Mar 272002
Authors: John Holland

They were everywhere. Teenage kids wearing Converse All-Stars, hobbit haircuts and clothes that can only be found in a thrift store. They were all there for one reason: Chris Carrabba, or as he has been known for some time now, Dashboard Confessional.

Carrabba, whose one-man band is quickly becoming a quartet, is on a national tour with Legends of Rodeo, Ben Kweller and Kansas indie-rockers The Anniversary. The tour came through Denver to the Ogden Theatre Thursday night.

To start the night off, Legends of Rodeo took the stage and played what sounded like American rock – a heavier version of the music for which John Mellencamp is famous. I had never heard of them before and I honestly don’t ever want to hear of them again.

After one disappointing opening act, I was a little leery to pay attention to Ben Kweller, but he kicked off his set with an acoustic version of “BK Baby” (Kweller’s version of the Vanilla Ice hit) and I knew I couldn’t not like this guy. Then the backup band came out and they played a great set of songs reminiscent of Pavement, including one that was “a couple’s skate only.”

Now the show was about to start for real. I had been waiting to see The Anniversary again since I saw them on their first tour with the Get Up Kids back in 2000. Now, with a new album and two years of experience, I knew they were going to impress. Their set consisted of mostly new material with a little bit of old stuff. They finished their set with “Perfectly” and rocked the crowd so hard, they may have made a few new fans.

And finally, after two hours of other bands, the headliner came out. After a new “Dashboard Confessional” backdrop was raised, the man himself came out to greet his fans. Standing about 5-foot-3, Carrabba went right into “Saints and Sailors” without saying a word. Through the night he played a lot of older classics like “Living in your Letters” and “Age Six Racer,” while periodically trading the old acoustic guitar for an electric one to rip through new songs and give old songs a brand new feel.

With exposure on MTV, corporate radio and college stations like KCSU, Carrabba is somewhere he never thought he would be. He stressed that to the crowd over and over again and actually seemed sincere when he said, “Thanks for comin’ out.”

The tour continued to Iowa City the next night and Carrabba’s career is likely to keep blossoming as well. If he keeps touring and putting on amazing shows, he can only go up. n

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