By Tania Zapien
When I found out pop/punk veterans, New Found Glory was bringing their From the Screen to Your Stereo to Your Town tour to Emo’s in Austin on Tuesday night, I couldn’t resist. As a teenager, I was into pop/punk the way some people were into Justin Bieber. My favorite nights consisted of loudly blasting bands such as All Time Low (who got their name from New Found Glory song “Head on Collision”) in my room or going out to dingy venues with my friends to see these bands play live. Over the years I had lost touch with the genre so I didn’t recognize any of the opening acts on the ticket. Still, I decided to take advantage of the packed line-up and arrived early to see what I’ve been missing out on.
Out of the opening acts, my favorite by far was Doll Skin. From the get-go, this all-female punk band proved that the pop/punk scene is alive and well. Fiercely led by singer and guitarist Sydney Dolezal, the Arizona natives shut down every critic that could have been in that crowd in the first 30 seconds of their set. Lead guitars, Alex Snowden absolutely shredded with spacey solos, while bassist Nicole Rich danced her way through intricate bass lines, on top of Meghan Herring’s head-banging drum fills. Vocally, Dolezal was mesmerizing. Capable of hitting the high notes with power and ease, Dolezal rightfully earns her place among the legends of the genre like Juliet Simms and Hayley Williams. With rebellious lyrics and songs addressing political and social issues, Doll Skin is the female angst-filled band the genre needed.
To a cover of Eye of the Tiger, New Found Glory took the stage, warmly received by their fans. The audience roared as the stage lit up revealing an elaborate set design of a movie theater marquee along with a popcorn machine and the words “tickets” and “popcorn” in lights. Within seconds, multiple crowd surfers made their way to the front of the pit, hoping to get a head nod of approval from their idols. As the name of the tour hints, the set list highlighted some of the crowd favorites from their From Your Screen to Your Stereo album, which consists of covers from popular movies, all with a pop/punk twist of course. Some of the songs included Let It Go from Frozen and This is Me from the Greatest Showman, featuring frontman, Jordan Pundik in full Elsa and P.T Barnum costumes.
What made this show special for me and the hundreds in attendance was the sense of community that continues to drive the emo genre forward. Lead guitarist, Chad Gilbert shared how crazy it is that they are able to keep releasing music and playing shows 21 years after starting the band. With awe, Gilbert pointed out all the kids in the audience. “Thank you all for being here, thanks for bringing your kids with you!” Gilbert said, acknowledging a nine-year-old girl sitting on her father’s shoulders, who we found out was celebrating her birthday. Its moments like these that remind you how special this genre is to the people that grew up with it. The show closed out with a handful of throwbacks such as “Hit or Miss”, “The Story So Far” and ending with the classic, “My Friends Over You”, leaving the crowd begging for more.
Tuesday night was very special and just what everyone’s emo hearts needed. In conclusion, this show gave me a new found love, admiration and restored my faith in the future of pop/punk. Is your inner emo kid feeling nostalgic? Then make sure to check out DJ Nat’s show, It’s Not A Phase, Mom! live on-air every Wednesday from 6 – 8 p.m. for all of your favorites! Pop/Punk’s not dead!
Featured image by Tania Zapien.