Dashboard Confessional and Third Eye Blind Live At The HOB

By on June 11, 2015

 

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Photo-Will Ogburn

“Hey guys…um, so…” A girl in a black shirt stood on the stage at the House of Blues addressing the crowd, “Augustana won’t be playing tonight. Sorry!” She nervously shifted back as forth after her comment provoked a sigh among the audience. “So, uhh, we’ll be starting an hour later.” Now the real boos came in.

That was the one moment of unrest from an otherwise phenomenal crowd that packed the House on Friday night. The venue continues to surprise me with the amount of people that it can hold, but tonight was a little different. Most of the time, sold-out crowds there have been mostly teenagers – brought in by bands such as Black Veil Brides and Sleeping with Sirens. This was an adult crowd – VIP tickets, business casual attire, and alcohol flowing from all three bars like water. This stop on the tour was streamed live through Yahoo, which made the whole event even rowdier. I’ve never had so many people strike up a random conversation about my hat, or my accent, or “yeah man…how do cameras like…work?”

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Photo-Will Ogburn

Dashboard Confessional

First up on the short stack lineup was Dashboard Confessional – a home state (Boca Raton) emo band known for their deep lyrics. It seemed that a good number of people were there more for Dashboard than Third Eye Blind, which is what makes this pairing so great.

They wasted no time winning the crowd – opening with “Screaming Infidelities”, the 2002 hit that many consider their best. Frontman Chris Carrabba energized the crowd by looking them in the eyes as he sang, pointing at the fans that knew every word.

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Photo-Will Ogburn

Next up, came “The Sharp Hint of New Tears”, the chorus of which features the lyrics “dashboard confessional” that gave the band their name. Again, the Dashboard faithful ate up this piece of nostalgic lore, singing along with Carrabba.

The short, quick, upbeat “The Good Fight” came next, followed by the melancholy angst of “Don’t Wait”. Carrabba made even the sad songs (of which he has plenty) feel energetic and fun. Guitarist John Lefler also had a great stage presence, leaning out into the crowd and dancing with their frontman.

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Photo-Will Ogburn

Dashboard radiates with teenage uncertainty, reawakening the awkward high schooler in all of us (mine wasn’t too deep in there). This personal connection is one of the reason they’re able to draw such a large crowd. The next track “Remember to Breathe” had a similar feel to the one before it, deep and contemplative.

As the set went on Carrabba had the crowd eating out of his hand, something he’s been doing since 99’. He leaned out off of the stage and stripped out of his jacket while the fans screamed. Balloons reigned down from the rafters. All the while, bassist Scott Schoenbeck pranced around the right side of the stage, buried in his mess of hair.

Dashboard Confessional

Photo-Will Ogburn

After thirteen songs, Dashboard reached the real power in the lineup. First came 2007’s “Stolen”, a melodic love song with a sweet chorus. This song would be perfect for a beach playlist – not sad, just kind of chill.

Like a web-slinging photographer, “Vindicated” swept over the crowd as they slowly caught on. “You guys like superheroes?” asked Carrabba, alluding to the track’s history. This song represents the height of Dashboard’s commercial success – the apprehensive anthem made it’s way onto the big screen as part of the Spiderman soundtrack. “Vindicated” is the kind of song that makes you want to hold up a lighter and sing along, but House of Blues policy was the only thing that stopped that from happening.

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Photo-Will Ogburn

Dashboard ended their set with the whispery, yet energetic “Hands Down”. This song perfectly encapsulates everything that is Dashboard: romance, uncertainty, hope, and frustration. It was a perfect nightcap for a night where we got to better understand one of the bands that reigned supreme during the days of Napster.

Third Eye Blind

A curtain covered the stage as the buzz of anticipation swept through the venue. When it opened, few would expect what was on the other side: a massive wall of coordinated LED lights and the ambiguous outlines of Third Eye Blind. Standing on top of a box, microphone hanging down from the ceiling like a boxing announcer, you could make our frontman Stephan Jenkins as he began singing “Faster”.

