In the beginning, there was one person and one instrument.  A man named Chris Carrabba wielded an acoustic guitar and managed to permeate the punk and emo scenes with his raw, lyrical candor. There were EPs, there were LPs. The second of those, The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most, scored Carrabba an MTV hit with the track “Screaming Infidelities.” And from there, his career exploded into full-fledged fame.

Dashboard Confessional later expanded. On Carrabba’s third LP, A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar, a full band was added, each instrument joining together to fill out his signature sound. The unparalleled strength of his voice was further heightened with this new musical intensity. Carrabba sings with such remarkable power and abandon, a hybrid of passion and fury that’s unmatched in his peers. He manages to hold notes for astonishingly long moments and can sing about love in hushed, delicate tones in the same breath as he can betrayal, unleashing the full force of his voice into an evocative wail. Simply put, Carrabba makes you feel, and he does so with a seeming effortlessness that enthusiastically resonates with his listeners. As Dashboard Confessional hasn’t stopped releasing records since their inception, Carrabba’s begun a veritable collection of fans, hoarding more and more of them with each successive release. His audience has now become intergenerational, and with Dashboard’s latest release, Crooked Shadows, it’s sure to speak to a new crop of teenagers while still delighting the fans who have been there since the beginning.

Embarking on a tour of comparatively smaller venues to promote Crooked Shadows, those who were lucky enough to score tickets to the sold-out show in New York piled into a packed Brooklyn Steel on March 29th. Fans rushed into the venue in swarms, making a fervent beeline to the floor in order to be as close to the stage as possible.

Carrabba walked out in his truest form, alone with his acoustic guitar. He asked if he could “play a deep cut,” to which everyone cheered as he launched into “This Bitter Pill,” the last track on the aforementioned The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most. When that ended, the rest of the band came out as they amped it up for “Don’t Wait,” off Dusk and Summer. The night was a family reunion. Carrabba vividly expressed his gratitude over and over again, not only thankful to be able to play music for a living, but to his fans, who allow him to do so. They responded wildly, their reaction signifying that the feeling was mutual.

Carrabba curated a setlist made up of songs off Crooked Shadows combined with some of his greatest hits from years past. Saving the best for last, Carrabba ended with three fan favorites: “Screaming Infidelities,” “Stolen,” and “Vindicated.” “Hands Down,” of course, made up the encore, leaving the crowd on the highest, most ecstatic note possible.

The future continues to shine on Dashboard Confessional.

Christie McMenamin