I have in fact visited the nu Emos on the corner of Burton & Riverside where the Backroom once stood. For those unfamiliar, the Backroom was a local metal bar that often hosted various punk rock shows. The building itself was split in half with one side as the venue and the other half as a bar with pool tables etc. One of my fondest memories of the Backroom was the infamous "Power Hour." Power Hour was a long arduous sixty minutes of $0.10 rum & cokes. They were also notorious for $2.50 pitchers of Lone Star which often ended in trouble.
The nu Emos is actually pretty state of the art and remarkably clean (as opposed to the old Emos or The Backroom). It resembles nothing of what the Backroom building was or the original Emos for that matter. It essentially looks like every other shitty corporate venue I have visited across this country. There are now three bars with even more overpriced alcohol and absolutely no recognizable bartenders. The restrooms all have doors that open and close which is nice. The stage is much larger and free of any poles in the center. The dressing room does in fact have a shower, but it is about as small as the old Emos dressing room. And I'm pretty sure it holds the same old, dirty, black, leather, couch that could probably tell you some stories you would never believe. The nu Emos has great sound, but it definitely lacks the original spirit that Emos was founded on.
It's been quit some time since I even called Emos my stomping ground. I spent many a night at Emos once upon a time. A couple of years ago, my priorities took a shift, not for any specific reason. It was just time for me to do something different. In all honesty, I just grew tired of the disadvantages of being an aging party girl. Almost simultaneously, there was a shift in power amongst the music scene with the inception of Transmission Entertainment. Red 7 & Mohawk became the unspoken rivals to Emos. Everyone has their own opinion regarding the situation and it's not really my place to air other's grievances. However, I do believe those events signified the beginning of the end.
Regardless of what happens, I had some interesting times at Emos, like when my roommate Andrea called Lukas Haas by the wrong name, & watching a girl stand in her own puke, or watching some idiot drive his scooter into a parked truck out front. There were so many good times, a few bad times, and a whole lot of drunk times. As an homage, I thought I would share a few of my favorite moments at Emos.
The time Bad Sean got stabbed
It's no secret that I used to party balls. SXSW was an all out week long assault on my liver and sanity. It's also no secret that I have an extensive knife collection. I've always carried a piece in my purse for protection as long as I have lived in Austin (I did 3 yrs on Riverside). One fateful SXSW afternoon at Emos I got into a drunken discussion with Bad Sean. He was of the persuasion that I didn't have the balls to stab someone. To prove him wrong, I stabbed him in the arm.
As I relayed the above story the following day (after my friends and I decided to see who could drink the most free Red Stripes in one hour), my friend Pete was convinced that the knife in my bag was not sharp enough to cut through skin. I disproved his theory by stabbing him in the elbow.
My love for Jets to Brazil runs as deep as my love for Jawbreaker. I was fortunate enough to see them play at Emos each tour they did for the three albums that were released. I briefly met Blake Schwarzenbach in 2000 and even took a photo with him. Then in 2003 (their final tour) I sat at the bar for a bit after the show. Blake walked up to the bar next to me and said, "Hey, what's up." I was speechless.
Frodo on the loose
Again SXSW (2007?), while waiting for The Living End to play, I indulged in several beverages. As I waited in line at the bar, it was complete madness. Suddenly I saw a very small person in front of me jump over the bar and throw his arms around Cody, Sanchez, Hushang, & Patrick. Low and behold it was Frodo ( or DJ Frodo Ipod as some know him as). They posed for pics as cameras snapped away for what seemed like forever. Clearly, Frodo had more to drink that night than I had.
There was a time when Frodo was in Austin a lot. I coincidentally ran into him at the most random places. Apparently, during SXSW (2006?) I approached him outside of Emos and said, "Hey Frodo, give me a cigarette!" Number one: I do not recall this event, it was relayed to me the next day & Number two: I don't even smoke.
