Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cheer Up, Emo Kid

Despite the sheer number of music shows I go to, it took putting myself out there on Facebook to end up sharing music with a long-time friend of eight-plus years. Now we're both wondering why we waited so long.

It began simply enough; I had two tickets for Dashboard Confessional at the National tonight and there was only one of me. So I threw it out to my limited (by choice) FB friends, asking if anyone wanted to get emo with me tonight. Jokes shortly abounded.

And, lo and behold, one of my favorite (and usually busiest) friends took no time jumping on it. After years of talking music, swapping music and even him making mixtapes for me, we were finally going to experience a band we both really liked together. Tonight even.

His schedule prevented him from seeing all three openers, which was too bad for him because all three played strong sets.

DC's guitarist John Lefler did a terrific set of power pop and dedicated one song to his dad, a scientist who'd tried hard, but had ended up raising three musician sons anyway. He also kindly invited those interested to join him in the jacuzzi upstairs (many of us would have taken him up on it had he been serious) .

Cory Branan was next and his whisky-soaked voice, often off- mic, complemented his violent guitar playing. He explained one song about his longest relationship as "the one with alcohol, and not this piss-colored shit, either," holding up a beer. I can't imagine how his guitar holds up to the way he beats it, but it all worked.

Next up, Philly's Good Old War played the prettiest Americana/folk I could have hoped to hear on this freezing night (even utilizing my beloved twelve-string guitar). Each song featured the kind of three-part harmonies and emotive songwriting that had me convinced two songs in that I needed their CD to go home with me.

For the achingly beautiful "My Own Sinking Ship," the audience was instructed to find someone and slow dance to the upcoming love song, "with accordion." My friend still not yet arrived, I was hesitant to grab a stranger, but the song definitely called out for some major body contact.

From "That's Some Dream": I know everyone would want me to say that I'm not afraid to be alone. I'm gonna live, I'm alright. I'm gonna die, it's alright. I'm okay."

And not long after my friend arrived, giddy and with camera in hand (he's a talented photographer), as eager for an evening of shared emo as I was. And then a solo Chris Carrabba took the stage and that glorious pained voice came out.

From the opening notes of "Screaming Infidelities," we were singing along ("Your hair, it's everywhere"), friend and I, and most of the rest of the crowd. Ten years in, Carrabba has a huge stage presence, his confidence exuding from every pore. The rawness of youth has given way to the passion of adulthood and it's just as impressive, if not more so.

My friend took pictures, showing some to me as he did so and at other times, too lost in singing along to be bothered shooting. He seemed amazed every time he realized that he recognized yet another song, or instinctively began singing along.

Clearly he isn't getting out to enough shows. Clearly we need to share more live music. But for tonight, we got to enjoy the best possible experience, making a superb show somehow even better for the stellar company.

Since we weren't ready to let it go, we ended up at that bordello of a diner, Third Street, for burgers, fries and onion rings. It gave us a chance to really talk, look at photographs, dissect Twitter and discuss the slow death of cultural literacy (Wooster sauce? Heaven help us all).

If I thought it would always work out so satisfyingly, I'd start throwing out my social calendar to the winds of Facebook every single night.

Time to stop waiting so long for everything.


  1. your last line said it probably can not be overemphasized.

  2. So through waiting. I've been holding the world at arm's length for far too long now.

  3. saw your post ended up on Chris's page under recent CC news:

    you are my blog idol--worshipping at the feet of your emo tights!!

  4. Whoa! Thanks for the heads-up.