After nearly 2 years of almost going to this party and never making it in (the line is typically around the block), I finally got to go to Emo Nite LA and I’m never missing it again as long as I live. It’s the highest concentration of joy I’ve ever experienced at a dance party, it’s a level of liberation I never thought possible.
2 years ago I took acid at a Jason DeRulo concert by myself if only to be able to say I did. I went to the show with a squad of girls I know from EDM game, women I look up to and want to fit in with in a totally 9th grade kind of way. There was absolutely nothing cool about being at the Jason DeRulo concert (except the fact that he’s FUCKING AWESOME, a modern day R. Kelly minus all the crazy), but in our uncoolness we were free. We danced like no one was watching, laughed til we cried, and I was hyper aware all the while of how unique the vibe was, how differently we interacted at that show.
I’ve been chasing the feeling ever since. In the immortal words of Philip Seymour Hoffman as Cameron Crowe’s Lester Bangs in Almost Famous, “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” Emo Nite is the ultimate meta-cool, it’s cool turned inside out looking back on itself. 14 year old Molly got into Blink 182, New Found Glory, and The Ataris, which would ultimately gateway me to Brand New, Saves The Day, and Taking Back Sunday, because at the time it was cool. Warped Tour was cool, I wanted to be cool so I spent all my allowance to schelp in 104 degree heat to this dusty-ass show where I dutifully took a roll full of blurry pics on a disposable camera.
Photo in my driveway circa 2000, the world was a completely different place and that’s Laura, she was my coolest friend who took me to all the punk rock shows but also cried with me at Backstreet Boys.
Then in college I started EDMing cause that was cool and I fell in love with it. The first time I saw DJ AM with all my cool-kid raver friends and he dropped Bon Jovi and Green Day and Journey my head exploded I was so stoked, but my rave friends made it clear that this was deeply uncool. From then on I’d go see DJ AM by myself every Sunday for free in Hollywood with Steve Aoki, shoutout Banana Split Sundaes and the Sapporo keg on the dancefloor. If you remember that shit you’re OG AF.
And now in an era where Aoki is laughable to the cool kids of dance music (even though he’s insanely prolific and one of the most important pioneers of this culture), along comes Emo Nite blasting Avril Lavigne alongside System of a Down punctuated by some occasional Kanye and what must surely be an ironic airhorn, IN FUCKING FORBES, selling out every party and breeding copycats nationwide. It’s nothing less than a total phenomenon. And now I get why, nostalgia is a chemical reaction in your brain that’s as good if not better than drugs and Emo Nite is a nostalgia inferno – it took everything I had to stop myself from stagediving because my chiropractor’s in Israel and I’d be done for.
There’s 4 FUCKING STAGES, 2 indoor 2 outdoor, one of which had a live band doing covers. The format for the main room is generally someone from a touring band doing a headlining DJ set (this week it was the singer from Bayside), with Captain Cuts closing the party. If you’re not on Captain Cuts yet, go educate yourself while you weep to this stunning mixtape. It embraces the you that so desperately wanted to be cool as a kid while setting loose adult you who’s had all the fucks you used to give bled out over the years and thus is no longer too cool to enjoy this. DO YOU SEE HOW CYCLICAL IT IS?! I SWEAR TO GOD I’M NOT ON ACID RIGHT NOW BUT I FEEL LIKE I AM TRYING TO EXPLAIN THIS.
If the idea of this party even slightly resonates with you, I strongly encourage you to saddle up, get there by 9 and surrender to your uncoolness. In it you will find that true coolness comes from not giving a fuck and living like you’re about to die, which you are, and letting a Jack U x Blink 182 mashup wash over you like it’s the last thing you’ll ever hear in this world. The second Dr. Bendavid is back in town you can find me jumping off the Echoplex stage through space and time to catch myself at my absolute coolest – 31 and invincible reaching unprecedented levels of joy at a dance party where every song you’ve ever loved has an equal shot at getting played.