Dashboard Confessional in the New Era of Emo

Pop-punk emo legends Dashboard Confessional are back, releasing their first studio album since 2009, “Crooked Shadows,” on Feb. 9. Perhaps this comeback is timed for the new era of early-2000s nostalgia, but like the Dashboard Confessional that resonated with angst-ridden teenagers 15 years ago, it feels comforting and sincere.

Two new songs preceded the release of “Crooked Shadows:” “We Fight” and “Heart Beat Here.” The superior track, “We Fight,” picks up where the band left off in an attempt to reignite the fire that drove their previous success. Frontman Chris Carraba’s voice is now a bit huskier, but still powerful enough to push the chorus into the anthemic shout-along it aims for. Lyrics like “Tired of beatings and battles and being sewn up / But that made us grow up / And that made ‘em scared” are just vague enough to be inoffensive and recall Dashboard’s heyday, but coming from Carraba there’s an undeniable layer of earnestness underneath.

After an 8 year break, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find a new, grown-up Dashboard on the rest of “Crooked Shadows.” Even “Heart Beat Here” is a bit of an updated sound for them, the acoustic track being more comparable to the Lumineers than “Screaming Infidelities.”

But outside the band, the emo music Dashboard were once at the forefront of has evolved. Nevermind fellow Fueled By Ramen prodigies Paramore and Fall Out Boy, who have both maintained success while delving deeper into traditional pop – emo themes and sounds have made their way into hip-hop, with young artists like nothing,nowhere (who collaborated with Dashboard on “Hopes Up” in 2017) Lil Uzi Vert and the late Lil Peep pioneering the merging of the two genres into the mainstream.

“Hopes Up” shows Dashboard embracing the future of emo, but “Crooked Shadows” will tell exactly what their place in it is.




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“The Full monty” at SDSU

San Diego State’s school of theatre, television and film staged “The Full Monty” from April 21-30, and provided audiences with laughs, catchy tunes and body positivity.

The musical comedy follows six unemployed men who stage a striptease act to raise money to support their families. The show is rated R for nudity and language, but the overarching theme of positive body image speaks to audiences of all ages.

Tug Watson led the cast with his portrayal of Jerry Lukowski, a divorced father who needs to come up with quick cash in order to pay child support and continue seeing his teenage son, Nathan, played by Miles Blue.

Jerry encourages his similarly unemployed best friend, Dave Bukatinsky, portrayed by Jonathan Brugioni, to join the striptease act, but Dave is insecure about his weight. Dave’s struggle to gain confidence resonated with the diverse crowd because body insecurities can be empathized with by almost anyone.

The musical contained numerous laugh-out-loud moments. One highlight was the dark, comedic number “Big-A—Rock.” The cast wonderfully executed turning what was a sad moment on paper into a light one, much to the audience’s enjoyment.

Kimberly Moller proved to be a scene stealer with her portrayal of Vicki Nichols, as her performance of the exuberant “Life with Harold” was one of the show standouts. Her energy was infectious and seemed to lift up the entire cast around her.

Paula Kalustian’s performance as Jeannette Burmeister was also a favorite. Her wise cracks and overall bluntness served as comedic highlights for the entire show. One scene, where Jerry is auditioning various men to be in the striptease act, fed Jeanette all of her best lines as she she hilariously commented on each audition.

Of course, the most fun and impressive aspect of this show was the choreography. The striptease scenes consistently got the crowd cheering and the cast members delivered them shamelessly and humorously.
Every character in “The Full Monty” struggled with their own insecurities throughout the performance, which made the play more relatable and the ending more triumphant. “The Full Monty” was an excellent display of song and dance, with an extremely relevant message of self confidence.

Featured Image by Julianna Ress. 

Concert Review: The 1975 at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater

The 1975 brought all their heavy hitters and fan favorites to their set at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater on Tuesday, April 25.

The massive, dedicated community of The 1975 fans gathered in excitement, screams piercing from the band’s first sign of movement to the final bow.

The night began with “Love Me,” the first single from “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.” With the first distinctive guitar riff, the audience’s enthusiasm was palpable. Matty’s dancing was the sporadic movement of lanky limbs.

