Chris Carrabba didn't want to move to Florida.
The Dashboard Confessional frontman was 16, in those formative years when your friends and your home are the only things that feel permanent.
But when the move from Connecticut to Boca Raton came, "I ended up finding everything," Carrabba, 41, said last month during an interview from a rehearsal space in Nashville. "I really found out who I was supposed to be when I got there."
Carrabba is making a visit back to the Sunshine State on Thursday when Dashboard, known for angsty anthems such as Screaming Infidelities and Vindicated, makes a stop at the Ritz Ybor as part of a nationwide tour.
The tour traverses intimate venues, a move Carrabba said allows the band to connect more with fans after several years playing in arenas and at festivals.
"Playing to such large amounts of people … leaves me awe-stricken from the moment I step out to the moment I'm off stage because there are all these people there kind of feeling one thing," Carrabba said. "But when you're in a club, that sensation is really very palpable to me. I feel like the audience guides the show from that."
The closeness is reminiscent of Carrabba's south Florida beginnings as a singer and guitarist in bands like Further Seems Forever and New Found Glory. Tours often skip the trek that far south, so local acts banded together to support each other and bring music to their communities.
"That spirit of inclusion had a really big effect on me," he said, "and it would later apply to Dashboard in that one of my biggest intentions when I began touring is that I wanted there to be little to no division between the guy who wrote the song and everyone else."
The stop in Tampa and another the day before in Fort Lauderdale fall in the middle of the tour, a purposeful move for Carrabba. He said stops in Florida were like mini vacations, as rejuvenating as they are nostalgic.
"I look forward to it from the get-go," he said, "and then I carry something through the rest of the tour."
Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or [email protected] Follow @kathrynvarn.