If you listened to alt rock radio, attended a high school dance, or basically just existed in the early 2000’s, odds are you would have heard at least one song you recognize at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston, MA on Sunday night. That’s where one of this summer’s best nostalgia inducing tours stopped by last night. Headlined by emo stalwarts Dashboard Confessional the tour also features The All American Rejects and Arizona emo group The Maine, as well as up and coming rockers The Social Animals. For most of the 20-somethings in attendance the night was a chance to relive some of their best summer memories, singing along by the water with a few thousand like minded music fans.
The Social Animals kicked things off, promptly at 6:30pm. By the time The Social Animals released their debut EP last year, the other bands on this tour were already celebrating 10 and 15 year album anniversaries. However even as the young guns on this tour, their sound was probably the most retro - a deep, soulful blues rock sound that you could picture yourself hearing while waiting for your milkshake date at a 50’s diner. Though their set only lasted 4 songs they captured the audiences’ attention with their soul and swagger.
Second to the stage were late 00’s phenoms, The Maine, a group who’s fan base loyalty could match any on the bill. A good chunk of Sunday’s crowd was decked out in Maine merch from previous shows. The Maine were playing mostly from their latest album “Lovely Little Lonely” which includes hits like “Bad Behavior” and “Black Butterflies and Déjà vu.” Maine frontman John O’Callahagn was battling a fever, but still managed to pull together an ultra impressive set with crowd interaction and turning the energy level in the venue from 0-60 quite quick.
Up next was The All American Rejects, with their last album coming out in 2012, their set was made up mostly of mid 2000’s staples like “Dirty Little Secret,”“Swing Swing” and “Move Along.” Frontman Tyson Ritter appeared to be more than a little erratic, unsucessfuly trying his best Steven Tyler impersonation for a crowd who only know Tyler as an American Idol judge. Ritter’s odd behavior was a bit distracting during the set, and the energy levels were very mixed. The band went from highs like on “Dirty Little Secret” to lows on “Close Your Eyes” – a yet to be released song that left those in attendance kind of puzzled. The Rejects were all over the map on Sunday night, and while their classic tracks brought back a lot of memories and nostalgia, it’s clear they have some work to do if they want to get back on the competitive map.
Finally Dashboard Confessional took the stage, opening with arguably their most popular track 2004’s “Vindicated” from the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack, things kicked off with a bang. Dashboard frontman Chris Carrabba is one of the true ‘good guys’ in the music scene as he never skips an opportunity to thank his fans, crew, and everyone who as anything to do with making their shows a success. Carrabba exerts happiness and gratitude onstage, making you realize how much he enjoys what he does. In polar opposite to All American Rejects, when Carrabba took time to play through some new and yet to be released material, the feeling was optimistic.
For the new song “We Fight” Carrabba began to bring politics into the mix as many bands have, but then went down a road most other artists drive right by. Carrabba expressed his disdain for the current political administration, but also added that if anyone wanted to share opposing views he was willing to listen. In an era where politics and music have been mixgin and dividing more and more it was a nice change of pace from the status quo.
Getting back into the music, songs like “Stolen” and “Screaming Infidelities” invoked memories of many a mid 2000’s summer for the Boston crowd. Appearing for a one song encore of “Hands Down” Dashboard ended the night with a big sing-along capping off a fun summer night that felt a lot more like a Friday night than a Sunday night.
Dashboard Confessional on Tour:
8/8 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE w/ The Maine 8/9 Philadelphia, PA Festival Pier w/ The Maine 8/10 Vienna, VA Wolf Trap w/ The Maine 8/12 Nashville, TN Ascend Amphitheater w/ The Maine 8/13 Charlotte, NC Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre w/ The Maine 8/15 Highland Park, IL Ravinia Festival
Photos - Dashboard Confessional, All American Rejects, The Maine, The Soial Animals - 8.6.17