What Started As A Single DJ Set Has Evolved Into A Full House Of Surprises That Caters To All Fans Of Millennial Music.
Anything can happen at Emo Nite.
For the past five years, Third String Entertainment has changed what its beloved Emo Nite parties — which occur every first Saturday of the month — have looked like and meant to fans of the reminiscent late ‘90s and early 2000s emo and pop-punk music. It has become so popular that it sells out almost every night and has even maxed out capacity at a few Dallas venues, some that now no longer exist, since it started in March 2017. Now, after five years, there has been no better time to attend Emo Nite, which has now relocated to South Side Music Hall, than this year.
Through its changes, or shall we say its evolution, Emo Nite has become more than just a night of nostalgia, but a safe space for lovers of Millennial music. There has been a common misconception that Emo Nite is only, well, emo. It’s not and it probably never will be just for the teenage-angsty adults whose lives were forever changed by one My Chemical Romance song in 2008, nor will it ever only be for the hardcore moshpit kids. During the first hour after doors open at 9 p.m., the DJs mixes are quite eclectic with tracks from the charts’ top hip hop artists to throwback rap songs.
At first, you wonder to yourself, “where the hell is the emo music?” but trust us, it’s coming. This is the same reason why some have opted out of attending. Many think Emo Nite should strictly be about emo music. However, it’s not a throwback party and Third String Entertainment tries very hard not to make it one. Those poser-fearing fans are completely missing the picture.
“Let’s get real. We still grew up with some of those songs,” event organizer and Third String co-founder Orlando Mendoza says. “Some of these newer artists, especially these newer pop artists, are really influenced by this music, so it does crossover and we’re covering every aspect of this.”
If you complain about a The Kid Laroi song or that one Miley Cyrus song that comes on that night, go ahead. The hundreds of Emo Nite fans in that room, even the ones you least expect, will continue to sing their tiny, black hearts out to them. So, if you’re one of those haters it really doesn’t matter because Emo Nite will continue to pack the house without you — and we think it’s best without you anyway.
Mendoza says Emo Nite Dallas was modeled after Emo Nite LA, the original Emo Nite party that has become its own official brand. In 2014, Emo Nite founders TJ Petracca and Morgan Freed hosted its first party at a small dive bar in LA and now these shows have made their way to major cities across the country. It insists it’s “Not a band,” instead it “throws parties for the music we love.”
Emo Nite Dallas was also the first Emo Nite to come back after the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. In March 2020, on its third anniversary, Emo Nite had one last wild night at the iconic Lizard Lounge before the world shut down the following week. Lizard Lounge didn’t survive much longer after that. In July 2021, Emo Nite LA trusted Emo Nite Dallas to be the first party back, this time in the bigger space it’s at now, and resulted into another insane, sold-out show with people standing in line nearly begging to get in.
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Since its return, Third String Entertainment has focused on creating a bigger experience for its fans. Nowadays, it’ll invite special guests from famous touring bands, have a separate “deep cut” only DJ set and local bands playing live performances in a different room. Last week, local bands competed for a slot time at So What?! Music Festival and it all depended on how rowdy they could get the crowd. Dallas punk band Itiswhatitis and Bay City, TX-based pop-punk band As The City Sleeps won, by the way. So, we’ll be seeing them this Memorial Day Weekend. There’s also a variety of different activities depending on its theme nights. Oh, yeah, there are themes now.
Last Saturday, they went full island theme with leis, limbo contests and pop-punk-inspired tiki drinks. Over 1,500 people attended that night. Last month, it hosted a costume contest for the space theme party and in December it threw a winter formal.
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“We just wanted to grow the event to be something more than just us being on stage DJing,” Mendoza says. “We’ve never tried to make it about us, that’s why we invite everyone on stage and why we have different guest DJs because it’s more about the community.”
Right at 10 p.m., Mendoza, and co-organizers Jay Webster, vocalist of local hardcore/hip hop band UNITYTX, and Aaron Gavaldon and Kendrick Nicholson of the goth experimental band Be//gotten get on stage to play the emo hits. Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down Swinging” usually starts off the night and it’s followed by the sounds of My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco, Paramore, Blink-182 and the golden years of emo music.
Publications across the country, whose cities curate Emo Nite, never fail to mention how these venues are filled with dark makeup, thick eyeliner, dyed hair and fishnets – it mostly is, duh. However, many fail to mention the weirdest things that can happen and why it’s become so legendary.
In Dallas, at the only (now-permanently closed) Curtain Club Emo Nite show back in 2019, a group of 30-something-year-olds hopped on stage dressed in business casual attire headbanging to Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy.” That same night, a couple got engaged on stage with Smash mouth’s “All Star” playing afterwards. Last month, country band Chattahoochie performed country covers of emo songs – an idea Mendoza has had for five years. Let’s not forget the time they made a human pyramid and all the memorable mosh pits.
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“When we did the Bomb Factory one [in 2018], we had a ton of guests and we really just treated it like it was a full-blown concert,” Mendoza says. “We had The Rocket Summer do an acoustic set, Will from Cartel did an acoustic set. Frank Zummo from Sum 41 and Adrian Young from No Doubt did a drum off in the middle of the room.”
Mendoza adds that this was one of his most memorable Emo Nites because he had just gotten into a car accident the night before and was somehow able to make it to the show.
Like we said, Emo Nite looks different every night and it plans to continue to do so, as well as out-do itself for the years to come. So, remember, it’s not a “darken your clothes and strike a violent pose” party, unless you want to. It’s for creating memories with your favorite people and your favorite songs.
The emo songs that guided you through your middle school scene days, your high school rage and your coming-of-age era. Emo is forever and so is Emo Nite.
That means that after all this time, it truly wasn’t a phase, mom. So, Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, and here’s to more.
If you missed this month’s Emo Nite, you’ll have to wait until the next one this summer. Third String Entertainment is quite busy prepping for So What?! later this year — it’s biggest one yet.