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Dashboard plays for fans old and new

ST. PETERSBURG- Hold tightly onto the shell necklace given to you by that girl from spring break. Wipe the tears from the lens of your black box-frame glasses. Here comes Dashboard Confessional.

The heartfelt and woeful musical stylings of the band Dashboard Confessional were on display for members of the Greek letter society, average college students and adolescent scenesters alike Wednesday night at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg.

Chris Carrabba — the creator of Dashboard Confessional and the man who has made it OK for other guys to cry — has brought his band from the close-knit crowd of Florida’s independent music scene into the mainstream musical limelight. His songs of heartbreak and yearning love have attracted a large college following and tensely meshed with his hardcore indie fanbase. This was apparent not only in the crowd but also in the band’s music.

Dashboard Confessional opened its set with an all-electric, signature indie/emo instrumental tune equipped with rolling guitar chords and soft pastel lights from above. This set the tone for the concert that portrayed an unfamiliar sight to the long-time Confessional fan: Carrabba devoid of his acoustic guitar (a theme introduced on this current tour).

The overall performance marked the most valid development for “MainstrEmo”; that is to say, the conversion of mainstream rock with emo (short for emotional, for those of you not in the musical know).

The concert included old favorites from Swiss Army Romance for the long-time fans, which he thanked before almost every song. He also played a few new songs and good selections from the album that brought him his growing fame, The Places That You Come to Fear the Most . Before he played the album’s hit, “Screaming Infidelities” — a song that won him an MTV2 viewers’ choice award — he said to the hardcore Confessional fans, “This song is on the radio, and I’m sorry.”

Carrabba is also introducing more of his personal influences into his songwriting, exemplified in the performance of “Tonight I’ll Take What I Can Get,” a new country-tinged acoustic tune that delves into the alt/country genre. The concert showcased the present-day Confessional’s ability to turn up the rock on their previously strictly acoustic songs while progressing, slowly but noticeably, with the quality of their new, plugged-in material with commendable results.

Contact Nick Margiassoat