Tuesday, 9 February 2010

598 DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL, London WC2 Astoria, Friday 15 August 2003

We had visions of this one being a non-starter due to a dodgy motor, similar to our last gig trip where we missed Sparklehorse at Bristol Academy due to a car breakdown, but luckily it wasn't! We topped up the oil before we left at 5.30, but as soon as we hit the M4, the car stated smoking like a 60-a-dayer, and obscuring the vision of the motorists behind us. We limped along to Membury Services and called the AA out; they arrived within 10 minutes and the bloke advised us we'd overfilled the car with oil - by about 2 litres! He drained off the excess, which took an absolute age, and we finally got going again at 7.30. Thus delayed, we parked up in Shepherd's Bush at 20 to 9, and tubed over to the Astoria, the revised venue for this gig after the LA2 sold out. Got hassled by the doorman who thought I was smuggling stuff in - no, it's my hernia! Had to lift my shirt up to show him, so it was 9 before we got in, just as Dashboard Confessional were taking the stage. Talk about timing...

Dashboard Confessional have upgraded from the hands-down (!) Best New Band of last year's Reading Festival, to a heart-crackingly emotive favourite thanks to the brilliantly desolate "Places You Have Come To Fear The Most" CD. Furthermore, they appear to have been embraced by a generation of disillusioned rock kids searching for some meaningful music to hang their post-nu metal beanie hats on. No surprise then that mainman, the strikingly photogenic Chris Carraba, was welcomed onstage tonight like the messiah. Second number "The Good Fight" was rapturously received, and featured the Dashboard live staple of Chris abandoning his mic and leading the moshpit choir, who returned with every word. Haunting, superlative stuff.

Much of the early set was taken up with the more optimistic yet currently unfamiliar new CD material, but it really took flight following an awesome "Screaming Infidelities"; heartbreak never sounded so good. This was, however, topped by final encore "Hands Down", the new single about, "the best day of my life," according to Chris. A beefed-up, stunning and soaring number, this one is possibly Dashboard's best number, and it's up there with the best releases of this year. And that was it - away from the venue and on the road by 10.30 - a quick dash for Dashboard, but well worth it!

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