words by Hector Vergara
It was the first Tuesday of the month. For The Echo and The Echoplex it meant a gigantic party that they were ready for but for me it was about to be a brand new experience. Emo Nite began in LA by three people who wanted to create the same atmosphere they felt at a show while also injecting house party vibes into the equation. For the past two years these nights have been making such a mark that events like this have been popping up in cities such as New York, San Francisco and Brooklyn yet it seems that none of them have come close to making the mark that the LA Emo Nite sparked.
I attended the Brooklyn Emo Night in The Constellation Room in Santa Ana while they toured along side New Found Glory and Bayside. This night was my first actual emo night experience and it was definitely a lot of fun hearing all those pop punk classics in a room full of people that felt the same way.
Despite this it really couldn't hold a candle to Emo Nite LA. Even upon my arrival (a slightly late one at that as well) I could see the line to enter wrapping around the block. I could hear the excitement mixed with the smell of beer and anticipation coming from the folks in line as I walked past them. Immediatly upon entry I was thrown back to 2004 as I could hear Say Anything's "Alive With The Glory Of Love" coming from the front patio stage. I grew up listening to that album and had the chance to see it live twice before tonight and this classic playing while the crowd sang along as I walked in made for a fantastic introduction for the night I was about to experience.
I slithered past the Echoplex stage crowd that was filled with fans singing along to Kelly Clarkson's "Since You've Been Gone" to get upstairs so I could catch the end of Dales set while they played a cover of Rascal Flatts' "Life Is A Highway". A song that isn't emo in any sense of the word but it still had the entire room singing along.
After Dales, Seasons Changed took the stage and took The Echo by storm. The atmosphere changed from a party to an actual rock show. The pit was in full effect as fists and feet flew through the air. Even the photographer that was stage side was screaming the lyrics and fist pumping the air in between the photos he was taking. During their cover of Dramarama"s " "Anything "Anything" a man with balloons tied to his crutches was raised above the crowd. Seeing Anthony Robles (vocals) reaching the mic over to him really solidified the sense of unity coming this crowd and it was beautiful.
Emo Nite has been known to bring guest Djs such as Blink 182's Mark Hoppus and My Chemical Romance's Mikey Way and tonight was no difference. I walked back into the Echoplex stage to see Sean Foreman of 3oh!3 playing Fat Lip by Sum 41.
Another guest that grazed the stage was the one and only Demi Lovato. During her set she played "Misery Business" by Paramore and a technical difficulty sparked a rather magical moment. The sound was suddenly cut and instead of waiting for it to come back, Demi grabbed a mic and sang a breath taking acappellaversion of the song. "Ready? We're going to sing it again ok?!" Demi said without skipping a beat "Technicals difficulties! We're gonna fucking rock this shit!" and everyone (including me) sang the lyrics along with Lovatos voice that paid true justice to the powerful voice Hailey Williams has.
Following Demi was hip hops very own Post Malone opening his apparence with "The Black Parade" followed by his hit "Congratulations". I have to admit that I was too caught up in the moment to realize that it was actually Post up on stage performing the song but my energy during the song didn't falter regardless.
The rest of the night was filled with nostalgic emo/pop punk and alt rock bands such as Saosin, Taking Back Sunday, Head Automatica, Yellowcard, Andrew WK and of course,Blink 182. In fact, one of my favorite moments from this night was in the middle of the song "Josie". I jumped into the pit for this song and manged to fall down during the chorus but was immediatly picked up by two dudes as the lyrics "Everything's gonna be fine" came over the speakers while the three of us sang it in arms. The timing was absolutely perfect and I still have the cuts on my arm from the fall to remember it as I wrote this
At the end of the night I asked a couple of random people from the crowd on their opinion on not only this night but the "Emo Nite Scene" as a whole and what it meant to them
"It means nostalgia really. We all grew up with these songs and going back to a much simpler time means everything because life is just...fucked up right now"
"To me, Emo Nite means forgetting all my worries and stresses as an adult and remembering when life was easier and getting to scream my lungs out to the songs I've loved for most of my life like I always wanted to when I was younger."
I'm only 24 yet I realize I can't really do some of the things that I could get away with when I was younger and these nights help me feel like I can while simultaneously making me miss those years oh so much. "Emo" music is usually tagged as stuff people listen to when they're young, sad and alone. That may have been true when we were younger but the rise of Emo Night across the country has been the antithesis of this point of view. It's shown unity. A collection of people remembering simpler times while also making new memories. It's shown that we can unite as a generation and relish in these emotions, together. The balloons and shirts at merch may have read "SAD AS FUCK" but everywhere I looked I saw genuine smiles.