On Friday night, I was treated to a night of youthful energy, served up by the contagiously vivacious punk quartet from Oakland, CA: Emily's Army. This group of kids--seriously, they're still in high school--lit up The Roxy in Los Angeles and outshined the bright, colored lights beneath which they performed.
Walking in to the dark venue, I was immediately struck with color and energy, despite it being only partially filled. I was also instantly aware of the age and vibe of the crowd: about 13-16 years old (mostly girls); dressed in pajamas or bright animal prints or Hot Topic brands; hair frizzy from straightenings and dyed with blue and green and red streaks; eyes heavily lined with an inky black. Despite the attempted "ruggedness" of their look and the almost adorable efforts at moshing, the girls were screaming through it all like ribboned Bettys at a Beatles concert.
Now, where most of the time this crowd would annoy the life out of me, I found myself just as enthusiastic as Emily's Army's army of scene girls. I almost envied their blissfully ignorant devotion and pure adoration, and I found myself quickly (and somewhat creepily) falling in love with the four spitfires on stage.
Beyond the surrounding fans, I managed to focus on the group and their musical abilities. The group, made up of brothers Cole and Max Becker, Travis Neumann, and Joey Armstrong rocked. They could play the hell out of their instruments, and are very creative as shown in their songs and song structures. They were loud, fast, and confident; had catchy melodies and riffs and an effortless cohesion. This resulted in a maturity of sound and performance, which was unbelievable--almost hilarious--to see coming from four hairless baby faces who's first full length is titled Don't Be A Dick.
Overall, this was one of the more fun concerts I have attended in some time. Emily's Army not only plays a killer show, driven by upbeat and carefree yet technical and well-practiced punk rock, they make you feel young again in the best possible way. I laughed and danced and headbanged and woo-ed. I left inspired, blissfully unaware of papers due or bills to be paid, into the cool night hanging above a world run by vibrant youth.
All photos (c) Clair Gallagher