The inaugural Good Things Festival takes place this weekend on the East Coast and we in Adelaide get some overflow with bands such as The Offspring, Dropkick Murphys, Mayday Parade And tonight, Dashboard Confessional all coming to town.

Floridians Dashboard Confessional are paying an intimate show at a packed Jive Bar, promoting ‘Crooked Shadows, their first studio album in nine years. Supporting them are our own The Sundance Kids who come on stage in a rather understated fashion. From that point onwards, it’s all class.

Opening track Let It Go is a great upbeat melodic song that already has the mostly full Jive bar dancing along before the absolutely epic U2 styled Solutions with a wonderful vocal performance from vocalist Ash Gale, lifts the roof off.

This is a gifted band who on this hot night hit all the right notes. At times atmospheric, soft and tender, other times the guitar melodies and heavy hitting drums almost make you want ascend to the heavens.

Songs like All Things Stable and Starting Today are amazing examples of the dynamics of starting slowly and softly before rocking out at the end. The finish with Drive Away which has the audience singing the chorus and everyone knowing they’ve watched a band worth the admission price alone.

For Dashboard Confessional it’s been a long time between drinks. Nine years to be exact since their last studio opus. Tonight you get the sense the show is a little off the cuff, a little relaxing warm up before the bigger fish this weekend.

That’s not to say the show was ragged, far from it, if anything it made the show more magical. In the end, the band added a couple of extra songs that weren’t in the set list as frontman Chris Carrabba took over for most of the night, going solo with a bunch of acoustic DC classics.

After opening with Vindicated and The Sharp Hint Of New Tears, the singer made his intentions clear to the audience with ‘I wanna do a lot of sing-a-long songs tonight’ which was naturally greeted enthusiastically. It’s this interaction throughout the night that made it clear you were at something special.

By the time Screaming Infidelities turned up, only six songs in, the chemistry between band and audience was so intense that the crowd was drowning out the band. At this stage the acoustic element started which only let up for Saints And Sailors before going back to the gentler sounds.

The admission that the crowd were ‘shockingly good’ told you the band were enjoying themselves. At this point you got the impression the set list was thrown away as band and audience traded vocal blows, like heavyweight boxers.

They did run through Standard Lines, Bitter Pill, We Fight before finishing with a bewitching and electric version of Hands Down that wasn’t finished until the crowd stopped singing those heartbreaking last lyrics.

A lot of times we get bands going through the numbers in their shows, sometimes though you get something special. When the script is thrown in the same direction as your inhibitions, when the band and audience go down the rabbit hole and experience a ‘I was there’ moment. That was tonight.

Live Review by Iain McCallum