One year ago, Barbara Szabo, T.J. Petracca and Morgan Freed simply wanted to host an emo-themed bar party with their friends. “We made a Facebook event, and all of a sudden, 500 people showed up,” Petracca recalls. “We did another one at [Echo Park dive bar] the Short Stop, and the same thing happened, but there were twice as many people trying to get in.”
By the third event, the trio had secured Blink-182‘s Mark Hoppus as a guest DJ and began to see their tiny event escalate into a musical congregation. On December 1st, they’ll celebrate #1YearofTears and the first anniversary of Emo Night LA, also known as Taking Back Tuesday. Emo Night has become an emotional traveling circus of sorts, visiting everywhere from Seattle to Omaha and gathering a diverse crowd of emo fans and scene legends to perform and attend.
“[Emo Night] was the first time I had the experience to see a bunch of people cheering on a DJ as much as they did a band at a live show,” Hoppus recalls. At the one-year-anniversary event taking place at the Echo and the Echoplex, Hoppus will DJ alongside All Time Low’s Jack Barakat, My Chemical Romance’s Mikey Way and members of Fidlar, Sugarcult and We Are the In Crowd. Dashboard Confessional, Seahaven, Fakers and Have Mercy will be performing live sets across the four stages, offering the full spectrum of the emo aesthetic for the event’s biggest celebration yet.
“I had no idea how to DJ,” Hoppus explains, sharing a similar sentiment to many of the other rock artists who have taken the Emo Night stage. “I sat in my room and practiced for a few weeks trying very hard to concentrate on crossfades with one song blending into the next and putting together a super-cool playlist. As it turns out, people there didn’t care at all about the crossfades or cool DJ moves. All they cared about was listening to the music.”
The founders of Emo Night grew up in different parts of the country, but it was a mutual admiration for the scene that brought them together. Petracca recalls meeting Szabo at a mutual friend’s party. The pair bonded when Petracca encouraged Szabo to sing Dashboard Confessional’s “Hands Down.” Now, Dashboard’s Chris Carrabba will be making his Emo Night debut at the anniversary party.
“What made our scene so unique was the bonding of the bands just like the bonding of the fans,” Carrabba says. “All the bands that started out together, from My Chemical Romance to Thursday to Saves the Day to the Get Up Kids, still talk all the time, tour all time. We have that special bond together after building a whole scene up with all the heavy-lifting of the fans.”