Written by Natasha Heinz
Since the debut of Emo Nite, being in Los Angeles on the first Tuesday of the month is on a lot of people’s bucket list. It may be because Mark Hoppus DJed one of the first editions, the constant presence of Jack Barakat, From First to Last’s reunion show, or the three videos Alternative Press shared from the party over the years.
Another explanation could be its craziness; although I’ve never been to one in Los Angeles, I’ve seen the Snaps. According to Morgan, one of the founders, many regulars already have requested the Wednesday after off for the foreseeable future. It could be true, but it was two in the morning and he also told my friends and I we should definitely try to go down to LA sometime for the party.
On July 17th, an edition of the party happened in Cleveland. It wasn’t the most insane night of my life, but it was pretty fun. The tickets only sold out the night before and I can imagine people leaving the free State Champs show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, after almost knocking over the barricade, and purchasing tickets while they listened to “I’m Not Okay” on loop.
Emo Nite LA is not the only one of its kind, there are emo nights in almost every major U.S. city and in places all over the world (I’m serious, my hometown in Brazil has had a pop punk party since 2014). It’s not even the first one, with Emo Night NYC existing since 2011. But it is possibly the best known one.
Enough time has gone by that their middle school pictures are not something to be ashamed of anymore.
Babs, T.J., and Morgan arrived at the after party at Mahall’s in a limousine followed by Jack Barakat. The All Time Low guitarist didn’t even have a set, he was just hanging out there before catching his flight. Frank Zummo (Sum 41) & Adrian Young (No Doubt) left the industry after party (the real one where the label people and artists went) for a DJ and drum set, as did Fil Thorpe-Evans from Neck Deep.
Perhaps the fact that Los Angeles is home to many musicians made it easier for them to reach out and find those willing to press play or take actual guitars to the Echoplex, where the party is held. But there’s something interesting about the three characters that make Emo Nite. I don’t know exactly what it is, but people are drawn to them the same way they are to the songs being played. Every person was facing the turntables all night, as if they were watching a live band.
The term “emo revival” has been thrown around for at least the last couple of years. In 2016, the sense that this subculture was on the radar again had less to do with American Football releasing LP2 than with celebrating the 10th anniversary of My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade, as the kids who were wearing studded belts and black eyeliner back in the day are now responsible for creating Buzzfeed quizzes for readers to find out what % emo they are. Enough time has gone by that their middle school pictures are not something to be ashamed of anymore; rather, they’re a way to tell today’s kids how much better it was back then.
Nostalgia always gets the best of everyone.
Nostalgia always gets the best of everyone. Emo Nite didn’t feel nostalgic for me, though. It could be because I still listen to the records I bought in high school, but I don’t think I was the only one who felt it that night. Every person there could sing along every word of The Wonder Years, All Time Low, and Motion City Soundtrack. No one messed up the lyrics to a single Good Charlotte song, not even the 15-year-old who was there with her parents clearly hoping Josh Dun would be the one to play that drum set.
Maybe parties like this one have drawn that much attention because media’s focusing on what was happening 10 or 15 years ago. And yes, they only play famous songs from each band–I mean, is there one 20-something that does not know the words to “Dance, Dance”?
A few years ago, right when Emo Nite LA (still called Taking Back Tuesday then) gained notoriety, someone sent a tweet in the lines of “I’ve been hosting emo night alone in my room for years, y’all were just too busy to come.” After some laughs, I realized they were actually right. I could scream the words to “MakeDamnSure” by myself while driving to work and once a year when Taking Back Sunday plays a show nearby, or I can do it once a month surrounded by other people who are as into it as I am. I choose the latter.