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Review: Emo Nite at Manning Bar

After too many nights locked indoors and ruminating alone, Emo Nite was a return to form for the musical aspect of emo culture.

Photo by Amelia Koen.

Lacing up the vans; smudging the eyeliner; donning the black dress. It can only mean one thing: it’s Emo Nite — and Friday night’s installment was at the University of Sydney’s own Manning Bar. 

For the uninitiated, this is a sacred and Infamous night amongst emos of all varieties: scene, punk, pop-punk, metalcore, rock, and so on. Because, to quote Mean Girls’ Cady Heron, “[Emo Nite] is the one time of year when an [emo] can dress like a total [emo] and no other [non-emo] can say anything about it.” 

Themed as a ‘My Chemical Romance Ball’, Manning Bar — perhaps for the first time in living memory — was offering what I’ll generously call ‘cocktails’, including ‘Planetary Punch,’ ‘My Chemical Blue-mance’, and ‘Helena’s Goodnight’. Out of these themed drinks masquerading as shoehorned-in lyrical puns, blue-mance was by far the best (and also, probably radioactive). After a few of these beverages, you’re guaranteed to feel Weightless.

Upon our Fashionably Late arrival at approximately 8:30 pm, there was nobody on the dancefloor! In a likely desperate attempt to get the emo-crowd moving and shaking, the DJ played a series of Sleeping With Sirens’ biggest hits, including ‘Kick Me’ and ‘If You Can’t Hang’, and Pierce the Veil’s ‘King for a Day’ ft. Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn, and reliably, the night was off. 

Row, row, row, your boat gently … to Paramore? 

As I wrote in my notes app at the time: “a small part of myself has died — the mosh has truly started during Paramore.” Now, let’s be clear, I take no issue with Paramore whatsoever. However, when the heavy-metal-esque moshing starts during the 2016 indie-pop sensation ‘Still Into You’, one has to be curious as to what on Earth is going on. F.M.L.

Aside from the curious song choice and, as my accomplice exclaimed “this is Manning Bar, not Unify”, the ‘rowboating’ or ‘boat rowing’ chain that formed on the floor was quite impressive — though definitely not COVID-safe. Despite sounding highly questionable, rowboating in the mosh is quite literally just sitting down and pretending to row a boat…

Circles, walls, and mosh-pit falls  

After a slightly-problematic sing-off between the worst of two evils — Falling in Reverse and Escape the Fate — my emo companions and I finally received a morsel of what we’d been manifesting: Bring Me the Horizon. 

Harkening back to the heavy energy of their first album Count Your Blessings, the pit began to swirl with metallic anticipation as the opening notes of Sempiternal smash-hit ‘Shadow Moses’ kicked off (despite paradoxically going nowhere). In all honesty, my neck still hurts — which is embarrassing, but it’s been at least two years of no concerts and no headbanging at full capacity. Besides, if your neck feels fine immediately after a show, you did it wrong. 

It’s time for a sighing, Open Letter on mosh etiquette: If your face is already bleeding, in several places, and nobody is in the circle-pit with you, perhaps, call it quits for a while unless you have a Deathwish. Solo dodging-into and roundhouse-kicking people is literally just hitting them — plus, you look silly. Read the room, go wash your face, wait for a heavier song (yes, heavier than the bridge of ‘If It Means A Lot To You’), and bring some other mosh-mates to jump with. 

P.S. Being Aggressive and violently shaking the barrier of Manning is cringe and dangerous when people are leaning on it for stability. Just go to a heavy band’s gig where this type of acting-up is normal and borderline encouraged; e.g. go see Thornhill’s show — they’re playing The Lansdowne tonight.

‘Cocktails’ + confetti + wood floors = slippery! 

Perhaps this doesn’t come as a surprise, but after several blows of black and white confetti cannons were fired, and several stomach-churning drinks were split, a fantastically slippery surface formed on the floor. Confetti slid across the thin layer of questionable liquids which amalgamated on the now coated wooden floorboards — not even the (Made of Wax, Larry) grip of our Vans ‘Old Skools’ could have saved us from this deadly combination. 

Many an emo took a spiralling tumble; it was truly The Downfall Of Us All. Though even worse confetti-crimes were committed shortly after, as wads of sticky confetti were picked up and re-launched into the air. Only to fall down again with a weighted splat as they hit the floor and unsuspecting individuals. I can only thank the emo-gods that I was saved from that Rock Bottom experience.

An emo kid’s golden hour

As the clock struck midnight, silence fell like A Match Into Water. Only the unmistakable, foreboding notes of ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ were audible as it ushered in the night’s ‘MCR Hour’. 

Perhaps I am old and boring at 21, but I wish they played this set at 11 pm instead because I was tired and the Blue Curacao was wearing off. Despite these Famous Last Words, after four hours of MCR-gifs and video clips up on the projected big-screen, I was glad to have seen the night through. The room was buzzing and not a single lyric was left unsung by the crowd.

Eternal hits such as ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise), ‘Teenagers’, ‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’, ‘I Don’t Love You’, and ‘Mama’ were natural crowd-pleasers, uniting nearly all subsects of the emo cult of musical personality.  

I can only imagine that the night from here on descended into more of the same: 20-year olds in Pikachu hats and skinny jeans singing like they were 14 again, and the resounding sounds of people singing themselves hoarse to their favourite angsty tunes echoing on.  

Upon our leaving, catching glimpses of Gerard-Way-red-ties and black mesh in various forms, we felt satisfied with our night of emo reprise. Whether you’re a new emo or a seasoned veteran just wanting to get Right Back at it Again, Emo Nite is the place for you.

So, my dear Manning, Thnks fr th Mmrs. You might be slippery and smelly, but it would be sacrilegious to speak a word against you after your evening of stellar emo-patronage. So Long, And Thanks For All The Booze.