Morgan Freed and TJ Petracca are not DJs, musicians or producers. They’re the engineers of the party known as Emo Nite, a cultural phenomenon that Las Vegas is suddenly very familiar with.
Not being a DJ duo didn’t stop Emo Nite from landing a residency at Resorts World’s Zouk Nightclub this year, launched at last month’s emo and pop-punk music festival When We Were Young on the Las Strip. Vegas.
“There were hundreds of thousands of emo kids in Las Vegas,” Petracca says. “The festival was canceled on Saturday [due to high winds], and so many people were disappointed, including ourselves, but that kind of made it even more special for us on Saturday. We were able to bring in a few extra special guests to play during our set, and we got a lot of feedback from people saying, “You saved us the weekend,” which was really nice to hear.
Known for regularly incorporating a wide range of artists as guests at their parties, Emo Nite has brought together Boys Like Girls singer Martin Johnson, State Champs singer Derek DiScanio, Neck Deep singer Ben Barlow and the duo electronic 3OH3! for the beginnings of Zouk.
Freed and Petracca founded Emo Nite eight years ago as part of a party at a small dive bar in Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood, a celebration of the often maligned rock genres they never stopped loving. It wasn’t designed or intended to evolve into a big Vegas nightclub, but the guys never imagined they’d be playing Coachella either. Welcome to 2022.
“TJ and I started doing Emo Nite because we wanted to give space to people who didn’t fit in. It’s not a normal nightclub. You don’t hear that stuff in the clubs,” Freed says. “We didn’t know we’d grow up to be entertainers, but that’s kind of what we are. Whether you know Emo Nite or not, you’re going to have a great time.
The Coachella set actually paved the way for the Vegas residency; attentive curators from the Zouk Group attended the show and began to imagine how the enhanced experience would play out in Resorts World’s high-tech environment.
Petracca says this stage of Emo Nite is all about evolution: “How do you take those anthems that everyone comes to sing along to and combine them with house music, EDM, the club hits that everyone comes to everyone wants to dance? We had to create a whole new product here [at Zouk].
“When we got the residency, we had to double the amount of music we created for Coachella, work on a whole bunch of new mixes and mashups, and create new visuals to go along with it all,” he continues. “It’s a unique thing for us, and I don’t think it’s like anything else Zouk has on the roster.”
Emo Nite is actually unlike anything in any Las Vegas nightclub, given the inbuilt culture of its core genres. And with at least half a dozen dates coming up next year at Zouk and Ayu Dayclub – and When We Were Young returning to the Las Vegas Festival Grounds in October 2023 – there’s clearly plenty more room for emo. on the Strip.
“I think when the world went through a lot of big changes, people were more willing to feel more emotions, and maybe they would go back and listen to how they felt when they were growing up,” Freed says. . “We hate the word ‘resurgence,’ because it never went away for us, but in the mainstream there’s been a bit of a resurgence, because people have been through all of these things that these songs are about. “
EMO NITE November 23, 10 p.m., $25+. Zouk Nightclub, zoukgrouplv.com.
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