with Beach Slang, Kississippi
House of Blues; Orlando, FL • March 25, 2018
by Jen Cray
With their first new record in nearly 10 years fresh in the ears of fans, emo darlings Dashboard Confessional lift up a near-capacity crowd in Orlando with heartfelt musings and aching melodies. Frontman Chris Carrabba charms with frequent puppy eyed smiles and gushes about his love for Orlando, apologizing early on for moments to come when he will surely pause to appreciate the moment and the crowd. Which he does.
Old school favorites, that surely transport fans back to their teenage years in quiet candle lit bedrooms, are slipped into a set that showcases songs off of the new Crooked Shadows. It’s quite softly pop, but the band commit to it fully, like when guitarist Armon Jay falls to his knees and puts his back to the floor, lost in a song that would seemingly be much much more intense than what they’re playing.
The whole night is a celebration of emo at its most sincere and Carrabba serves as the MC of cathartic healing for the heart-on-their-sleeves loyals in attendance.
If anyone could challenge the Dashboard man for the title of most sincere, it’s Beach Slang’s James Alex. The ruffle suited frontman effectively punches hearts with songs written for the downtrodden and, at set’s end, jumps down from the stage to hug each and every person lined up along the front row — in case there was any confusion as to how big his heart really is.
Their set featured a typical Beach Slang moment where Alex leads the band through a series of snippets of cheeky, crowd pleasing guilty pleasure songs (like Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy,” and Smashmouth’s “All Star”) before sinking into a phenomenal cover of Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?” which showcases the incandescent voice of guitarist Aurore Ounjian and bassist (and Orlando resident/member of The Pauses) Tierney Tough on the Kim Deal parts.
Opening up the show was Philly indie pop darlings Kississippi. Led by Zoe Reynolds, the band has just the right balance of ache and optimism and, though a little saccharine, their charm is undeniable. Kind of like emo, in general.