EMO NITE

Kerrang! (UK) - - NEWS - WORDS: GRIZZLEE MARTIN PHO­TOS: EVE BAR­LOW

“Right, you’re go­ing to be the first face peo­ple see when they open this week’s Ker­rang! – do your best…”

IN JUST THREE YEARS, EMO NITE HAS GONE FROM BAR ROOM CLUB TO A PLACE THAT FRIEND­SHIPS AND RE­LA­TION­SHIPS ARE BORN, AND LIVES SAVED, AND THE SOUND­TRACK'S PRETTY AMAZ­ING, TOO. KER­RANG! HEADS TO LOS AN­GE­LES TO EXPRIENCE ROCKS BEST NIGHT OUT...

It’s af­ter 1am on a Wed­nes­day morn­ing, the air smells of salt, sweat (and sugar on the as­phalt), and hun­dreds of peo­ple are hys­ter­i­cally shout­ing along to Lit’s My Own Worst En­emy – which, for what it’s worth at this mo­ment, might just be the great­est song of all time. LA’S Echoplex is teem­ing with stage in­vaders while mash-up DJS Cap­tain Cuts mix emo clas­sics (Yel­low­card’s Ocean Av­enue, blink-182’s Feel­ing This, etc.) with cur­rent Top 40. Hav­ing been hit with the re­lent­less eu­pho­ria of the pre­vi­ous four hours, hearts are now mosh­ing up and down in­side chests. Every­one’s Jimmy Eat World-sound­tracked bed­room past is re­born here in a 2017 emo-top­ian heaven.

Wel­come to Emo Nite: a monthly cel­e­bra­tion where no­body’s tears are shamed and no amount of lung-defying sing-along ses­sions are enough.

When was the last time you went to a pop-punk party and saw 500 peo­ple fac­ing the decks, in­stead of each other? When was the last time you felt like you were at a gig for some­one’s birth­day with all of the friends you never knew you had? Tonight, at­ten­dants come in black T-shirts that say ‘SAD AS FUCK’.THEY dance and crowd-surf amid dozens of black and white bal­loons, smile-scream­ing, ‘Can we for­get about the things I said when I was drunk?’ Every­one on the stage re­sponds: ‘Didn’t mean to call you that!’ Ker­rang!, search­ing for an even greater high than this, clocks DJ

Ryan Mcma­hon mount­ing the decks, and de­cides to fol­low suit. Stand­ing tall among a sea of beau­ti­ful strangers singing in unison, the ball drops: this is the great­est night of every­one’s lives.

‘Lit aren’t emo!’ we can hear some of you shrug.well, no. Lit are as emo as Papa Roach,avril Lav­i­gne or Kelly Clark­son’s Since U Been Gone, which all get spins via var­i­ous DJS, in­clud­ing Hawthorne Heights’ JT Woodruff and rap­per Ma­chine Gun Kelly, who cur­rently has the Num­ber One pop song in the U.S. with a mem­ber of Fifth Har­mony. Here,‘emo’ is a state of mind.all present are as schooled in Brand New’s Sic­tran­sit Glo­ria as they are chant­ing ‘This is a God dream!’ to Kanyewest’s Ul­tra­light Beam.what is and isn’t emo isn’t a dance-floor con­cern, be­cause Emo Nite tran­scends nos­tal­gia. It re­lies upon the fact that the genre has never gone away. It’s emo’s open­mind­ed­ness that’s al­lowed for its re-emer­gence.tonight is a fan’s safe heaven, a place where emo fights back.

Ear­lier this af­ter­noon, in an of­fice nearby, Emo Nite’s three founders at­tempt to keep their big­gest se­cret yet. Be­yond DJ sets from New Found Glory, Mikey Way, Good Char­lotte and The Used, over the past three years there have been live sur­prises, too. Dash­board Con­fes­sional played an acous­tic set for the event’s one-year an­niver­sary.the All-amer­i­can Re­jects did sim­i­lar for an­niver­sary two. How­ever, those don’t come close to tonight’s re­veal, billed as “the most in­sane emo night ever”.

