Punk

Story Behind The Setlist: Dashboard Confessional and Thrice @ Honda Civic Tour 2004 – San Jose, CA

There are three things I remember about the Dashboard Confessional, Thrice and The Get Up Kids concert in San Jose, California in 2004:

  • Chris Carrabba stopped the show mid-song and threatened to beat up my friend
  • We missed The Get Up Kids, the band I most wanted to see, due to a speeding ticket
  • A motel bathtub full of alcohol

All other details have been filled in by friend’s memories. It’s good to have friend’s memories corroborate an event like this, because, really, it makes for a very strange story.

Where do we start?

Highway 101 north of San Luis Obispo.

I sat in the back seat of a smelly car full of high school graduates. We were 18 year olds, idyllic in our fresh angst, speeding with the radio loud, bags of Doritos strewn, gas station fountain drinks in hand — all those cliche snacks from youth I’m still waiting to outgrow — we had what seemed a never ending supply.

Socially, I was a man of many cliques. Never a big partier, a little alcohol at a friend’s house, say, but never could I stomach drunkenness or drugs. What I was was morally malleable. This meant I could make a go at any social gathering with decent success. This particular 2004 outing was unique, socially speaking, for merging three disparate friend groups. I had my party friends, my church friends, and my actual friends. I remember sitting in that backseat with the sobering and unmasking feeling that comes with your friends meeting your other very different friends.

Punk, partier, and Christian — on our way in a caravan to San Jose. Ahead of us lay three rooms in a louche motel with alcohol, cigarettes and concert tickets to the 2004 Honda Civic Tour. (more…)

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Skate and Surf Fest 2015 Recap: Rewinds and New Finds

Last week, (instead of attending college graduation), the wife and I skipped town and headed to Asbury Park, New Jersey to attend Skate and Surf Fest — a two day music festival.

The festival featured a mix of contemporary indie-rock bands: mewithoutYou, The Gaslight Anthem, The Front Bottoms. It also included some new acts I was excited to see: Rozwell Kid, Cloud Nothings, Diamond Youth. For some reason, I don’t know why, Skate and Surf Fest was the place to be to see some of my favorite high school bands reunite: From Autumn to Ashes, Poison the Well, Thrice, Acceptance. #oldguycrowd

If Asbury Park sounds familiar, it’s probably for one of two reasons: Bruce Springsteen’s classic album, “Greetings from Asbury Park” or Sandy, the devastating 2012 hurricane (or superstorm). Just walking around the boardwalk and seeing the damage hit me hard. It reminded me that communities like these are affected long after the news cameras turn off. But even in its destruction there is new life in Asbury Park, and it’s beautiful.

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For the first day of the festival we were joined by a couple west coast friends, Scott and Brook. We stood in line, ate pizza, stood in line some more, watched a boardwalk magician get arrested, stood in line some more, and finally, got close to the front of the line.

Eventually we made it inside.

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Skate and Surf Fest 2015

My first impression of the festival was, “This is it?” (more…)

Confessions of a Former Dashboard Confessional Fan

Many pop/rock bands from my youth are reemerging. Weezer, Brand New, Blink 182, mewithoutYou and Jimmy Eat World have all embarked on album reunion tours (Jimmy Eat World just announced one for FUTURES, which is pretty great). For me, this year marks the tenth anniversary of something even more nostalgic and silly, that is, my high school graduation.

I think about where I was ten years ago and who I was listening to. Oddly enough, it is a lot of the same music I listen to today. Adding to the list up top we have Death Cab for Cutie, Beck, Denison Witmer, Lovedrug, Ben Folds…

I’m okay with still liking all these bands. Their music is sustaining, and I’m proud to say that they helped shape my younger ears.

But there’s other bands from my past, that when they pop up, I’m not so okay with. What I’m getting at is that sometimes certain music reminds me how creepy I was in high school.

The Bands You Have Come to Fear the Most

Remember Dashboard Confessional? That emo acoustic-rock band lead by Chris Carrabba out of Further Seems Forever? I’m asking but, really, I know you do. Odds are if you are around my age and listened to indie/emo you probably owned two or three of his EPs; the MTV Unplugged DVD/CD combo; you wore the D/C pins on your denim jacket; and you shouted his lyrics like hell, in angst, when relationships broke (and really, even when you were happy).

Yeah. That Dashboard Confessional.

