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It’s amazing how a couple of carpets and simple stage lighting can give a venue like the House of Blues a hometown coffee shop feel. For the stripped down Swiss Army Romance 10th Anniversary Tour, the night’s entertainment kept that vibe up and concert-goers were more than happy with the intimate feeling.

First up was Lady Danville. I got a press release about the band joining Dashboard’s west coast dates and decided to check them out online. Their vocal harmonies instantly got me hooked in! Seeing them live was definitely interesting. These three guys stood out immediately as being the only full band of the night. The harmonies I heard online were spot-on in person (something a lot of bands tend to lack between the tape and the stage). Their drummer mixed up traditional drumming with hand percussion techniques which was really different for me. Lady Danville’s tunes were extremely catchy in a live setting and the crowd definitely took a liking to them right away. The audience especially showed interest in their cover of MGMT’s “Kids” and bringing Chris Conley on stage for “the Uke song”. Lady Danville is a platform for three very talented musicians and you should definitely take the time to check them out soon!

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Chris Conley of Saves the Day was up next. Setup was simple: Conley walked out, opened his guitar case, plugged in, and started playing. His set was determined mostly by request (some from twitter, others from the audience). Being that this was a 10th anniversary tour for a Dashboard Confessional album, Conley stuck to old material to compliment the age range of fans in attendance. Some requests were met with “I’ll play it next time with the full band” (in various comical ways), or a simple apology that he didn’t remember how to play it. One such reply, however, was countered with a fan named Felipe being invited on stage to play “Jesse and My Whetstone”. The crowd seemed a bit nervous for him, but Felipe showed no signs of nervousness and played amazingly well. Conley was even surprised by Felipe’s “hot licks”. That must have been the ultimate fan experience.

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Closing the night to the screams (and tears) of a sold out crowd was Dashboard Confessional. DC took to the stage in the same form as ten years ago: just Chris Carrabba and a guitar. Despite the stripped-down version of Carrabba’s band, the energy in the room was extremely high. This is one of the first shows where I didn’t wear earplugs, but I was close to popping them in; Not because of the sound from the stage, but because of the sound from the audience. This was the epitome of crowd participation. Even the shy people in the back sang a line or two for each song. In keeping with the time period, Carrabba stuck with older songs for the encore sets but did sneak in a few newer songs to round things out. The amazing thing was looking throughout the audience and seeing how far Dashboard Confessional’s music has reached out. From the very young to the young at heart, there was a very broad age range present and everyone gave their voice when Carrabba stepped away from the microphone and raised his eyebrows.

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Although this show was a reminder that I’m getting older, I had a great time hearing new music and remembering older songs as well.

Many thanks to Lady Danville and Paul from Big Picture Media. Thanks to Reece, Lucas, and Janelle for being ninjas. Shout out to Anthony and Chris in the pit!