Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Nicole Greenstein
Sitting backstage before his show at Rock & Roll Hotel on July 15, Dashboard Confessional frontman Chris Carrabba reflected on the inspiration behind his latest project, Twin Forks. While Dashboard Confessional are known for their distinctive style of introspective, emo rock, Carrabba said his new folk/rock band features a lighter, more hopeful sound.
"There's a sense of real, absolute joy, just being in the band," Carrabba said. "We hope it transcends the band onto the record, and into the crowd. We feel like it does pretty easily; it's a really celebratory style of music, an easy feeling that's contagious."
Carrabba was right. It didn't take long for the crowd to catch the band's contagious bug. Carrabba picked up his guitar and shouted a booming "one, two, three, four!" before launching into "Can't Be Broken," and immediately the crowd began clapping along. As Carrabba pounded the stage with his brown leather boot, I watched as those to my left and right started bouncing to the same beat. The crowd hooted and hollered over the sounds of mandolin strings and tambourine shakes, and sung out the final lines even louder than Carrabba himself.
After a folk-infused cover of Talking Heads' "And She Was," Carrabba led another group clapping session, this time slapping his hands together over his head. When he wanted to bring the energy level higher, he took to poking fun at the D.C. crowd.
"Y'all got government jobs or something?" Carrabba shouted, as the room lit up with laughter. "Clap up here, man!"
Carrabba appeased the Dashboard Confessional fans in attendance by incorporating some fan-favorites into the set, including "This Bitter Pill," which marked one of the highlights of the night. The lights dimmed and his bandmates stepped aside, setting the stage for a quiet, more intimate moment. Carrabba stood center stage, armed only with his acoustic guitar and raw, raspy vocals. As he reached the last chorus, he held out the notes with such intensity that it almost brought one of his bandmates to tears and she shook her head in disbelief as the crowd cheered in awe of Carrabba's powerful and fiercely poignant performance.
Although the Dashboard Confessional songs added another dimension to the set, they didn't steal the show. All the songs that got the crowd dancing and jumping around were Twin Forks originals, backed by a full band with the lighthearted sounds of banjos and tambourines.
Prior to the concert, Carrabba admitted that he had his doubts about Twin Forks' Americana style when he started the band four years ago. But with the rise of modern folk bands such as Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, Carrabba believes that radio listeners are now more receptive to this style of music.
"I think if a radio audience heard a banjo four years ago on Top 40 [radio], they would've been like 'da-da-ding, click' and they'd go to the other Top 40 station, waiting for a keyboard line," he said. "Now we may or may not ever get on the radio, but when we do, the fact that we have a mandolin or a banjo won't be the reason they change the channel on the first bar."
If the pleading cries for an encore at the Rock & Roll Hotel that night were any indication, it's safe to say that Twin Forks' banjo-studded, foot-stomping folk sound isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
"Can't Be Broken"
"And She Was" (Talking Heads cover)
"Something We Just Know"
"Good And Slow"
"The Swiss Army Romance" (Dashboard Confessional)
"Reasoned And Roughened"
"Remember To Breathe" (Dashboard Confessional)
"Galway Girl" (Steve Earle cover)
"Skateland South" (Cory Branan cover)
"Kiss Me Darling"
"Who's Looking Out"
"Stolen" (Dashboard Confessional)
"Lovin' Arms" (Wood Brothers cover)
"C'mon If You're Gonna C'mon "
"Cross My Mind"
"This Bitter Pill" (Dashboard Confessional)
"The General Specific" (Band Of Horses cover)
"Scraping Up The Pieces"
"Back To You"
(Nicole Greenstein is an intern with The Recording Academy's Washington, D.C., Chapter, and has written about music for Time magazine, GRAMMY.com and various other publications. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned honors for her thesis on the evolving state of the music industry.)