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Photo-Will Ogburn

Jenkins has seen a lot at age 50, and has contributed just as much to the musical landscape since he founded Third Eye Blind in 1993. The next longest-tenured member, drummer Brad Hargreaves, has still been around nearly as long as I’ve been alive. It was easy to see the chemistry between the band mates, and even though it wasn’t exactly clear what they were doing on the Tron-like stage, they were very sure of themselves while doing it.

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Photo-Will Ogburn

The lights stayed down but the energy turned up as Jenkins and company broke into chart topping hit “Graduate”. Another high-school nostalgiafest, the song of searching for a purpose would fit perfectly at a campfire in about 99’. Both Dashboard and Third Eye decided to start off strong with a popular song, a tactic that I think bands should do more. Fans were jumping up and down, still trying to graduate to a more mature plane of life after all these years.

After a few more classics, Third Eye Bind transitioned to one of my personal favorites, “Never Let You Go”. The harmonious song features an abundance of mellow backing vocals by guitarist Kryz Reid, as well as a chill feel from Jenkins on the mic. The song blends acoustic, electric, soothing verses, and a catchy chorus. The crazy thing about this whole show was how fans knew nearly every word to most of these songs. Often, you’ll only get one or two where fans really sing along – this was basically an entire setlist.

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Photo-Will Ogburn

Next up came “Mine”…a Beyoncé cover. Interestingly enough, TEB has played this song live more than Queen B herself after taking a liking to it last year. The adaptation is actually pretty cool, and I honestly didn’t know it was a cover when I first heard it.

They’d been chanting for it all night, and after several more songs, fans finally got to hear “Slow Motion.” This track came in the middle of a semi-acoustic portion where Jenkins’ sound took center stage, and it fit right in. Friends locked arms and swayed back and forth, chanting the slow ballad like it was a college alma mater. This song has an interesting plot involving murder, cocaine, romance, and his sister eating paint chips. Little gems like this tend to get lost in the long body of work by Third Eye.

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Photo-Will Ogburn

“How’s It Going to Be?” it’s a question, it’s a song title, and for many in the crowd, it was a part of their childhood. This song features Jenkins’ knack for writing catchy choruses, powerful drums, and a dose of depth that we’ve come to expect from Third Eye Blind. It was a nice bookend/transition from the soft acoustic stuff to the more up-tempo songs to come.

Speaking of powerful drums, next on the docket came an intense and creative Brad Hargreaves drum solo. It featured samples from Jay Z, to Jimi Hendrix, to an unexpected dubstep medley. It’s really cool when a drummer can take control and create like that, and the crowd loved it.

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Photo-Will Ogburn

As the regulation set drew to a close, the Third Eye Blind faithful knew what was coming, they just weren’t sure about the order. “I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend…” the words flowed out of Jenkins’ mouth. Soon, the entire crowd – photographers, employees, senior citizens were screaming at the top of their lungs like they Jim Carey trying to save that guy in Yes Man. The environment was so accepting there – people were dancing and laughing, singing and cheering.

After an encore that was anything but silent, Jenkins, Hargreaves, and co. came back out to “Shipboard Cook”. Now that “Jumper” was out of the way, the anticipation for the last track was building. “Doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo” the poppy, rhythmic chant started as soon as the chords began. “I want some-thing else, to get me through this” the crowd chanted. The song, of course, was “Semi-Charmed Life”. Fans treated it like it was their song and Third Eye Blind was the audience.

Third Eye Blind was one of the most interesting concerts I’ve ever been to because of how it engaged the fans. There were really no gimmicks, no props – no crowdsurfers, no moshing, or fire. The LED lights were cool, but other than that there was only music. An act like this reminds me of how truly powerful music can be, how it unites us over something as simple as adolescence or a melody and makes us want to sing “I want some-thing else” until the sun comes up.

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