It hit me when looking at what shows were happening this summer. First, it was Brand New announcing their tour, with a Pittsburgh date on July 10. Then the pieces starting falling into place, creating a week of concerts that would be "sad" and "emotional".
With that, Pittsburgh Emo Week was born, a term and hashtag that I coined. The week of July 6 through July 12 was a high point of emo shows in Pittsburgh. Let's take a look back at who was the saddest, who was the best and what surprised during the week.
Sunday (7/6): Say Anything w/ The Front Bottoms, The So So Glos, You Blew It! @ Mr. Small's
Wednesday (7/9): Braid w/ Into It. Over It., Pity Sex and Signals Midwest @ Altar Bar
Thursday (7/10): Brand New w/ Man Man and Dinosaur Pile Up @ Stage AE
Friday (7/11): Pentimento / Have Mercy w/ gates @ Smiling Moose
Saturday (7/12): Owls w/ Hop Along, Glocca Morra, Run Forever @ Mr. Small's
Best show - Say Anything
Honorable mention - Braid
The combination of Say Anything, The Front Bottoms and You Blew It! was too much for any other show to overcome. Every band's set (minus The So So Glos) was great and kept the sold-out crowd at Mr. Small's enticed. The crowd, which bands have some but not complete control over, had a big part in deciding this category. The Braid show line up was nothing to scoff at, but the crowd at Mr. Small's was into every band, singing along if they knew the words. The crowd at Altar Bar for Braid, while a much smaller crowd, seemed apathetic toward the bands until Braid's set.
Best set - Braid
Honorable mention - Brand New
While this may come as a shock to some, I honestly feel that Braid's set was better than Brand New's. After releasing their new album No Coast, their first LP in 16 years, the day before their Pittsburgh date, the band was excited and energetic to try out new material, noting a few times throughout their set that it was their first time playing said song live. Braid's members, all in their late 30's, were jumping up and down and all around the stage during their set. They also rarely stopped (maybe three times) during their set, immediately going into the next song. Braid still has it and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Best new band - gates
Honorable mention - You Blew It!
The New Brunswick, N.J. outfit has a sound that is a combination of Moving Mountains, Caspian and Prawn, mixing elements of post rock and indie. If that's not enough to win you over, just watch their set when they come back through Pittsburgh. In my opinion, the band stole the show when they played The Smiling Moose with Pentimento and Have Mercy. Having toured with the likes of The Gaslight Anthem, the band is no joke. It is also on the same label as The Story So Far and Reggie and the Full Effect. Do not sleep on this band.
Best surprise - Max Bemis joined on stage by wife and daughter
In an absolutely heart warming display, the whole Bemis clan came together at center stage. During "Cemetery," in which Max's wife Sherri Dupree-Bemis is featured, she and one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Lucy came out so mommy could sing her verse, while daughter wore noise canceling head phones and tried playing with the mic, foreshadowing her future in the indie music world like mother Eisley and father Say Anything. Max sang his part to Lucy and the whole thing just couldn't have been cuter.