What was it about this band that was so gripping? I mean sure, he sang about falling in love and break-ups and getting cheated on, which captured the essence of dating in high-school, but there was something else. Something that just connected.

Maybe it was the time. One of those rare things, you know? A perfect storm, fueled by emotion-hungry MTV rebels who were looking for a genuineness than rock radio couldn’t provide. And Chris Carrabba sang from the heart. He was always truthful on stage, and I think that’s what we loved. He was the genuine, earnest article. He was the folk-voice of my high school generation, and, to be honest, it’s totally embarrassing.

But before I get ahead of myself, here’s a quick recap for those who honestly don’t know about Dashboard Confessional.

Kevin’s Dashboard 3 Point Recap

1. Cheated on by his wife, he poured his heart out on some angsty acoutsic EPs

2. Those EPs made him super popular. Then he made more of the same

3. He eventually pulled a ’65 Dylan and went electric, earning a couple big MTV hits.

I was a REALLY big fan of Dashboard. The extent of my obsession was a bit much. You can tell I was a big fan because I drop the band’s last name when I refer to them. We were that close. Like Chris, I now need to confess. I need to brush embarrassing memories off my chest, so I can finally move forward, like an adult.

(To the tune of Buzzfeed)

Vindicated?

1. I had a questionably handsome poster on my bedroom wall of Chris on the cover of SPIN

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2. I used my friend’s dad’s eBay account to consistently bid on Dashboard merch. mlRflFAMpCcNczhbPF_fKhg (more…)

How I’d Spend my Saturday (If I Were a Punk-Rocker)

I’ve been fairly poor lately. Staying away from specifics such as budget and purchasing power, I will mention Mac N’ Cheese has been a substantial portion of my daily diet. Mmmmmmac.

This whole “poor” thing has got me thinking existentially. What is life? What is happiness? What control does money have over myself, the individual?

I had one more thought, and it brought me here: Who is better at being poor than punk-rockers?

Punk-Rock is a music genre, scene, and way of life. The punk-mentality doesn’t need money, nor does it need an excuse. Punk-rockers just are. They walk the streets. They smoke. .. Well, who knows what they do. But it seems they get through life being poor pretty alright.

Some of my favorite friends from high-school were the punk-rockers: the mohawks, the black clothes, the best music. I’m not sure what happened to them. Some, I’m sure, looked at the holes in their jeans and turned and headed back. Others turned into philosophy graduates; others, still, traded their jeans for suits and probably work as tellers in local banks.

Regardless, I find myself today, penniless, stuck inside an apartment in Rochester, NY with a cupboard full of Marconi and Cheese and nothing else to do. But it’s Saturday, and I want to do something! Think, Kevin! Think PUNK!

Punk-Rock Saturday

Idea # 1. Demotivate 5K Runners: There’s this 5k Run in Rochester today. The route wraps around both ends of my block; I can hear the clatter and cheer as I write. I’m thinking about going to the end of the block and yelling:

“Slow down!” “You won’t make it!” “Get over yourself!” “You’re fat!”

In this vision, I also hand out tiny water cups filled of cheap vodka.

Idea #2. Celebrate the Government Shutdown with a Parade: The parade, obviously, would consist of punk-rockers walking down main street blasting Bad Religion from their 80’s boom-boxes. This vision works best when everybody has their own boom-box and plays a different song. Total anarchy.

Idea #3. Shoplift from Goodwill: My punk-rock friends used to say this: “What are they losing if they get it for free?” I’ve never been able to answer that question in full confidence. Goodwill, more like good steal!

Shoplifting in New York is trickier than it is in the West Coast. Here, almost every store has a security/loss prevention guard. What better way to exercise my beliefs against the man? (and exercise!)

Idea #4. Argue Music Selections at Record Stores: 85% of punk-rock is hanging out. What better place to do this than in a record store? Just walk in and browse, wait for someone to choose a bad record and you have something to do for fifteen minutes. Start with this, “Are you serious?”

Music establishments generally encourage this type of behavior.

Idea #5. Start a Punk Rock Band: The best punk-rock comes from having nothing to do (and no purpose to do it with!). This is me! I think I’ve realized why the Lord sent me to Rochester. Obviously, it’s to hate the man and make loud music.

And if the band doesn’t work, I’ll just start kicking people.

Any additional suggestions?