VENUE: Manchester Club Academy
REVIEW BY: Tom Bailey
THE FIRST gig of a New Year is always an important one, subtly setting the tone for the rest of year ahead.
You can imagine my excitement last December when I found my first for 2008 would be Dashboard Confessional – a band who ever since I caught their sublime outing at Leeds Festival 2006 I have longed to see in their own right.
The added bonus that this would be a solo acoustic tour from main man Chris Carrabba only added to my anticipation.
After finally getting to Manchester, despite much worry over train cancellations due to recent flooding, I watched as support band Tournaments got things off to a great start.
There’s easy comparisons to made with bands such as Arcade Fire and Tilly and the Wall, not just down the fact they have a violinist, but also their collective sound, coming across more as whole than just a band made up of individual parts.
Upbeat and charming – make no mistake this Welsh quintet are ones to watch out for in 2008.
From the moment Carrabba took the stage, armed only with his voice and an acoustic guitar there was as immediate sense this was going to be something special.
Playing for well over an hour and a half, the Dashboard main man had the audience fully mesmerised from start to finish, an impressive achievement given the nature of the gig.
Older fans lapped up a generous selection of favourites including The Places That You Come To Fear The Most, Screaming Infidelities and The Swiss Army Romance, the latter featuring an added chorus of Say Anything’s Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too, at which point my jaw dropped so low it went through to the Student Union below.
However, it’s not just Carrabba’s talent that shines through but his onstage confidence, in control but yet effortless, successfully creating a genuine sense of intimacy with the 500 or so there, as well as offering plenty of wit and humour between songs. Predictably newer glories such as Don’t Wait, Vindicated and Where There’s Gold… received the loudest receptions, with the former provoking a mass call and response sing-a-long from the crowd An encore of Hands Down brought the faultless gig to a close.
Truly exceptional, Carrabba has set the bar to a new high. With the announcement of the more dates to come in April, 2008 is set to be one hell of a year.