“UGH!” and “Heart Out,” the latter from their eponymous debut album, continued the high energy start, but the band soon slowed down for the more personal tracks, “A Change of Heart” and “Robbers.”

Aside from fan favorites, the band pulled out deep cuts (songs) throughout the night, like “Menswear,” “M.O.N.E.Y.,” “Me” and “fallingforyou.” The fans’ excitement did not waver, and their dedication to The 1975 was made even clearer with their knowledge of these more obscure songs.

Healy talked to the crowd in between songs, praising the audience’s liberalism and compassion, before dedicating the “I like it when…” single, “Loving Someone,” to the LGBT community. He also made sure the fans knew that a percentage of the revenue made from the band’s merchandise was going to be donated to charities supporting the LGBT community.

Despite Healy’s showmanship, the excellent music and the crowd’s energy, the show stealer was the lighting design. Each song had its own lighting scheme: rainbow during “Loving Someone,” a cityscape during “UGH!” and “I like it when…,” and pink during “She’s American.”

“Somebody Else” proved to be a favorite performance among the audience, as Healy led their shouts of “F—k that, get money!” during the song’s bridge. Even Healy himself noted that the crowd reached peak energy during that song.

The set rounded out with the bona fide anthems “Girls” and “Sex,” two of the most famous tracks from The 1975’s debut album. The band members walked offstage, but were quickly ushered back for an encore by the passionate crowd, who was not ready to let the night end.

The encore brought about the best, and last, performance of the night, “The Sound.” The shouts of, “I know when you’re around ‘cause I know the sound, I know the sound of your heart,” almost drowned out Healy’s own singing.

The 1975 ended the night with their most vigorous performance, and the fans were left more than satisfied after hearing every song a 1975 fan would have wanted to hear.

Featured Image by Julianna Ress.

SDSU choir and symphony orchestra concert

San Diego State University choirs and symphony orchestra took the stage at the College Avenue Baptist Church on Saturday, April 22, to perform Brahms’s “Symphony No. 3” and Dvořák’s “Mass in D.”

Conducted by SDSU music professor Michael Gerdes, the concert consisted of the SDSU Chamber Choir, Aztec Concert Choir and University Chorus, along with the SDSU Symphony Orchestra.

Gerdes introduced the show, emphasizing his genuine gratitude for the audience being there.

“If it wasn’t for you, this would just be another rehearsal,” he said.

The the first half of the two-hour concert featured the symphony orchestra performing without the choirs, playing Johannes Brahms’s “Symphony No. 3,” which was originally written in 1883. The piece is divided into four movements, “Allegro con brio,” “Andante,” “Poco allegretto” and “Allegro – un poco sostenuto.” The performance was largely driven by the sharp melodies of the string section, especially the violins.

The most famous movement of the piece, the third movement, opened with the low, rich sound of the cello and moved into a solo horn before entering the fourth movement. The climax of the entire piece was reached during this finale, peaking with the mightiness of the cellos and horns. The theme of the first movement was brought back before the piece ended in the most complete and satisfying way possible.

An intermission followed before the choirs joined the symphony orchestra onstage for Antonin Dvořák’s “Mass in D,” originally written in 1887. The religious Latin song is divided into six sections, “Kyrie,” “Gloria,” “Credo,” “Sanctus,” “Benedictus” and “Agnus Dei.” The audience was given English translations of the lyrics, but the power and emotion from the choir was enough to transcend the language barrier.

The choir was fronted by four student soloists: Carly Cummings (soprano), Mary Saffell (mezzo-soprano), Shahen Ohanian (tenor) and Zlatoslav Sokolov (baritone). Each singer brought a unique voice to the mix, but they complemented each other stunningly. The intricate and pleasing sound of the Latin language provided an additional layer of beauty to the piece, making the prayer even more compelling.

Overall, the choirs and the symphony orchestra clearly showed that they were well prepared for the concert, yet they did not lose any of the passion the pieces called for. They did not view the music as pure academia, but as art to be shared with the audience through their dedication and coordination.