Music | Taking Back Tuesday | Why the “Emo Night” Revolution was one of music’s most important trends in 2015

2015 saw a very diverse music blend. We discovered “Uptown Funk”, learned what a “Trap Queen” was, Justin Bieber found Jesus (and Diplo), Drake started a hotline, an Irishmen took us to church, and Adele said “Hello” after three long years away. There were plenty of new trends, sounds, and musicians to dance to all year long, but despite the rise in new music, some bands that haven’t seen radio play since 2005 might have had the biggest year of all. In December 2014, three friends set out on a mission to end their nights stuck in bars playing music they just couldn’t stand, and accidentally reignited the decade-old passions of 20 and 30-somethings around the US. Taking Back Tuesday (more fondly referred to as “Emo Night”) was founded by three friends on a mission to bring the music they’ve loved since their teen years out of hiding, and find a club who’s jams wouldn’t make them cringe. 

After the team’s inaugural show, word spread like wildfire and Los Angeles’ scene rallied around the trio. Within three months, Emo Night had grown from a small gathering at The Short Stop to a full-fledged event featuring none other than pop-punk dad Mark Hoppus as a guest DJ for their third night. Founders Morgan Freed, Babs Szabo, and T.J. Petracca had no idea what they were getting themselves into, but it’s safe to say that they’re ready for whatever is next to come. Music Editor Maddie Casey got a chance to chat all things Taking Back Tuesday with the crew prior to their first show in Denver back in December, and got the low-down on everything “Ride or Cry”.


Denver’s first Taking Back Tuesday was the trio’s first show since their star-studded 1-year Anniversary show at the Echoplex in LA. “There were so many people on stage during Chris (Carrabba/Dashboard Confessional)’s set that we were worried it was gonna collapse. It was like MTV Unplugged, but even crazier” founder T.J. Petracca said of the night. With guest stars like Carrabba, Jack Barakat of All Time Low, Mikey Way of My Chemical Romance, Mark Hoppus’ return to the DJ booth and many more, the #1YearOfTears celebration was nothing short of the pop-punk prom of your dreams. “The first show we did was a little weird, the people were hesitant”, Babs said about the groups first shows. “They didn’t really know what to do, what to expect, but after an hour and a few drinks, it would finally click with people that it was cool to let their guard down and have a good time”. In 2005, the term “emo” carried a stigma that can’t be adequately explained. Even though you knew you loved emo music, there was no pride in sharing that label, even with friends. The great rise of Emo Night has turned the genre-turned-personal-identifier from a term that was mocked into a term of endearment. Whether it be the times simply changing, the years we’ve spent away, or the rebirth of the genre’s popularity in recent years, being emo is back, and has become a badge of honor worn proudly by fans and artists alike. 

Emo Night founders Morgan Freed, Babs Szabo, and T.J. Petracca

The team continued to do an Emo Night in LA nearly every month of the next year, and in October of 2015 they began venturing to other cities like Seattle, Portland, Omaha, and finally Denver as the last Emo Night of 2015. Found Morgan Freed thinks their choice to expand was the right thing for everyone - founders and fans alike. “Every city we go to we meet new people and make new friends. It’s like we’re getting to help grow a new community, and it’s cool to see that”, he said about their recent adventures. “It just proves that this music still means something” Babs added. “For a lot of people, these songs are what made them who they are today, so this is like a second life for them. We’re giving them a new chance to celebrate these songs; to give them new meaning.” 

After our turn to experience Emo Night firsthand, we couldn’t agree more. On Tuesday, December 7th, a crowd bubbled around the bar of the Marquis theatre. People were speaking in hushed tones, ordering drinks, sharing looks of excitement, anticipation, and the occasional eye roll. About 30 minutes after doors opened, T.J. took stage and said “let’s get this thing started”, and pressed play on Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Going Down”. Down we went for then next 5 hours - down the rabbit hole of old memories, feelings, and favorites. Surprise guest DJ’s of the night included Kamtin Mohager, a Denver native now living in LA performing as The Chain Gang of 1974, and Jerrod Bettis, a Colorado Springs native and drummer for the band Acceptance. The night took crazy turns, like Drake’s “Hotline Bling” being used as the intro to Say Anything’s “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too…”, and an air horn blaring between verses of Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?”. The night ended with about everyone who was left in the room, standing arm-in-arm on stage singing along to Brand New’s “Soco Amaretto Lime”, the most emo end to the most emo night we’ve ever encountered. For fans of Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World, At The Drive In, Brand New, Death Cab, or any of the other token “emo bands of years past”, Emo Night is the perfect place to realize that you’re not alone, pop-punk isn’t dead, and no matter what they said when you were 15, there will always be a time and place for your black eyeliner and unending love for Jesse Lacey. 

The next Taking Back Tuesday was announced just last week, and will be back at The Marquis Theatre on Tuesday, March 22nd. If this article made you feel any of the nostalgic feels, do *not* miss this chance to relive these musical glory years. 

Long live the car-crashed hearts, and long live Emo Night.