Review: Emo Nite Day 2017

Gil Reigo Photography

There were a number of ways this day could have began, but with the genius of its creators, Emo Nite Day began the Emo Nite way. A string quartet took the stage to play an ethereal instrumental of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down” while the crowd led in full vocal participation. It was undoubtedly an accurate representation of what Emo Nite is all about. It unites people with different backgrounds, different stories, who all have at least one thing in common: the soundtrack to those days we rarely speak about but carry on our shoulders each and every day.

Using Shrine Expo Hall as its stomping ground, the four stages were easy to navigate, and travelling between them saw an abundance of pop-up shops, an art installation, and brilliantly chosen food trucks.

From the people dressed up as members of Green Day and My Chemical Romance, to the unique visuals, to Nosferatu, and of course, the security guards head banging in the corner, it was a day dedicated to giving people the opportunity to get weird, emotional, and hopefully giving them the confidence they need to do so when they see fit.


(in order of appearance)


Whitney Peyton

Photo by Grizzlee Martin

“Have you ever moshed at 3pm?”

Well if you were in attendance at Peyton’s set, your answer to that question would now be yes. As she threw on Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom,” the crowd rushed onto the Yesennia stage and would remain there for majority of the day. It was hard to believe it was only the second song of the set because with the energy from the crowd, it felt like the grand finale of something special. While the crowd came alive, Peyton sat back and let the music do its thing — in the true spirit of Emo Nite Day.

Brandon Wardell

Photo by Grizzlee Martin

While he admits to his purposeful trolling throughout his DJ set, Brandon Wardell as a DJ is a concept we most definitely can get behind. From his fairly solid transitions in between songs to his witty incorporation of songs that people would not outright label as “emo” but certainly apply, his performance was one of the more entertaining and enjoyable of the day. While Eiffel 65’s “I’m Blue” was among those that Wardell justified as “a song about being a sad bitch,” it was the songs like Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” that caught my attention. As opposed to playing something we would without a doubt hear five times that day, he decided to keep the crowd on their toes, but in a good way.


Photo by Grizzlee Martin

Although a very brief set, Finch’s acoustic performance ignited every ounce of nostalgia fighting to be free. It was beautiful, sad, and by the look of adoration from the crowd, took us all to a place like that of an old school Linkin Park or Evanescence music video.

Travis Mills

Photo by James L Harper

As stated in our preview, Travis Mills had to have been a no-brainer in choice of DJs to appear at Emo Nite Day. Every lost, but memorable song of our youth made its way onto his setlist. One being Sugarcult’s “Bouncing Off The Walls,” which saw Mills doing just that. In a transition to “I Miss You” by Blink-182, he dedicated the song — as well as the rest of his set — to Lil Peep. Heavy, yet freeing, he kept the momentum going with Good Charlotte’s recent cover of “Awful Things,” sparking a lot of emotion within the crowd, and ended his amazing set with his favorite Lil Peep song “Nineteen.”

Lil Zubin x Family Pet

Photo by James L Harper

The Ham On Everything stage saw a lot of action between its hours of DJ sets in between performances, and the revolutionary artists each partaking in their own movements that graced the stage. Between the deep, vibrant tone of his music and his intoxicating vocals, Lil Zubin had those even just passing by caught in his trance. He and Family Pet were a suitable pair given that the duo’s music carries characteristics similar to that of Lil Zubin’s. They brought out a small, but incredibly passionate crowd that did not miss a single word, and like Zubin, brought out Lil Lotus in a guest appearance to perform for an emotional performance of their track “so long, goodbye.”

Lil Aaron x Lil Lotus x Smrtdeath

Photo by Grizzlee Martin

While we were not initially sure how this set would pan out in terms of time with the three of them performing together, little did we know that time would nonexistent issue. Not only do Lil Aaron, Lil Lotus, and Smrtdeath support each other enough where they know the words to each other’s songs, but they made their first unofficial appearance as their new boy band, Boyfriendz. Even with the three of them performing their own songs in addition to those that they are featured on together, everything transitioned smoothly — largely in part due to the genius of DJ/producer Y2K backing them — with an abundant amount of love and support shining throughout the entirety of their performance. Lotus’ “Bodybag” being a crowning example as it saw a large — but friendly — mosh pit open up in the small space. It is not often that these amazing creatives get together as a number of them flew out solely for this performance, so it showcases all of the love and dedication that surrounds a group of people like this. They have made their debuts individually, but now that they have formed a triple-brained collaboration, there are no limits to what these guys can do.

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