En­sur­ing K! isn’t about to in­form the world via Twit­ter, 27-year-old founder T.J. Pe­tracca re­veals that at mid­night, From First To Last will re­unite with Sonny Moore and play their first set in 10 years.“every­one is gonna pass out and die,” he laughs, while glanc­ing at co-founders Mor­gan Freed, 32, and Babs Sz­abo, 29.The fact the big­gest DJ in the world is re­turn­ing to his emo roots speaks moun­tains.“skrillex is the af­ter­math of one of the best emo bands of our lives,” says Babs.“emo is for­ever evolv­ing.that’s why we’ve had rap­pers Djing, or Halsey

on­stage. Demi Lo­vato and Kris­ten Ste­wart are on the list tonight. Kris­ten’s al­ways in the mosh-pit danc­ing.”

Forty thou­sand peo­ple have come through Emo Nite’s all-in­clu­sive doors since it be­gan at a smaller bar in the winter of 2014.At the time, Mor­gan,t.j. and Babs were all work­ing at a cre­ative agency, hat­ing their jobs. They bonded over a love of emo,t.j. and Babs re­al­is­ing their mu­tual affin­ity while singing Dash­board at a friend’s karaoke party.what be­gan as a funny idea for a bar room party turned into the orig­i­nally named Tak­ing Back Tues­day only three weeks later.af­ter just two “crazy” bar nights, they moved to the Echoplex, bam­boo­zled by the level of in­ter­est they had.the third Emo Nite fea­tured a Mark Hop­pus DJ set.

“We’re still over­whelmed,” T.J. says.“we just try and make it as cool and spe­cial ev­ery time.we’re not pro­mot­ers, we’ve never booked shows.we do this be­cause we love this mu­sic.”

The front of the of­fice is a store for all their merch, which in­cludes beanie hats bear­ing Emo Nite’s grave­stone sym­bol and parkas preach­ing ‘Ev­ery Nite Is Emo Nite’. Out­side is a neon sign that reads ‘Ride Or Cry’, the name of the trio’s own cre­ative agency.their ex­pe­ri­ence in so­cial me­dia and mar­ket­ing has pro­vided am­mu­ni­tion to make Emo Nite the stuff of leg­end. It even has its own Snapchat fil­ter.

“I’ve seen ‘Ride Or Cry’ sweaters on [DJ] Alice In Won­der­land and K-stew,” says Babs.“that’s my favourite part about this – see­ing peo­ple you’d never have thought love emo pub­licly say­ing they do.” “We’re re­defin­ing how peo­ple feel about the word,” T.J. says.“we’ll never post a joke about hav­ing swoopy hair or cut­ting your wrists. Fuck that. Look at the pic­tures of peo­ple – they’re over­joyed.”

Like most emo kids,t.j., Mor­gan and Babs lis­tened to emo alone.t.j. recalls hear­ing Brand New when he got kicked out of high school.“it got me through the shit­ti­est year of my life,” he ad­mits.the Get Up Kids changed ev­ery­thing for Mor­gan. For Babs, it was Sum 41.T.J. tears up re­call­ing Dash­board’s Emo Nite set.

To­day, how­ever, it’s not the old bands they bond over, but new lo­cal dis­cov­er­ies such as Su­per What­ever, Mod­ern Color and Sun­dressed, the lat­ter of whom play the up­stairs room later. Some bands met each other at Emo Nite, thereby pro­lif­er­at­ing this cir­cle of strife.“we haven’t fo­cused on the nos­tal­gia be­cause we still lis­ten to emo,” says Mor­gan.“if some­one says,‘do you re­mem­ber when you lis­tened to this?!’ I’m like,‘yeah, yes­ter­day.’”

A year into the LA nights, they took Emo Nite on the road around the States, learn­ing that dif­fer­ent cities were into var­ied strains of emo. In the com­ing months, they’re visit­ing Philadel­phia, Dal­las, Las Ve­gas, Phoenix and Chicago.“can we come back with you to the UK?” asks Babs with a smile.

“In Den­ver we had peo­ple pro­pose on­stage,” T.J. says. “All the peo­ple who wait in line ev­ery month have all be­come best friends and they hang out ev­ery day.

It’s not be­cause of us – it’s be­cause we all like the same shit.we just gave them a place to find each other.”

