My first Emo Nite experience resulted in a stranger’s vomit on my feet and an embarrassing picture with Nick Jonas.
This round I came properly dressed, toes covered, knowing that literally anything could happen. With my palms open I entered the threshold of the Shrine Expo Hall and was immediately filled with a joyous, emo energy. Invincible, I stepped forward into the dark and mysterious world of “Emo Nite Day.” A lazy name for an extravagant event.
Emo Nite Day, or “END” as some might call it, is not quite a music festival and not quite a concert. It’s close to those things but just slightly off—sort of like how it took place on Saturday the 13th. The event’s mission is to bring people together over the mutual adoration of emo music, and the company defines itself as such: “We are not a band, we are not DJ’s, we throw parties for the music we love.” But this party was filled with bands, DJs, and the music we love.
I was nervous to take on a sea of sad kids in LA in the post-rainy day gloom. But there were booths set up for various charities, clothing lines, and even help centers for those who needed it. It was a warmer atmosphere than I’d anticipated.
The first act I saw was Colorado-based duo 3oh!3. Watching their set, I was reminded of being 12 years old and being told I was not allowed to purchase their explicit album at Target (thanks, mom). 3oh!3’s set showed me that I was in safe company. In fact, I may have been the first person to ever cry while listening to 3oh!3 perform “Richman.”
I was really in the emo spirit. I did the most stereotypical Emo Nite thing I could do (other than wearing only black and white attire): I purchased a $6 Pabst Blue Ribbon. I revisited the stage only to see the most dramatic, elaborate, and ridiculous performance of “Total Eclipse of The Heart.” A small skit followed the storyline of Emo Nite mascot Nosferatu, who fell in love with a female version of himself while she belted out the Bonnie Tyler classic. (That plot was a little lost on me.) There was a choreographed dance involving people in bat costumes which ended in the birth of a vampire baby. I have no idea how that child got on stage.
Other performances included Dashboard Confessional, a DJ set by Blink 182’s Travis Barker, Mayday Parade, and All Time Low. Songs we’ve loved for at least a decade proved to evoke the same angsty emotions. Bands I’d never had the chance to see live were right in front of my face and having just as good of a time as I.
The event was all-ages, and by the time I was two PBRs deep I noticed a 10-year-old standing next to me with his parents. I laughed to myself because it was finally hitting me how bizarre of an experience I was having. Yes, the kids in the audience were more alarming than the vampire baby on stage.
After All Time Low closed the final set, the party continued until the doors were forced closed. The bummer of it all was that the Nite was over. I exited the building as Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down Swingin’” played over the loudspeakers, and my emo heart left wanting more.
But even when it was over, I knew it wasn’t over. As we speak, the Emo Nite crew is packing up for a North American tour with 3oh!3. The ten-year anniversary of the Want album is upon us, and 3oh!3 is ready to party like it is 2008! (So are we.) As Emo Nite prepares to leave its Los Angeles home for a month or two, it is clear that the work of a sad kid never ceases. The tour will be house-party themed and include DJ sets from Emo Nite founders Babs, TJ, and Morgan. The first two-hundred drinks sold each night of the tour will come with a free limited edition Emo Nite x 3Oh!3 cup. And we cannot forget special guest Lil Aaron who is joining the tour—the green-haired legend is adding a new twist to the emo world with his subgenre of emo rap.
I am thrilled to return to this weird cult of pop-punk and emo-identifiers for the WANT House Party Tour and any other ridiculous event they have planned in the future. There is nothing more uniting than a shared love of the same niche music. Emo Nite is not quite a club or a fanbase; it’s more like a twisted family. So I greatly encourage you, dear reader, to check out tour dates near you! Who knows what kind of vampires you’ll encounter!