Last month, quintessential early 2000s emo band, Dashboard Confessional, delighted fans with their seventh studio album, and their first in eight years. After listening to the first track off Crooked Shadows, it felt as if the band had never left. Last night, I had the pleasure of watching Dashboard Confessional perform at the Corona Theatre for their first show in Montreal in over twelve years. For most of us, watching them play was like revisiting the best parts of our adolescence, or reuniting with an old friend. And what a sweet reunion it was!

Kicking off the night was Quebec City’s Gabrielle Shonk, who quickly charmed the crowd en français. Next up was Ontario indie rockers, The Elwins, whose more upbeat tunes helped pump us up for Dashboard Confessional.

Just before 10 PM, Chris Carrabba entered the stage to the ending notes of Jimmy Eat World’s “Sweetness,” mixed with thunderous applause from a small but dedicated crowd. In an unusual move, he spent the first few moments talking to us, thanking the opening acts, and saying how glad he was to be back after so long. He then started off the set alone with an acoustic performance of “The Best Deceptions.” It was immediately clear that Chris’s vocals have only improved over time, and the crowd made their appreciation obvious each time he hit one of those characteristic high notes (and held it for longer than most people can even hold their breath).

The rest of the band joined Chris onstage, and we were treated to an incredible set mixed with old favorites and new songs. The band brought us far back in time with gems like “Remember to Breathe” and “The Sharp Hint of New Tears.” We also got to hear some classics spanning several albums, such as “Screaming Infidelities,” “Saints and Sailors,” and “Stolen.” It was great to hear some new songs for the first time, including “Belong” and catchy new single, “We Fight.”

One of the highlights of the night was when Chris played a solo acoustic set, beginning with “The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most.” I was delightfully surprised to hear beautiful renditions of “Ghost of a Good Thing” and “Carry This Picture,” two old favorites off A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar. The acoustic set ended with Chris having the entire audience join in to help sing “Heart Beat Here,” my personal favorite off Crooked Shadows.

 The set ended with another highlight, a drawn out version of “Vindicated” including an excellent instrumental intro. But of course, the show was not complete until the band returned for “Hands Down,” the song much of the crowd had been waiting for all night. Overall, the show was phenomenal. Chris frequently bantered with the crowd (enough for twelve years worth of absence), and created interactions that made the show feel profoundly intimate. The band had excellent chemistry and high energy, and the emotions were running wild. Despite the lyrics and tone of many Dashboard Confessional songs, the general feeling was lighthearted and positive. I’m confident everyone left the show feeling that, hands down, this was the best night we have had in a while!

Listen to “We Fight” by Dashboard Confessional:

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Chloe Sholl

Chloe is a 26-year-old McGill and Concordia graduate in physiology and psychology. While her career path has fallen more into the education field, music, reading, and writing remain three of her strongest passions. Despite this, she has been told more than once that she has the worst singing voice in the entire world. Because the life of a musician has not worked out for her, she instead attends concerts and writes about them. Many of them. Chloe has been known to overuse the word “favorite,” especially when talking about music.

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