Out­side the Echoplex, around 8pm, the line of gleam­ing fans ex­tends three blocks in the pour­ing rain. Some have been here as early as 11am.at the front is So­phie, who’s been com­ing for al­most two years and met her boyfriend here a year ago. “Ev­ery per­son that I’ve ever met at Emo Nite are the peo­ple in my life,” she says, in­tro­duc­ing Ker­rang! to her en­tire crew, in­clud­ing Gil.“this guy saved my life,” she says.“i was get­ting over a Xanax ad­dic­tion and was ready to give up. Gil stuck me in the mid­dle of this group, and we’ve been in­sep­a­ra­ble since.”

So­phie is cer­tainly not alone in feel­ing the sense of fam­ily.“you can turn to any per­son in the room and sing in their face and they’ll go with it. Emo Nite is about let­ting go of your past but also em­brac­ing it.this is who I am. I’m not per­fect and that’s okay be­cause there are peo­ple like me here. I’ve never felt this type of com­mu­nity ever. I’m def­i­nitely go­ing to cry tonight.” Also here is Rocky, who turns up in full MCR garb. Ini­tially from New Jer­sey, he moved to LA for a girl, and wound up find­ing a club night.“i came thinking I’d bought Tak­ing Back Sun­day tick­ets, and I lined up for Tak­ing Back Tues­day in­stead,” he laughs.“i kept com­ing and it be­came this thing that I ob­sessed over.”

For Rocky, it’s not about the past: there’s a new­found cur­rency to this scene, par­tic­u­larly in the Trump era. “Emo came post 9/11. In 2017, younger peo­ple are look­ing to feel again.you’re gonna hear strug­gle, you’re gonna hear pain, you’re gonna hear anger.”

By 9pm the crowds fun­nel into the main room.t.j. wel­comes them with Sugar,we’re Goin Down.“oh boy, do we have a treat for you tonight,” he teases.“it’s so fucked-up.” The crowds cheer ev­ery sin­gle song in­tro like they’re at a con­cert.tee­ing up for his DJ set, JT Woodruff re­marks that in his decade tour­ing the UK with Hawthorne Heights he couldn’t un­der­stand why pop-punk nights had never made it back home.“this is my liveli­hood,” he says.“i only play hits. I don’t want to be the lead bal­loon that stops the party.”

T.J. PE­TRACCA, EMO NITE CO-FOUNDER

Cap­tain Cuts don’t have that worry; their mashup sets are tried and tested.they came here when Mark Hop­pus DJ’D and de­cided to in­vent a way to get in­volved.“it was the best night I’ve ever had,” says Ryan. “We were born to DJ this.” The de­ci­sion to mix Panic! At The Disco and Paramore with cur­rent Top 40 is not co­in­ci­dence.with the likes of 5 Sec­onds Of Sum­mer, twenty one pi­lots and Halsey storm­ing up the charts, the in­flu­ences of emo on the wider cul­ture is more ob­vi­ous than ever.“even Closer bythe Chainsmok­ers feels like it could have been a blink-182 song,” he says.

There’s no greater tes­ta­ment to emo’s cur­rency than Sonny Moore fore­go­ing his Skrillex moniker to take up his du­ties as front­man of From Firstto Last.as the clock strikes mid­night, the stage is bathed in red light.“can I get a,‘huh!’?” shouts Sonny. Play­ing seven songs in­clud­ing Note To Self and new an­them Make War, he em­bod­ies the same one­ness of every­one in the room, a pas­sion and an ela­tion to re­turn to his roots unapolo­get­i­cally. “Are you guys sur­prised?” he smiles.

Some cry. Oth­ers cheer. But, mostly, every­one is so sad they came.

“THE PEO­PLE HERE HAVE BE­COME BEST FRIENDS. THEY HANG OUT EV­ERY DAY”

FOR MORE IN­FOR­MA­TION ON EMO NITE, SEE EMONITE.COM

Mosh-pits: tak­ing your life into your own hands if you’ve an in­grown toe­nail Rocky: the lost mem­ber ofthe Black Pa­rade The Kings & Queen of Emo Nite: (from left) T.J. Pe­tracca, Babs Sz­abo and Mor­gan Freed “Who wants to hear an­other sad one?” Sonny...

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