Dashboard Confessional / New Found Glory - live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dashboard Confessional / New Found Glory

live in Philadelphia (2009)

live show

It was like a scene straight out of Andy Greenwald's Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo: Bespectacled, awkward emo folks mingle with more frat-ish, sweatshirt ‘n' backwards baseball cap types while Dashboard Confessional plays an acoustic set alongside a punk band. In front of me, two lovers sway to strains of songs like "Remember to Breathe" and "Carry This Picture for Luck." She's wearing a knitted wool scarf and hat; he's got shaggy black hair and a scraggly beard; they're both wearing sweaters and glasses. To my right, two friends discuss the set list and Flyers stats with equal authority. The only difference is that it's not 2000; it's 2009.

Following the cancellation of a planned electric/full band tour, Dashboard Confessional -- reduced to central figure Chris Carrabba and guitarist/pianist John Lefler -- played an acoustic set with Florida pop-punkers A New Found Glory (they claimed the "A" was for "acoustic," the teases), with a sold-out stop at Philadelphia's the Trocadero Sat., Dec. 12. NFG's flirtations didn't end there. When a fan requested "The Glory of Love," off of the awesome From the Screen to Your Stereo, the band obliged with about 10 seconds of a ragtime-y version. They were just messing around, but it actually sounded kinda good. Same goes for the first verse and chorus of Ben Folds Five's "Brick." Granted, they were a little too stoked to be playing a song about abortion, but dang it sounded sweet. Their final act of teasing came when they wished the crowd a merry Christmas and then didn't play "Ex-Miss," instead opting for a cover of "The Christmas Song."

While NFG's songs were never really meant to be played unplugged, the group got by on spirit and jokes. Some of the humor came from a defensive place -- guitarist Chad Gilbert, clearly uncomfortable with the setup, mentioned his band's own flubs a few times too many. But he also kidded the crowd about "fucking shit up" in "Moshadelphia." While the set skewed a little too much towards Sticks and Stones for my taste, NFG still put on a funny, entertaining set. Plus, they played "Broken Sound" from Nothing Gold Can Stay. Awesome.

Set list:

  1. Truth of My Youth
  2. Sonny
  3. Something I Call Personality
  4. It's Not Your Fault
  5. The Story So Far
  6. Forget My Name
  7. 46
  8. I Don't Wanna Know
  9. My Friends Over You
  10. Brick [partial, Ben Folds Five Cover]
  11. The Glory of Love [partial, Peter Cetera cover]
  12. Too Good to Be
  13. Hit or Miss
  14. Broken Sound
  15. The Christmas Song [Mel Tormé cover]
While concert attendees were fairly responsive to NFG, they lost their shit for Dashboard Confessional. It's pretty clear why: Carrabba and Lefler brought the hits. Also, they had Troc staff pass out shakers, inviting fans to (A) join in the songs and (B) visit dcbootlegs.com to download a recording of the show. Audience participation is the best, and DC knows how to maximize it. Carrabba opened with old favorites "The Best Deceptions" and "The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most," to the crowd's delight. More oldies/goodies like "The Good Fight" and "Saints and Sailors" followed, with a few newer tunes sprinkled in.

Generally speaking, Carrabba avoided his post-A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar albums, playing only two songs off of 2006's Dusk and Summer (singles "Don't Wait" and "Stolen"), one track off of 2007's The Shade of Poison Trees ("Where There's Gold") and three from this year's Alter the Ending ("Belle of the Boulevard," "Until Morning" and "Get Me Right"). The crowd didn't seem too enthralled by Lefler's own "Up My Sleeve," perhaps because it rips a bit too much from the Beatles' "Blackbird," which is too good a song for anyone to imitate.

I had my own qualms with the set -- I would've loved to have heard "So Long, So Long," or So Impossible from start to finish, or "Wearing Thin" as long as I'm dreaming -- but the songs Carrabba did select for the show were mighty fine. It's cool that despite Dashboard Confessional's latter-day rock band sound, he still returns to his acoustic roots on occasion. Rag on the emo icon all ye want; dude still puts on a fun show for his fans. He delivers full-throated renditions of their favorite songs and he engages them on a personal level. I feel bad for the kids in Detroit, which the original canceled tour was supposed to hit Dec. 12. They missed out.

Set list:
  1. The Best Deceptions
  2. The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
  3. Bend and Not Break
  4. The Good Fight
  5. Belle of the Boulevard
  6. As Lovers Go
  7. Don't Wait
  8. Carry This Picture for Luck
  9. Saints and Sailors
  10. Until Morning
  11. Where There's Gold
  12. Screaming Infidelities
  13. Up My Sleeve [John Lefler]
  14. The Swiss Army Romance
  15. Get Me Right
  16. Vindicated
  17. Stolen
  18. Remember to Breathe
  19. Hands Down