoustic aspect of the show was more in tune with that album. The lone new song (from 2009's Not Without A Fight) happened to be "47," but the highlight was definitely a version of their first radio hit "My Friend's Over You," complete with the sugary lead line played by drummer Cyrus Bolooki on the piano.
Before leaving the stage, NFG was sure to give their fans a holiday treat: "Broken Sound" from their debut full length Nothing Gold Can Stay. After that, the band switched instruments for a little holiday song featuring the ending lines of "Merry Christmas to you/Happy Hanukkah to Jews," seeing as the majority of the band celebrates the festival of lights.
The crowd came in tight for Dashboard Confessional, but first to try and grab a D/C branded egg shaker that the band's crew threw to the audience. It seemed like a long wait, but when Chris Carrabba and John Lefler took the stage the shrieks of delight were close to deafening.
Opening the set with two of his strongest songs from The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, "The Brilliant Dance" and the title track, it was evident that Carrabba was playing to his strengths with an acoustic guitar. The older songs show the best parts of the band.
The newer songs like "Belle of the Boulevard" from Alter the Ending may still sound like the old material in some regards, but there's no denying the fact that any of these songs could easily find their way on a VH1 countdown or in the playlist of an adult contemporary station. Not that it's a bad thing, but the feeling is obviously different, as is the response.
"Bend and Not Break" and "The Good Fight" continued the theme of the evening so far. This tour has gotten DC back to their original ideals and it shows how much that still connects with people. Carrabba has turned Dashboard into a moderately sized rock band with songs like "Vindicated" and "Don't Wait," (which the acoustic versions of overtake the studio recordings), but at the core of it all is still a charming Italian guy who's the most loved for wearing his heart on his tattoo sleeves.
The times have changed, the fans have changed and the band may have changed, but hearing 1600 kids screaming along to "Screaming Infidelities" still has the same bite it had almost a decade ago.