I’ve been going to Emo Night events up here in Minneapolis for awhile now. What can I say, for a person who is constantly searching for that feeling of nostalgia, Emo Night hits the spot. Typically held at the small basement bar called Honey just across the river from downtown, the event always felt intimate. You would typically see the same people singing along to the same songs every time but you could feel something in the air every time the event was held. Emo Night was meant for much bigger things than just the little dark basement of Honey so when First Avenue announced they would be hosting the event for the first time ever I got beyond excited. My favorite event held at my favorite venue in town? Now that’s what we call a win-win.
Emo Night is hosted by the one and only Flip Phone group in Minneapolis. Flip Phone is known for their quirky and always amazing weekend drag brunch events. From Spice Girls to Disney Original Movies, somehow the people behind Flip Phone know exactly what every late 20-something and early 30-something wants. Teaming up with some of the best drag queens in the area, their events are always on point and leave people talking. Although I’ve never been able to snag a ticket to one of the brunches (the ones I want always sell out before I can pull it together enough to get a plan together), having experienced Emo Night multiple times now, I will be attending one of their brunches sooner rather than later. Always fun and always organized, Flip Phone is definitely a name that belongs up in lights in the Twin Cities.
Flip Phone may be the ones that put this event together but it’s Nocturna Lee Mission that makes the magic happen. I’ve never been to an Emo Night where Nocturna wasn’t killing it behind the computer. Always playing the best emo music put out there and always singing along to every word just like the audience, Nocturna brings the spark to this event. Drag may be the name of her game but the way she strings memory to memory with the songs she chooses is the true accomplishment. I don’t know if this event was her idea or what but there seriously isn’t a better person in this city to host something like this.
Okay, now that I’ve given you a little bit of background on this event and the people behind it, let’s dig into the first ever Emo Night at First Avenue. When I walked in just a little bit after doors it honestly felt like a middle school prom. Nobody was on the dance floor as the sides, walls, and bars seemed to be a more desirable space. Honestly, that made it feel like a true emo night. I think back to middle and high school when I was deep in the emo scene and I remember that’s just how everything was. Anti-social outside of your typical friend group, the first half hour of the night set the tone in the most awkward and perfect way. After the drinks had been flowing a little bit, people seemed to warm up to the idea of dancing and getting onto the floor and, within no time, the empty floor was jam packed with people singing along to the songs of their childhood.
The demographic seemed a bit younger than that at Honey but the change from the typical 21+ show to 18+ show made that shift make sense. Although some of the kids closer to 18 years old clearly had no clue what was going on as the twenty and thirty somethings around them were screaming every word to every song like their life depended on it, absolutely everyone had a smile on their face as the sweat was dripping down their backs. Hot and sweaty, loud and alive– I talk about wanting putting certain atmospheres from shows into a glass jar to save for a rainy day, well here was one of those shows. Clearly the audience wasn’t watching Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance play their hit songs but if you couldn’t see the stage and were just listening to the crowd, you could be easily fooled into thinking that was exactly what was happening.
Sure, the hits were being played and the video repeating behind Nocturna and her computer was showing the legends like AFI and Avril Lavigne but part of the magic of this event is when Nocturna plays those songs from the obscure bands that you thought nobody else knew. I couldn’t help but get lost in the crowd and the music when she played a song by Armor For Sleep. That was my band and based on how many of friends had never heard of the band or music, I had just come to terms that it would be mine. That changed as soon as I realized everyone else around me was screaming along to those same words I used to pray to as an angsty teenager. With drinks sloshing and strangers becoming instant friends, I was truly in my happy place.
From the pop up drag performances to the photo opps with giant balloons that spelled out “EMO”, there was no shortage of that party atmosphere that I always crave. Some people dressed up in their emo’s best with dark circles of eye liner around their eyes and shredded up fingerless gloves (yeah, we used to think that was cool) whereas some of us just showed up in our normal clothes which sadly still reflect our emo tendencies. Black shirts and ripped up jeans, it didn’t matter what you were wearing because at Emo Night you are allowed to be whatever you want and that’s part of the magic to it.
The turn out Friday night was amazing and I hope that means there will be more Emo Nights hosted in the iconic venue. Regardless, I will not miss an Emo Night. It’s too fun and, as a nostalgia searcher, too perfect.