How the world became obsessed with 'emo night'
It's more than just a phase.
It’s a Friday night in Brooklyn, New York, and the crowd inside the Bell House is losing it. Deep inside the venue, women are wearing black garb from emo holdovers Panic! at the Disco and the Academy Is; men sporting Deftones-emblazoned caps and Alternative Press magazine merch jump and air-punch wildly. Long Island-bred emo band Brand New plays from the stage—it’s “Seventy Times 7,” a clear crowd favorite tinged with angsty overtones of hatred and betrayal.
When the instrumentals cut out the audience continues to scream along with the sacred words of frontman Jesse Lacey: “I hope there’s ice on all the roads. And you can think of me when you forget your seatbelt…” Friends grab and shake each other by the shoulders as the audience presses against the barrier, overtaken by the power of nostalgia—the feeling of being 15, angry, and wanting the world to know.
When a pair of men onstage start playing Blink-182’s “Bored to Death” from the DJ stand, the magic momentarily falters, the crowd snapping awake from their mindless trance. But only seconds into the next song the crowd again buys into the faux performance. The magic takes hold of the venue again.
These New Yorkers are here to listen to their favorite bands. But Blink, Brand New, Saves the Day, Thursday, Jimmy Eat World, the list of the emo music genre’s most poignant acts goes on and on—they aren’t headlining. Instead the audience is gathered for Emo Night Brooklyn, a monthly evening dedicated to partying hard with fellow “emo kids” to emo-classified hits from the last two decades.