Jealous? Well, you should be.
Emarosa has been teasing us with their sixth studio album, Peach Club for months, and it finally dropped last Friday, February 8. To celebrate, they hit the road for just four exclusive “album release” shows, one of which was hosted in Dallas on February 5. The show was at Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum, a neighborhood near downtown Dallas known for its killer live music scene.
Emarosa’s new sound has been a point of contention for many. When it became clear to me they were truly leaving their post-hardcore days in the past, I mourned–for about two seconds. This transition has been a long time coming, arguably since vocalist Bradley Walden first joined the group and they released Versus. But Peach Club promises to be the height of Emarosa’s new era. Tons of musicians struggle to withstand the test of time, but Emarosa is proving that it’s totally possible to keep things fresh and roll with the punches. I can’t think of another group that has been able to continuously evolve the way they have, especially when you consider the amount of personnel changes they’ve had over the years.
Prophet Bar was filled to capacity on this night for the release party, a rare occurrence for the intimate dive bar. Fans of the emo/post-hardcore Emarosa who haven’t been put off by their new vibe were certainly in attendance, which was nice to see. The lineup was stacked with four up-and-coming local bands, something that undoubtedly prompted the majority of fans to show up late. But those who did missed out.
Pop-punk outfit Offended by Everything got things started with a fun, high-energy set. They have a raw, underground vibe that reminded me of early New Found Glory or Mayday Parade in the best way possible. Vocalist Zak Howe and his bandmates definitely took advantage of the entire (albeit tiny) stage and were able to successfully warm up the crowd.
Next up was post-emo foursome, Golden Week, the highlight of the supporting acts for me. Despite being one of the newer groups to perform that night, they were perhaps one of the most polished. Their debut EP Familiar Ceilings was released early last year, and I suggest you drop whatever you’re doing and go check it out. I still can’t get “Attachment Behavior” out of my head.
Life After Youth took the stage after a set change that lasted longer than the previous two combined. The self-described “grunge-rock boy band” put on a fun show and gave off some serious ‘80s vibes. The bass was overpowering at times, though and tended to muddy their sound. Their newest single “2” was released just last week, but I also recommend giving “Boring” a listen.
I spotted several audience members sporting Sunsleep merch and after their performance, I could see why. The five-piece indie/alt-rockers put on a super engaging set, dominated by tracks off their first and only full-length release, I Hope to See Again with Brand New Eyes. Perhaps the most moving was “Haze,” which they dedicated to a friend who recently took his own life.
Frontman Bradley Walden made a delayed entrance, sporting his signature bandanna and a black fringe jacket, channeling the band’s newfound ‘80s pop energy. Our headliners opened strong with “Givin’ Up,” and the crowd was all about it. Emarosa followed that up with “One Car Garage,” a deeper cut from 131, which seemed to catch fans slightly off-guard. The lag was momentary, however, as the remainder of the set was filled with heavy-hitters like “Cloud 9,” “Helpless” and “Miracle,” plus all the singles from Peach Club, and a personal favorite, “People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play” from Versus. I really appreciate that Emarosa’s alt-rock vibe still comes through, despite the fact that they’re shifting towards a more accessible, radio-friendly sound.
One complaint: Despite performing in a dive bar that couldn’t possibly accommodate more than 150 people, Emarosa did little to engage us. There was no playful banter between songs, no cute anecdotes and in fact, very little talking at all. Sometimes that’s preferable, but for a show like this, I expected them to take the opportunity to connect with fans and hype us up for Peach Club even more. Walden did allow one of his bandmates to jump on his back at one point so he could walk out into the crowd for 30 seconds. Although watching grown men piggy-backing is always fun, they did this same bit when I saw them a few months ago on tour with Hands Like Houses…
The guys eventually did the age-old “this-show-is-over-even-though-we-haven’t-played-your-favorite-song-yet” thing before returning to the stage to play “XO,” a ballad from Peach Club that we hadn’t heard before this night, followed by “Sure,” to end the show on a high note. Walden left us with this proclamation: “Welcome to the Club, Dallas.”
Why thank you, Bradley. We’re stoked to be part of the club.