RALT’s annual Emo Nite takes center stage at two iconic venues

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The newly formed band Exit 82 are first to perform as RALT's annual Emo Nite. - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Al Harmon.

This past weekend, on Dec. 1, the Rowan Alternative Music Club (RALT) once again brought the local music scene to life with their highly anticipated annual Emo Nite. However, what set this year apart from its predecessors was the ingenious decision by RALT’s president, Sammi Kantor, and vice president, Max Adams, to host the event at two distinct concert venues — The Matte House and Tune Lagoon.

According to Kantor, the decision to split the event between two venues was driven by a desire to showcase more bands and provide a broader platform for people to experience what she affectionately refers to as a “national holiday” for alternative music enthusiasts.

“It’s like Christmas for the music scene and Glassboro it’s just a night where like, everyone is part of the music scene and gets together to listen to like, their favorite emo bands,” said Kantor. “And it’s a cool time and it’s nice because everyone can meet each other and make friends listening to good music.”

Tune Lagoon, a venue owned and operated by Kantor and her roommates, saw performances from eight bands, each delivering their unique take on beloved emo classics. The lineup featured a mix of established local acts and newcomers to the scene, creating an eclectic and dynamic atmosphere that resonated with the diverse tastes of the audience.

Opening the Tune Lagoon segment was Exit 82, making their debut in the local music scene with a captivating cover of “Mom Jeans.” Despite being their first-ever show, Exit 82 exhibited remarkable talent, setting a high standard for the evening. The raw energy and passion they brought to the stage were palpable, leaving the audience eagerly anticipating their future performances.

“Our band only had 8 days to learn and practice all the songs so it was a hell of a week. There were a lot of late nights at Wilson Music Hall and a lot of stress. At our first rehearsal, we didn’t sound great but progressively, over the next couple of days we got better and better and it was amazing to see the magic happen when we all played together,” said Daniel Prokoshin, the band’s guitarist. “Performing was one of the most exciting and memorable things I’ve ever done and I look forward to doing it again and again. I liked the lights at the venue and the overall atmosphere. Everyone’s outfits were so cool and people immersed themself in the emo style.”

Velvet Pyre followed suit, unveiling their rendition of “My Chemical Romance” as their inaugural live performance. The band’s synergy and chemistry were evident, creating a sonic experience that resonated with both seasoned Emo Nite attendees and those new to the scene. It was a testament to the thriving creativity within the local music community.

WWTN took the stage next, offering a stellar cover of “Panic At The Disco,” with Madison Ranieri’s incredible vocals leaving an indelible mark on the audience. The band’s ability to capture the essence of the original while infusing their unique style showcased the depth of talent present in the alternative music scene.

“Emo Nite was one of the most important nights to me. It was my first time performing on stage with a band and I was lucky enough to have been able to do it at Tune Lagoon that night,” said Madison Ranieri. “The crowd’s energy was unstoppable and every band that played was incredible. Listening to some of my favorite people perform emo covers like Pierce the Veil, Title Fight, and My Chemical Romance was one of the coolest things I’ve experienced. Cannot wait for the next show.”

The night unfolded with gripping performances from Kiaura Rose (“Flyleaf”), Blush (“Paramore”), Shark Earrings (“Remo Drive”), Loud and Clear (“Title Fight”), and finally, Valendina, whose cover of “Pierce the Veil” stole the show. Valendina’s set was a mesmerizing blend of skillful musicianship and heartfelt interpretation, solidifying their place as one of the standout acts of the evening.

Simultaneously, The Matte House hosted another roster of outstanding bands, creating a parallel musical journey that added another layer of richness to the overall Emo Nite experience. From Foxbody’s rendition of “Joyce Manor” to Spud Mack’s iconic cover of “Linkin Park,” the atmosphere at The Matte House was equally electric.

Luna, a newcomer to the local music scene, delivered a standout performance with their interpretation of Paramore’s hits. Lead vocalist Madeline Reddy’s impressive channeling of Hayley Williams brought a fresh perspective to well-loved classics, capturing the attention, and admiration of the crowd. Luna’s performance was a testament to the unbridled creativity flourishing within the local music scene.

The evening continued with The Early December (“The Early November”), Memory Core (“Title Fight”), and culminated in the unforgettable Wall Carpets, who brought the house down with their rendition of “La Dispute” and a surprise addition of friends Anthony Bizzari on guitar and Noah as a vocalist. The collaborative energy on stage added an extra layer of excitement, further emphasizing the sense of community that Emo Nite fosters.

As the curtains closed on the 2023 annual Emo Nite, it became evident that RALT’s decision to host the event across two venues was a resounding success. The dual concerts allowed for a diverse range of bands to captivate audiences, turning the night into a celebration of alternative music in all its forms. Each venue also capped in attendees way before the first band even went on.

In the end, whether at Tune Lagoon or The Matte House, the spirit of Emo Nite prevailed, uniting music lovers and artists alike. RALT once again demonstrated its commitment to fostering a vibrant local music community, leaving attendees eagerly anticipating next year’s edition of this cherished “national holiday.” 

Emo Nite will be back again next school year but RALT’s e-board will look a lot different. Kantor hopes that after she graduates whoever takes her position as president can learn from this year’s successful event.

“I want to continue to grow it safely but also make sure that you’re bringing up new bands and new talent,” said Kantor, “We’re looking for good music to come up, and we want good people to come up as well. You know, bring good people together, make good music.”

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