MySpace Emo Prom returns to 2007 emo nostalgia

A “prom” will celebrate the peak of the emo era, bringing 2007 to Gabe’s.


Lauren Barber, Arts Reporter

My Chemical Romance blared over headphones, plugged into a chunky CD player. Outfits consisted of black skinny jeans, a Hot Topic T-shirt, and smudged, heavy eyeliner. The year is 2007, and this is the peak of emo fashion and culture.

On Saturday, Myspace Emo Prom will return to Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington St. The Myspace Emo Prom is a night to step back in time to 2007, where such bands as Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, My Chemical Romance, and Paramore were running rampant at the top of music charts.

These artists, and similar artists, are the choice music of the night, and dressing up like one’s 2007-self is highly encouraged. People in Iowa City are getting ready to head back to the era of counterculture retail store Hot Topic, patiently planning their outfits and thinking of songs they hope to hear that night.

Iowa City resident Alex Kestrel has already come up with his outfit of choice for the night.

“I was thinking I would wear a black dress shirt, a tie, red skinny jeans, and way too much eyeliner,” Kestrel said.

The organization putting on the event, Taking Back Emo, describes itself as “a movement to bring you back to the Era of Teenage Angst.” The nostalgia of the early 2000s is a big draw for the event, with people wanting a way to revisit the culture from 11 years ago, when the first iPhone was announced, America was about to plunge into financial crisis after the housing bubble burst, and the final Harry Potter book had just been released.

Brian Rowe, a founding member of Taking Back Emo, is a member of the band that will perform at the event. For the last year, the group has traveled around Illinois and Iowa, putting on these shows.

“We did an event at Gabe’s in February that was a lot of fun, so we’re bringing it back,” he said. “It’s a night of Emo nostalgia performed by a live band playing all the favorites. People come in their best ‘scene’ outfits, either prom fashion or Hot Topic best, and then we start the moshing and dancing.”

The term “emo” began in the mid-’80s as a descriptor of a subset of rock music and eventually grew its own subculture in the late-1990s. This became increasingly popular in the mid-2000s, and with it came a slew of dark clothes, heavy makeup, and neon-bright hair.

“Emo would be music that was for kids who felt left out or not like everyone else and were drawn to lyrics and styles that were darker and emotional, as a way to have our own outlet and cathartic experience,” Rowe said. “I think that the same people want to feel that again, now that we’re older but still feeling the same way.”

Rowe also hosts a podcast called The Emo Social Club, which is dedicated to discussing topics particular to the emo scene.

MySpace Emo Prom is a time to reminisce the feelings and culture of the time. The songs that the band will perform are right in line with the songs that were at the top of the charts in 2007.

“We play a lot of My Chemical Romance, Panic at the Disco, and Fall Out Boy, which are always in high demand,” Rowe said. “We like playing anything that makes the crowd go wild.”

While there were many possibilities for different theme nights or past trends to celebrate, Rowe said he had a personal connection to why he wants to bring back emo nostalgia for a night.

“I and the whole band grew up in bands and loving the music, and we wanted to celebrate it and the nostalgia around it,” he said. “We also love that we can build a community around the music, which is one reason we keep coming back to some areas. We have new friends, and we’re so fortunate to have everyone in the room singing along with us.”

Amanda Kane will be one such friend in attendance for the second time, and she hopes to experience the same kind of nostalgia as she did the last time.

“It’s really cool because it’s almost as if it freezes a certain moment in time in the music scene, and you get to hear all of the songs you can’t typically hear anymore because the bands have either broken up or changed their sound,” she said. “I also like how you’re encouraged to dress up and everything, because it creates an entire atmosphere of what the music scene used to be like when I was younger. It’s a really nostalgic event.”

Nostalgia is also a draw for Branae Echt, who is ready to flash back to 2007.

“I was pretty into the MySpace scene, and I love any kind of theme party especially because you get to dress up,” Echt said. “I’m hoping everyone gets super dressed up as scene-queens and emo or goth. I’m sure there will be a lot of crowd sing-alongs. It will be really nostalgic.”

Tickets are available for $10, with doors at 9 p.m. and the prom starting at 10 p.m. The event is 19-plus.