This was a memorable show, not only because it was Propagandhi (who don't leave the Great White North very often), but it was the first show after Emos expanded the outside area. It was a sold out show and with the exception of SXSW that might be the most people I've seen packed into Emos. We got to meet Chris Hannah and talk with him for a bit which was really cool. My friend Eddie (number one Prop fan) even had a song dedicated to him (Back to the Motor League). Being in that audience was such an amazing feeling. Seeing hundreds of people in unison sing the lyrics "fuck religion, fuck religion, fuck religion" was pretty incredible. I've seen Propagandhi since then (Mohawk 2009) and they were great, but it will never compare to that first show.
Blackout with The Faint
When The Faint's Danse Macabre came out, it was all of my friend's favorite album (it still holds up and I still love the keyboard player). It was so incredibly infectious! Soon after I turned 21 yrs old, they were on tour opening for No Doubt and decided to play a one off show at Emos. My friends and I partied like it was Spring Break '98. While the Faint played, I began dancing with this guy I was sure I knew from somewhere. He offered to buy me a drink and I could not refuse. This mysterious gentleman returned with shots of tequila. I immediately downed mine and replied, "See you on the other side." I kept asking this fellow where I knew him from but could not place him for the life of me. Meanwhile we talked about how much we really liked The Faint. Mystery man said, "Yeah that's why we asked them to go on tour with us." I replied, "Oh, you're in a band?" Mystery man, "Yeah, I play guitar for No Doubt, we're playing here tomorrow. You should come see us." I guess that's where I'd seen him before. The next morning (with no recollection of how I got home) I awoke to a message on my answering machine (yes, you heard correct) stating, "Hey Priscilla, it's Tom from last night. I left a couple passes for you at the box office so I'll see you tonight."
Gorilla Biscuits reunion
If any of you are familiar with the old crew at Emos then you know about their hardcore pasts. Most of those guys were recovering straight edgers who had a soft spot for old school hardcore. The night Gorilla Biscuits played a reunion show (2007?) at Emos, it was a huge deal. In the middle of the set, Graham pulled out a trampoline on the stage and the entire staff started diving into the crowd. It was the most ridiculous/hilarious thing I have seen. A bunch of grown ass men beaming from ear to ear while jumping on a mini trampoline. It was an interesting sight!
The Hot Dog Incident
If you ever spent more than ten minutes inside Emos, you will know it was never the pillar of cleanliness. The Onion crowned the Emos facilities "Worst Bathrooms In The World" for fucks sake. SXSW 2007 was a rough one to say the least. As Saturday approached, our momentum began to dwindle much like prior years. While waiting for Turbonegro play the final set of the night, we realized none of us had eaten any solid food. My fast thinking led me to Hot Dog King where I promptly bought dogs for myself, Kenny, and Chad. As we sat at the bar inside of Emos, enjoying our dogs Chad dropped the last inch & a half of his hot dog on the floor. Without hesitation, he bent over to pick it up and put it in his fucking mouth! HE ATE THE GODDAMN HOT DOG OFF THE FLOOR AT EMOS! A wave of nausea washed over me immediately. It's been four years since that incident and Chad is still alive & herpes free (I think) so I guess he got lucky.
Chad's Lil bro (Brandon) once relieved himself of number two in the Emos restroom. Chad apparently felt the need to one up Lil bro.
Heaven in a plastic cup
There once was a beloved bartender at Emos named Sanchez. This revered man brought us the greatest invention since the interwebs: The Sparkleberry. The Sparkleberry was a delicious drink that often resulted in the best slash worst decisions I have ever made in my life. The ingredients were simple: half vodka, half Sparks, splash of cranberry, twist of lime. Well, now that the original formula of Sparks has been altered, I will never enjoy another Sparkleberry which might be all for the better. So long orange tongues!
I'm grateful that I got to see some amazing shows at Emos like RFTC, Screeching Weasel (pre Ben Weasel breakdown), and the first Lifetime show since they broke up just to name a few. The best part of those wild, crazy days were the friends I made. I'm glad I could share those moments with the people I care most about. We had some great times and now it's time to make some new memories. Goodbye Emos, it was fun while it lasted.
I'll always remember playing "Jet Black" on that jukebox.