Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tears of Joy: Why San Antonio Still Loves Emo

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 8:00 AM


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The more misunderstood genres of music. Take a quick trip to internet slang bible Urban Dictionary, known for savage user-submitted definitions, to understand why “emo,” even to some who still have feels for the genre, usually feels like a modern insult. There are the usual “emo kid” stereotypes: the weepy LiveJournal blog, a comb over of black bangs, copious amounts of eyeliner, subscription to Alternative Press, and circulation-cutting skinny jeans.

That’s probably because the music that birthed the term isn’t exactly easy to define. During the height of emo’s popularity, at the turn of the century, the genre itself had morphed into this stereotype of moody, sensitive, dark, theatrical and sometimes intense music, paired with chugging guitars, mid-song breakdowns and pained howls.

But there’s a lot more to it than that. 

First, a quick primer for the uninitiated: What would eventually become labeled as “emo” music really started to form in the mid-1980s, with beginnings as hardcore punk’s sensitive little brother, where political rants were replaced with confessional lyrics of personal torment. The style gradually gained momentum and then mainstream popularity in the ‘90s with bands like Jimmy Eat World and early Weezer. Then came the rise of mass-marketable emo: My Chemical Romance, Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy and Dashboard Confessional.

Like MySpace, emo is still lingering, but it’s certainly not as relevant as it was in the beginning of the 2000s. But despite emo fading into an ashy gray, it still holds an important place in the hearts of many in the generation that grew up with its music. San Antonio, a hardcore town that loves harder music, was majorly lacking a 21-plus gathering grounds for former emo kids to relive their grade school jams. 

Until the SATX Emo Club emerged, that is. Launched in February, they’re now a staple on the Strip every last week of the month crowding Brass Monkey’s Jimmy Eat Wednesday night. 

We talked to Suli Mirza, former guitarist for post-hardcore band Before You Accuse Me and SATX Emo Club member. Formed in 2005, the White Rabbit fan favorites had their moments of local greatness. They opened for big-name artists on their San Antonio stops and won countless battles of the bands during the genre’s heyday.

Mirza, when asked why he thinks San Antonio still cares about emo, said “We all know trends come and go and we all know that we have to grow up in one way or another, so its just refreshing to dedicate one night per month to our nostalgia from those years. Who doesn’t like to scream Taking Back Sunday songs at the top of their lungs?”

Mirza further explained why many are so nostalgic for the genre. “The emo genre had a no judgment-type of philosophy, which was the opposite of exclusive, and was based off of love and acceptance because being emo was about admitting your weaknesses and flaws and being okay with them. It was okay to be emotional; sadness is natural human emotion. It was very communal.

Emo never completely died. Its generation just grew up.

Jimmy Eat Wednesday, 10 pm, Wed., Aug. 31, Brass Monkey, 2702 N. St. Mary's St. 



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