The Forum, Melbourne VIC
September 13th, 2017
Supports: Far Away Stables
Shameless angst, youthful heartache and complete melodrama – Emo was something you either mocked or embraced in the early-to-mid-2000s. Mainstream enough to top the charts, this musical ecosystem bloomed playful yet passionate, sweaty yet heartfelt rock. It held more merit that pop-punk, toyed with the DIY attitudes of hardcore and sampled the ferocity of screamo. In a nutshell, Emo was one of the most polarising genres in music.
In the wake of the new millennium, high school students demanded something new. As the continued success of rock mainstays and rise of R&B began to take its toll, bands such as My Chemical Romance, AFI, Taking Back Sunday and Brand New attracted a new fan base unlike any before. Capitalising on this new sound, style, influence and reason, this genre-fluid category flourished.
Infectious and ever-relatable, it is without doubt that mainstream emo helped define a generation. Their stories actually meant something to their die-hard fans. You scrawled the words of every song into your diary or journey, altered your flair and persona as per the bands and updated MSN names accordingly to your mood. I also guarantee that you or someone you know has lyrics from this era etched into their skin.
Now, a decade later, a strange thing has happened. Whilst the phrase has all but retired and yesterday’s youth have (questionably) grown up, these adults have begun revisiting the sounds of their adolescence. Club and themed nights aside, fans still go bat-shit over the aforementioned acts, whom most still continue to record and tour.
As one of these more treasured acts of our past, Dashboard Confessional returned to Melbourne’s The Forum Wednesday night to spit rapid-fire snark and regale self-obsession ballads.
Kicking off the night, Sydney-based alt-rock quintet Far Away Stables roared through a frenetic 45-minute set. Passionate, emotional and captivating, Far Away Stables effortlessly breezed across a swill of atmospheric and melodic cuts. Intricate and infectious, it comes as no surprise to see the hype that surrounds this home-grown talent.
After a brief intermission, Chris Carrabba’s Dashboard Confessional opened its 19-song set with one of their biggest hits, ‘Don’t Wait’. Greeted with a large applause, ‘The Sharp Hint of New Tears’ swiftly followed and had the crowd singing and clapping to every word. Taking a request from the audience, it’s hard to believe that ‘Saints and Sailors’ still oozes that youthful emotive charm and grace. Imbued with emotion, Carrabba also spun an emo-wave on Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’ and The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’.
The band sounded fresh, revitalized, polished and solid. ‘Again I Go Unnoticed’, ‘Screaming infidelities’ and ‘The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most’ sounded more upbeat now than they ever did before, whilst ‘Vindicated’ obviously soared. Hinting at a new material, Passenger/Mumford-esq sounding ‘Heart Beat Here’ was perhaps one of the highlights of the night. A fast-paced, anthemic, acoustic cut, it portended well for the soon to be released album.
As expected, ‘Stolen’ stole the show, until the well-deserved encore. After thanking Australia for their patience, the iconic opening riff of ‘Hands Down’ sent all in attendance into a fit. A slow-burn, heartfelt ballad, Carrabba finished alone of the stage with just the crowd singing along. His wails were perfectly matched in intensity and harmony by the adoring crowd, and long echoed after the song concluded.
Now with families, debt, actual real-life issues and more heartache than before, these somewhat revival tours provide the chance for yesteryear’s heroes to surrender to the dramatics of teendom once more. It’s been a hot-minute since we’ve last heard of Dashboard, but just like fine wine, they’ve matured with age. Whilst the lyrics haven’t changed, pace still frantic, and their intensions as clear as ever, this nostalgic train has no intensions of stopping anytime soon.
Photo Gallery by the legendary Todd Gingell
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Far Away Stables