10 Years of Being a Little Bitch

Let’s be clear: I am still in my emo phase.

    I am incredibly grateful to have grown up during a prime time for emo and pop-punk music, and now that those golden years have passed, I am even more grateful for the 10 year anniversary tours that have been popping up over the last two years.

    There is something special about going to these celebratory tours and seeing the emo youth of 2007 as mature adults. Some of us are in college, some of us have nine-to-five jobs, some of us might even have kids of our own that will be raised on this music. We are all transported back to our glory days, however, when we come together to be crowded and hot in a venue, sticky with sweat that is both ours and not ours.

    The first 10 year tour that I went to was for Motion City Soundtrack’s sophomore album Commit This to Memory. This served not only as a celebration of the album, but as a farewell to the band as they announced their retirement. I went to both of their back-t0-back Boston dates, half-screaming and half-crying along to every song.

    MCS wasn’t the only band to say farewell to an era by playing an entire album from front to back. Yellowcard did the same last fall, saying goodbye to a 20-year-old musical endeavor with a celebration of their album Ocean Avenue. My ticket may have been for the last row in the highest level of seating, but my energy matched that of anyone in the pit that night.

    Nostalgia is at the heart of these tours. While I am still pretty deep into the same genres I listened to in middle and high school, others’ music tastes have evolved. It may have been years since they last threw on a Taking Back Sunday song, but when the first few chords to Cute Without The ‘E’ fill the air, a dusty and forgotten flame is reignited. Music and human emotion are so intricately intertwined that it’s easy to feel instantly transported to a time where this music meant the most.

    So often I find myself going to these tours alone, unable to convince my friends that bands we have stuck in our back pocket for safe keeping are worth revisiting for $30. Maybe they don’t want to revisit the emotions this music evokes, or maybe it really just was a phase for them. For those who do find themselves back in the pit, the experience is unlike any experience had when these albums first came out.

    I can’t begin to describe the feeling of comfort and connection I feel when going to these tours. It’s even more heartwarming to think about the bands themselves, the ones who actively appreciate and recognize fans who have stuck around for years. The fans who have heard their sound shift and transform and who continue to support their musical growth. Anniversary tours are as much a celebration of the album as they are of the fanbase, both old and new.

    Some anniversary tours also serve as reunion tours. Boys Like Girls embarked on a six-city tour this summer in support of their first self-titled album, coming together for the first time after a two-year period of silence. They started and ended their set with the album’s hit The Great Escape. We the Kings followed suit, beginning and closing out the set with Check Yes Juliet during their own self-titled anniversary tour.

    Other bands who have celebrated decade anniversaries of albums include Cartel, The Used, Mayday Parade, Escape the Fate, Circa Survive, and many more. Metro Station even announced that they’re planning to reunite to play their self-titled in full, a future tour that I will probably, and a bit shamefully, attend.

    My bank account is slowly being drained with each anniversary tour announcement. There will always be a part of me that belongs in the center of a crowd, pressed against strangers who have nothing in common with me other than the fact that they too cherish the words and melodies of emo bands. Maybe that’s the strongest connection you can have with someone, though.

    While many bands have given back to long-time fans with these tours, I’ll be sitting in the corner, waiting for All Time Low to announce their 1o year celebration of So Wrong, It’s Right.

Art by: Taylor Roberts