Quest for nostalgia sparks ‘Emo Night’ for music fans

Quest for nostalgia sparks 'Emo Night'

Three local bands will perform cover sets from emo pioneers at the concert this Saturday.
Published: October 9, 2018
Syracuse Emo Night advance poster

As ’90s-born millennials become more nostalgic for the lost music of angsty teenage years, a revival of emo music is emerging. Emo-themed parties have been popping up all over Los Angeles and New York City  in spirit of the genre, and a local Syracuse arts venue is picking up on the trend next.

Owners of Spark Contemporary Art Space are hosting Syracuse’s first ever Emo Night event on Oct. 13. “A lot of Spark attendees have said how they’d love to have an emo-themed night where bands covered acts of the genre from years ago,” said Patrick Tuohey, a co-owner of Spark. Based on this demand, Emo Night was born.

With less than a week away, the event has gotten nearly 250 responses on social media. For Spark, this is significant. “The average attendance is pretty small, around 20 to 50 people per show,” Misita said. “But we’re already over capacity with the responses.”

The event will feature three local groups: The Yellow, Can’t Sleep, and Closure, each playing cover sets of emo pioneers, such as My Chemical Romance, The Wonder Years and American Football. DJ Myke will open the night with a set of emo and punk hits.

Nic Misita, an events and content coordinator for the CNY Rock Concert Source Facebook page who spearheaded the event, said the evening will introduce people to the Syracuse music scene.

“The show is a way to help local bands network in a new way,” Misita said, noting that in addition to the covers, the groups will play some of their own, original music. “The easiest way to make a new fan is to play a song they already know.”

Collins Van Gorden, a guitarist and vocalist for Closure, said an event like this can positively impact the attendance numbers at concerts in Syracuse.

“Covering bands like My Chemical Romance is going to bring in a lot of people and introduce them to other bands which will hopefully get them more heavily invested in the scene,” Van Gorden said. “If you see someone covering your favorite My Chem song and they kill it, you might think ‘Oh this is cool, I wonder what their own music sounds like’ and be more inclined to come out to another show.”

Spark is known for booking alternative and underground music events, making it an ideal venue for Emo Night.

“So many national and regional bands alike who play hardcore, indie, punk, emo, electronic and other avant-garde genres have stumbled in over the years,” Tuohey said. “It’s a great fit.”

Emo is a broad subcategory of rock, covering everything from punk to alternative but generally regarded to be introspective and emotive lyrically.

Each band being covered during Emo Night shows off a different section of the broader emo genre. My Chemical Romance represents the mainstream, The Wonder Years have an indie, pop-punk sound, and American Football are part of emo’s “calmer, more twinkly side,” Tuohey said.

“Having bands be allowed to cover their favorite cross-section of the musical genre (emo) that’s also really a culture and attitude,” Tuohey said, “and everyone filling up a room to enjoy those renditions is a great thing.”

Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets. For more information, visit