Onward, Chrisís Soldiers

Sadness is joy. Vulnerability is power. Dashboard Confessional is already bigger than Jesus ó the world just doesnít know it yet

Another halter-topped teen with a tear just beneath her eyelid waiting to trickle south bites her lip anxiously. Baby bracelets around her thin wrists spell out the names of her favorite bands: Saves the Day. Poison the Well. Carrabba's eminently femme-friendly formula is supremely basic: He's tough. But he's sensitive. Plus he's so cute. And all those tattoos!

Claudia and Jennifer, from Lake Worth, are unaware of Carrabba's previous exploits, having just stumbled upon Dashboard a few months ago. Although they spend much of the night in near-hysterics ("I begged you not to go," the two scream/sing along to "The Good Fight" with a fervor 12-year-olds would withhold for 'N Sync. "I begged you! I pleaded!"), this pair, who look to be about 18, swear they're not at the show to bed the band, although Jennifer is overheard to say, "Sex is worth a CD and a T-shirt."

"At least," says her friend.

Chris Carrabba comes to your emo-tional rescue. Not pictured: heart on sleeve.
Jim Hayward
Chris Carrabba comes to your emo-tional rescue. Not pictured: heart on sleeve.

Come on, admit it, Bandwidth chides: You're here because you're in love with Chris.

"No! It's his songs!" insists Jennifer. "If you've been hurt in a relationship, Dashboard is for you," she offers. (Why do you think they call it emo?)

"Well, he's hot too," points out devil's advocate Claudia. "But his music is so good, it doesn't matter."

Well, what if Carrabba looked like Jack Black -- would you still be this crazy about him?

"Fuck yeah!" Jennifer shouts. "He could look like a woolly mammoth -- I wouldn't give a fuck. Besides, you don't wanna fuck him -- you wanna cuddle him."

If you don't understand, just ask the little girls to explain. Some might even know where Chris is. Meanwhile, since it's 11 o'clock on a school night, Dashboard Confessional is ready to wind it up. Carrabba announces, "This is our last song, but I guess I'll see you at the mall or the record store."

Hit 'em where they live. This marketing thing, it's so easy.

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