Alt met Emo as two of the biggest acts from the late 90’s/early 00’s joined together for a co-headlining extravaganza Tuesday night at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater. Roots rock band Augustana started off the show, playing to the crowd by swapping out the names and places referenced in their songs with the city of Raleigh. This was especially evident in 2005’s city specific, “Boston”, where lead singer Dan Layus laments of a female lover who intends to move to Boston (Raleigh for those of us attending the show) where no one knows her name. San Diego, California natives Augustana have been a fixture since their inception in 2003 with their television and radio friendly singles. They also served as the openers for Dashboard Confessional lead singer Chris Carabba’s first solo tour back in 2007, establishing then a familiarity that is still playing out to this day.
The aforementioned Carrabba then took the stage and for the next 45 minutes, served as host and narrator during Dashboard Confessional’s set. The poster child for emo sensibilities was true to form as he complimented all of his tour mates for their contributions to the show and their respective musical genres before delving right into DC’s older material. Beginning with 2002’s “MTV Unplugged 2.0”, Carrabba went into storytelling mode as he accounted kissing a girl under a bridge once in Raleigh (said bridge to remain a secret he deadpanned) and musing on growing up in a bad neighborhood as a reason for his momentary cursing. Wearing a white beater T-shirt and slicked, gel hair with the sides trimmed, Carrabba looked more like a hipster in his 20’s than the 40 years of age he biologically is and move maniacally as he switched out guitars, going from acoustic to bass varieties. After performing “Vindicated” from the 2004 Spiderman 2 Soundtrack, Dashboard Confessional finished with “Hands Down” (the song Carrabba frequently has stated is about the best day he’s ever had in his life) and Carrabba started spinning wildly in circles while playing guitar (a nod to mid 2000’s emo pop successors Fall Out Boy and their guitarist Joe Trohman whose known for a similar maneuver).
Closing out the evening, Third Eye Blind lead singer Stephan Jenkins sauntered into a spectral light show as the band played their 1998 hit “Graduate” (from 1997’s eponymous album) in darkness. Following up with “Blinded (When I See You)” from the same source, Jenkins emerged from the shadows as Third Eye Blind has often done in the past, despite their popularity having peaked at 1999’s Blue. Staying true to their desires as musicians and honoring their fans by continuing to write and release new music, June 16 will coincide with the release of their fifth album, Dopamine, and the accompanying single “Everything is Easy” was introduced to the crowd. The San Francisco, California act has proven themselves as successful draws and one of the few 90’s alt rock acts that have only improved with the passage of time. The building blocks of that reputation go back to the iconic singles chosen to end the night: “Jumper” & “Semi-Charmed Life” again off the eponymous album. Mostly identified with the band due to the graphic subject matters of suicide aftermaths, drug recovery and sexual addictions, both feature ending lines of departure respectively: “And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand” and “I’m not listening when you say… Good-bye”. While they are catchy within the context of the song, I would argue that neither expresses the feelings of concert attendees or those afflicted with a touch of 90’s nostalgia.
Dashboard Confessional & Third Eye Blind will continue to tour together through the end of July. For remaining tour dates/locations/venues, as well as additional info, please visit http://www.dashboardconfessional.com/ & http://thirdeyeblind.com/
For more on Augustana, please visit http://www.augustanamusic.com/
Lamarr Fowlkes is a Raleigh, NC based writer, contributing to Triangle Arts & Entertainment. A current enrollee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill completing a degree in Mass Communication, descendent of Welsh heritage, and hockey fanatic, Lamarr will continue to provide arts and entertainment event reviews for the Triangle when not attending to his studies. To read more of Lamarr’s posts for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/lamarr-fowlkes