FT5: ATH Favorite Emo’s Moments

Sad times are upon us my friends. Emos has begun to close its doors; it even made big waves with the people over at Pitchfork. As we near the closing of the original Emos, we culled our favorite memories of the venue, and we hope you’ll share your favorites with us as well.

Emos has long been a staple on 6th Street, and as it moves to Riverside, we truly wish the best for the venue and its future endeavors. Still, we have to face the truth, Emos will never be the same. Whether you were born in town, like myself, or you moved to Austin for live music, the odds are that you visited Emos a time or two, and probably more. It holds a dear spot in all our hearts, so we had to take the time to share our memories of one of Austin’s most legendary venues with you.  We hope that in turn you’ll share your favorite memories with us, so we can give Emos a good solid send off.


5. Black Keys

I don’t even remember when this show actually took place.  If I had to guess, it was somewhere in the 04-05 range; it was one of my fondest memories. I went with my brother and a few other friends to catch Dan & Patrick; it was before they had gotten really huge (Rubber Factory days), so they still had a tame enough following to actually fit into the Emos venue. It had all the perfect ingredients for a perfect night at Emos. People packed into the room like sardines, all trying to squeeze their way towards the stage.  Insane amounts of sweat poured out from us, and onto us, for that matter. We shared endless PBR tallboys. And, of course, our faces were completely rocked off by the Black Keys. There wasn’t anything over the top; there weren’t any fancy effects or lighting, just honest to god rock n’ roll. For me, good music with good friends is what Emos was all about.  – raygun


4. Appleseed Cast/Mates of State

This is one of my earliest Emos experiences, back around 2001.  I had just moved to Austin, from Lufkin, to attend college.  The line-up featured the Appleseed Cast, one of my favorites, and an opening band called Mates of State, who I hadn’t heard of at the time.  The Cast, as usual, were great, but Mates of State absolutely killed it that night.  Ever since that night, I’ve happily followed the band, even as they’ve grown more popular.  To me, that’s what Emos has always been about, discovering new bands whilst catching a band you were really excited to see. More often than not, I left the venue more impressed by opening acts I’d never heard of, which is a true testament to the discerning taste of the venue operators, and the role of such venues in the Austin music scene.  – RayRay


3. Beirut/Voxtrot

The story begins with Ned and Lynda (my alter ego with a dear friend). We had ourselves a little week of rock. Broken Social Scene at Stubss. Colourmusic at Emos. We both had school and work, and were exhausted, but we couldn’t miss Beirut (post-Gulag Orkestrar) playing with local favorite.  Beirut was brilliant, as we expected, but three days in a row of rock shows and work had us exhausted.  As much as we wanted to leave Emos before Voxtrot, we knew we had to push through.  Lucky for us, our friend Kyle showed up with Sparks (the sacred precursor to Four Loko) in hand.  Furiously pounding drinks, we danced, we sang, we screamed at the top of our lungs.  Seems pretty silly looking back at it, but I know it was one of those special nights that are so rare.  Your surrounded by the people you’ve invested time with, by the music you’ve invested time with, and by the community you’ve invested your whole life with.  At Emos, on that night, it all came together–and I’ll never forget that.  – nathan.lankford


2. Smith Westerns/Yuck

Too many memories to really narrow it down, whether it be the ice in the piss trough, hanging in line with Bill Murray during SXSW, countless day parties, meeting my fine friends at ATH, watching Chaz step out from behind his laptop when Toro y Moi opened for Caribou. But, the most recent memory I’ve enjoyed was Yuck and Smith Westerns.  The show was packed, the doors opened and the place was full.  Even for a Monday, when you can usually hang with the bartender or pick your own spot in front of the stage.  Not so on this night. It was sardine packed. I had to squeeze my way up to the stage to get pictures. Every blog in town was there to document the pre-SXSW uber-hyped double bill. Remaining door tickets were gone in minutes. Yuck killed it. I bought the CD weeks before their release, and still jam to it. It was the blogosphere show of the year. And my favorite in recent times.   – brian.gray


1. Explosions in the Sky/Octopus Project

My first and favorite experience was when I first moved to Austin at the ripe young of age of 19.  I started working at the college radio station, and my friend and I scored tickets to Explosions in the Sky, my new favorite band.  I had been mesmerized by their work, and was so anxious to go see them live.  Some band called the Octopus Project, who I hadn’t heard of at the time, was opening the show. My friend was 21, but the large Xs on my hand kept me from leaving the venue to get a bite to eat. Octopus Project blew me away, and I immediately started crushing on the drummer. Halfway through Explosions I started to feel light-headed from lack of food, you know, low blood sugar and all. My friend grabbed me and pulled me from the front of the stage and forced our way to the back.  I could vaguely hear people saying “Oh Shit, that girl is plastered,” as we made our way back out of the crowd. I remember yelling, “I’m 19, I wasn’t drinking;” I was so embarrassed. Throughout it all, I was hooked. The venue was dark and dirty, smelled kind of bad, and it was so loud. I loved it. – Mair.Heard


Clearly, Emos has meant something to all of us here at ATH, and we’re sad to see the original spot go vacant, but Emo’s East will keep the spirit alive.  Feel free to drop a line and share your favorite Emos memory with us; I know you all have one.



  • I moved to Austin a couple of months before my birthday and had friends in a band called Far From Breaking. They ended up playing a show at Emo’s on my birthday. I had never been to Emo’s, but had heard the clubbed talked about many times, and was excited about going to my first show there. A week before the show, I was given the handbills for the show to start spreading the word. Handwritten at the bottom of the bills was “Happy 18th Birthday Sarah!” I was super stoked! The show was awesome, and in the middle of the set the band wished me a happy birthday. It was one of the best birthdays I have ever had, and I will always remember that when I think of Emo’s.

  • Brainiac with friends Travis and Anjuyl (I only went at Travis’ insistance, and it was an amazing show) a few months before Tim Taylor died.

    Dirty Three with friends Crankin and Yvonne (I remember leaning against the wall outside (the Lee Harvey Oswald mural) and noticing it was 1:30AM on a work night) Warren Ellis wore an AC/DC tshirt.

    Sleater-Kinney, again with Crankin and Yvonne, which was my favorite time seeing S-K, I remember being outnumbered by girls, which was so cool to see at a rock show.

    Fugazi…who never let me down.

    (The International) Noise Conspiracy where I finally got to see Refused hero Dennis.

    Broken Social scene during the day at Sxsw, 12 on the stage at one point, I drank Lone Star tall boys in the Texas sun.

    ergh…damn I miss that place…maybe more than living in Austin even.

  • Well I lived in San Marcos, but first show in Austin at 19. Great hearing everyone’s favorite times!

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