The song “Dear Maria Count Me In” by All Time Low was released over 13 years ago. Just a few months ago, the song, a pop-punk staple, became a new sensation on social media app TikTok after a guy wearing a Vans beanie filmed himself rocking to the song. and proclaim, “Mom, it was never a phase. It’s a lifestyle.
It has gained momentum. His video gained a few million views and others filmed their own versions. Even the lead singer of All Time Low made one.
And that line – “Mom, it was never a phase. It’s a lifestyle. – has become a kind of rallying cry for emo music fans who have never given up on their love of emo music.
This particular viral moment came as no big surprise to Marcus Leonardo, who saw how dedicated fans of emo music can be. And how many are there. He exploited this by launching the Emo Night Tour in 2015.
It all started with a party with friends in a bar. A deejay performed a set of pop-punk songs that were popular when Leonardo, 34, was in high school. There were songs from Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday and The Get Up Kids, among other bands.
“We just wanted to get together, remember our favorite songs and shows and have a drink,” Leonardo said. “Suddenly 500 people wanted to enter a bar that could only accommodate 200 people. So I thought, I guess that’s something people would want more of. “
This led Leonardo to take the show on the road. The musician has formed a team of DJs and built followers in cities across the country.
This includes Colorado Springs, where the tour typically stops every two months. And it often sells. The Emo Night Tour returns to The Black Sheep on Friday and Saturday.
The show is more than someone shuffling a Spotify playlist. A deejay chooses what to play from a list of thousands of songs and fuels the setting with the energy of the crowd.
In photos from previous Emo Nights, you see tons of puffy faces singing, people raising their hands high or jumping on stage or surfing in crowds as a light show dances across the room.
“With that, you’re not just going to a show,” he said. “You are part of it.”
Nostalgia for the songs of Fall Out Boy or Panic at the Disco brings many people to The Emo Night Tour. There is also, says Leonardo, a sense of community.
“Everyone feels welcome,” he said. “When you go to one, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like. You experience it as reflected energy. And it’s contagious.
This is because most people, even if they are foreigners, passionately sing the same songs together. And they feel an intense attachment to these songs.
“Whether it’s a heartbreak song or whatever, just knowing that someone else has been through it feels good,” Leonardo said. “It’s cathartic to sing that.”
When Leonardo entered punk music in high school, he says he never imagined his love for it would go beyond high school, let alone turn into a career. But this music had a lasting impression on him and, based on the popularity of The Emo Night Tour, many more.
“He grew up beyond all of our wildest dreams,” he says. “It still shocks me. But it also makes sense.
It makes sense when you look at this TikTok trend. In his prime, Leonardo said 13-year-olds contacted his team complaining that they couldn’t attend an Emo party because the shows were typically 21 and over.
“It’s like these songs are much older than you,” Leonardo said.
For him, this is a sign that The Emo Night Tour has a bright future. This includes returning from the tour after being sidelined for 15 months during the pandemic.
“I know it’s going to be emotional to come back to it,” he said. “You know, emo.”