The All-American Rejects
w/ The Social Animals
San Francisco, CA
July 14, 2017
Photos and review by Jared Stossel
There are a small sampling of bands in the general population that are able to what Chris Carrabba can do: take any large scale venue and make it feel like an up-close, intimate event that will talked about time and time again. I've been fortunate to see Dashboard a number of times in the past couple years, in a wide variety of venues that differ in size and locale. Whether it's an outdoor amphitheater on the Taste of Chaos tour, a packed night at the world-famous Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, or a night in the mini-arena that is The Masonic Center in San Francisco (joined by none other than alternative/pop-rock outfit The All-American Rejects), Dashboard Confessional is an act that is able to make you feel like you're part of something.
The evening was kicked off with an opening set from The Social Animals, an up-and-coming indie rock act from Duluth, MN. While they weren't exactly the act that I had expected to open up for a show like this, they did a splendid job warming up the crowd and bringing a bit of variety to the show. After a break in-between sets, The All-American Rejects took the stage.
I will admit that I was skeptical to see The All-American Rejects. They've consistently put out great music, but with video snippet or live track I've heard from their shows, I've been utterly disappointed. Then again, the last time I'd heard any live footage was from the early 2000s, so I went in with little expectations and gave them the benefit of the doubt. It makes me so thrilled to report that this is the band that I had hoped to see live after all of these years. Perfectly in tune, highly energetic, armed with a frontman that knew how to take full control of a crowd, and dressed as if they were in the fictional band named after their hometown, the Stillwater, OK quartet powered through some of their biggest tracks, prompting massive sing-along moments throughout the evening. "Dirty Little Secret", "Move Along", "Gives You Hell", and a brilliant opening number in the form of "Swing, Swing". The building of the organ that opens the track was the perfect introduction to their set. Additionally, the band premiered a brand new track, entitled 'Sweat', a pop-infused track with the flair of a 70s rock number.
Around 10 PM, Chris Carrabba and Co. take the stage, immediately launching into 'Vindicated', a track originally released as part of the soundtrack for Spider-Man 2 in 2004. It made its way onto DC's 2006 album Dusk and Summer, and has since then become a staple in Carrabba's sets, prompting crowds to scream the chorus back as Carrabba, bassist Scott Schoenbeck, guitarist Armon Jay, and drummer Ben Homola look on with utter happiness in their faces. The rest of the set follows in this fashion. The entire band truly look like they wouldn't be anywhere else but that stage, right there with their fans. For the most part, a crowd is able to tell when a band is being genuine, and it's clear that DC are as genuine as they come.
With this show in particular, one of the most memorable moments was the performance of a track Carrabba penned called "Heart Beat Here". It's a track that is set to get an official release on the next Dashboard Confessional record, but it's made it's way around the Internet and at various DC shows when Chris plays his acoustic portion of the show. With a number of microphones pointed out at the crowd, he tells the audience that he is recording everyone when they sing the chorus with him. People are eager to see how the finished product will be when the album comes to fruition in the coming year, and I can say that was such a beautiful moment in the show.
Even though I took a seat up in the balcony after I had finished taking photos in the photo pit area, I felt like I was right up front. Carrabba has an ability to make everyone feel included. It's almost like watching an episode of Storytellers. Whether it's only Chris performing with an acoustic guitar in hand, or the full quartet playing through a number of electrifying and emotional tracks, Dashboard Confessional is a live band that is a one-hundred percent, fully certified, must-see. Hands down.
The All-American Rejects
The Social Animals
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