REVIEW: Dashboard Confessional makes personal connections at the Fillmore

Dashboard Confessional, Chris Carrabba

Photos: Joaquin Cabello

SAN FRANCISCO — Dashboard Confessional frontman Chris Carrabba has always found a way to break down the barrier between his band and fans. To young fans who felt alone in a strange and confusing world, Dashboard Confessional consistently proved a relatable connection. They showed that yet again Tuesday at the Fillmore.

Dashboard Confessional, Chris Carrabba

Dashboard Confessional performs at The Fillmore in San Francisco on April 17, 2018.

Carrabba began Dashboard’s set by walking onstage alone with an acoustic guitar to perform “The Best Deception.” The smooth folk rock sound that has defined Dashboard Confessional since the return from its hiatus clearly resonated, with fans singing along.

The band then joined Carrabba onstage to lift the tempo with new single “We Fight,” off Crooked Shadows. The night took on a more energetic tone as the next few songs highlighted the contrast between the quartet and the solo performer. This mix of acoustic and electric music would be a constant throughout the show, and a serve as a comparison between the band’s previous and current eras.

Dashboard Confessional, Chris Carrabba

Dashboard Confessional performs at The Fillmore in San Francisco on April 17, 2018.

Throughout the show, the band left Carrabba onstage alon to break the fast-paced rhythm with a ballad, and every time that happened, his connection with the audience grew stronger. He and the fans fed off each other throughout the night, and the show began to feel more personal as the night went on. His banter felt more like conversations with an old friend than an audience. Songs like “Heart Beat Here” felt like a campfire sing-along. He also covered “Adore,” by Australian Amy Shark.

Carrabba shed his jacket for the final three songs, “Vindicated,” “Screaming Infidelities” and “Stolen,” and played a guitar that was as well-worn as a loved teddybear. As the band left the stage, the crowd began singing “Hands Down” to encourage an encore that would follow.

Beach Slang preceded the headliners with a thrashy punk set.

“Thanks for coming early and paying attention; I got dressed up for you, San Francisco,” bandleader James Alex said, who wore a blazer and red bow tie.

Beach Slang started with high energy and sustained its enthusiasm through the set, delivering an unmistakable punk rock sound with no concern for volume restrictions. Alex and his bandmates closed with a mostly ’90s medley consisting of Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy,” Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” Smash Mouth’s “All Star” (yes, really) and a full rendition of  the Pixies’ “Where is My Mind.”

The night started when a young woman walked out carrying a pink studded guitar.

“Hi, my name is Zoë. This is a project called ‘Kississippi’” vocalist Zoë Allaire Reynolds said. She sang softly, almost sheepishly while her partner, Colin James Kupson, and their band crept in behind her. Following introductions, the band quickly jolted the set the rest of the way.

Follow writer Nick Gumas at photographer Joaquin Cabello at


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