Emo Nite Day Delivers Feels, Nostalgia With Dashboard Confessional, 3OH!3 & More

Promotional art for the Emo Nite Day concert. (I guess the audience is the pigeons? Or are they the bands?)

Have you ever listened really intently to someone playing acoustic emotional punk rock while letting your eyes well up? Then you might be the target audience for Emo Nite Day at the Shrine.

The festival wants to tap directly into your brain's nostalgia centers, with acts from the '90s to today — like an adult contemporary radio station, but darker and cooler. It also includes one of the most iconic emo act of all time, Dashboard Confessional.

The event is a spinoff of Emo Nite L.A., which started with playing emo music at a dive bar, then evolved into bigger shows (it began at the Short Stop nearly four years ago, before moving its monthly parties to the Echo and the Echoplex).

This isn't the first time Chris Carraba of Dashboard Confessional has been part of an Emo Nite event. He came out for the event's one-year anniversary at the Echoplex and played a few songs acoustic.

File: Classic Dashboard Confessional, with Chris Carrabba performing on "MTV2 Unplugged" at the MTV studios in New York City on April 24, 2002. (Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect)

Emo Nite's also been working closely with pop electronic duo 3OH!3 (pronounced three-oh-three) — Emo Nite's about to co-headline a tour with the band, helping to create a house party vibe. 3OH!3's celebrating the tenth anniversary of its biggest album, Want (which included hit single "Don't Trust Me"), which they're playing the entirety of on the upcoming tour. Before that, they're one of the major acts on Emo Nite Day.

3OH!3's also done appearances on Emo Nite over the years, along with DJing there — while they formed in Colorado, they've both moved to Los Angeles in recent years. The band's Sean Foreman has been focusing largely on writing and producing songs for other artists, from Ariana Grande to Katy Perry.

They've become Emo Nite regulars — even though their sound may not be what people first thing of when they hear "emo."

"I'm not blind to the fact that there's a lot of different ways that you can curate an emo [show]," Foreman said. But Emo Nite "provide a party, and it's fun. They play everything from what was big pop hits of the time, of that scene, to there's parts of the night where there is more obscure and maybe more footnoted 'emo' bands or hardcore bands."

"I think anyone who grew up listening to emo and pop-punk music, and who listens to it now, or who's in some way influenced by it, is really the audience of Emo Nite," co-founder Babs Szabo said.

The event was conceived after Szabo and T.J. Petracca met at a friends birthday at a Palm Springs karaoke bar. They sang Dashboard Confessional together, and got the idea to play emo and pop-punk songs at a bar and invite their friends to come. Along with fellow founder Morgan Freed, they brought out 500 people to the first one, and they knew they had something.

Electropop band 3OH!3. (Courtesy Emo Nite L.A. and 3OH!3)

"We came from a place that we're like, 'well what's the coolest things that we can do for this given space?'" Freed said. "I think that we were just like, 's—-, well how do we make something that we would want to go that's not boring like every other thing that we've gone to?'"

Other notables at Emo Nite Day include All Time Low, plus a DJ set from Blink-182's Travis Barker. But the lineup's deep, and the founders mentioned a couple acts that aren't as well known they think people should check out: Lil Zubin and producer trio Captain Cuts.

Captain Cuts just released a new mixtape — EMOWORLD — mixing emo, pop-punk, and pop songs into EDM. They're performing that mixtape live for the first time at Emo Nite Day.

Emo Nite also plays up the dark vibe, somewhat tongue-in-cheek — they're bringing a vampire act to the show, performing a very famous song. They've even got backup dancers, building a pop mythology around what Emo Nite represents.

While the Emo Nite events are all about music and fun, they've also done some addiction workshops and have given back to the community in other ways. 3OH!3's Foreman said that resonated him due to dealing with anxiety issues himself, as well as wanting to be able to give back in ways beyond bringing a party atmosphere.

After Emo Nite Day, Emo Nite's co-headlining that tour with 3OH!3, and there are also Emo Nite events now in about 30 cities. 3OH!3 also has another album in the works.

The road can be wearying — Foreman noted that, as you get older, using Porta Pottys every day can get a bit old — but Emo Nite plans to keep that party alive for the foreseeable future.


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