Paradise By the Dashboard Tonight

South Florida has spawned some prodigious rock musicians: Marilyn Manson, New Found Glory, and Saigon Kick (remember them?) all come to mind. But none have managed to gain such a seductive hold on his listeners’ psyches as Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional. Is it the tantrum-like intensity with which the Boca boy croons or the awkward teenage inflections that peek through his emo sagas that drive all those young, impressionable girls so wild? We may never be certain, but we’re bound to witness the phenomenon firsthand when Carrabba struts into City Limits (19 NE Third Ave., Delray Beach) for a two-day home stand beginning this Saturday night. And ladies, get your breathless screams of passion ready: He’ll be playing solo (so rugged and alone!) and acoustic (absolutely dreamy!) just for you.

Us? Not that we don’t fancy a Dashboard ditty or two, but we’ll be anticipating the return of one of Lake Worth’s lesser known, but hugely talented artists, John Ralston. The singer/songwriter just wrapped up his second album for Vagrant Records, Sorry Vampire (dropping October 2), and, frankly, this thing rocks. As brilliantly composed as Needle Bed, his first album, Vampire is exponentially more layered, with Ralston’s wispy, Ben-Folds-meets-Elliot-Smith voice playing harbinger to an entire catalogue of dreamy keys, fluttering woodwinds, and steelish guitar twangs. Ralston is as great an opener as you’ll see at any show, and our guess is he’ll pop on stage during Carrabba’s set for a couple of songs.

But nab those tickets fast, kids: both shows are $27.50 and available at Doors open at 6:30 p.m., or whenever the throngs of emo girls kick them down. Call 561-279-8222.
Sept. 22-23, 2007

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John Linn