Words Wal Reid Photo Mika Austin

Dashboard Confessional are one of those bands, whose songs, often denote a significant time or place in one’s life. For myself, hearing Vindicated played live, evoked a lot of those memories, I can even remember what I was doing ( which didn’t amount to much) and also who I was with. The concert had that déjà vu feeling to the night, a solid performance in the strangely eerie environment of Auckland’s Galatos Theatre.

It was the first time the Nashville band had been to New Zealand, and probably not their last, as singer Chris Carrabba waxed lyrical of the “friendly people” he had met here. Hard to believe they have been around for a decent period of time. Dashboard Confessional’s first recording was almost nineteen years ago with their classic album, The Swiss Army Romance, initially a solo side project of Chris Carrabba while he was in the Tooth & Nail band Further Seems Forever.
The group wasted no time playing on the seemingly tiny stage, it almost looked like they were individually vying for space as they played songs off their second studio album The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most.

Tunes like The Good Fight and This Bitter Pill sounded a little dated but were played with energetic fervour, all while the crowd lapped up the retro goodness.

Personally I preferred their latest album Crooked Shadows, so had to wait for We Fight and a solo Carrabba version of Heart Beat Here to get my ‘Dashboard’ fix, there was an interesting cover choice with Aussie chanteuse Amy Shark’s Adore, and an even more interesting acoustic rework of Corey Branan’s Skateland South, all worth the price of admission alone as the band made good use of their allotted time.

Overall, I loved the trip down memory lane, their songs are wee retrospective glimpses reigniting the flames of old. I must admit however, I’m more a fan of their recent material, it did however make me more of a bigger Chris Carrabba fan. His attitude and stage presence, a credit to his laidback honesty, you’d be hard pressed to find a more genuine person or band in the industry.

Here’s to Dashboard Confessional returning to New Zealand, until then, we’ll stoke the flames and keep We Fight on repeat play. Amen.