Over the past 20 years, “emo” has come to mean anything vaguely pop punk, emotional, or 2000s Hot Topic-esque, but there was a time before that 2000s mainstream explosion when the term was a much more rigid and specific genre denotation. Initially springing out of the DC hardcore and post-hardcore scene of the ’80s, and infused with alt, indie, and pop punk of the ’90s, as well as the jangly, resonant style of the midwest, the original emo scene came well before the eyeliner and skinny jeans that would become synonymous with groups like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance (though those bands are certainly indebted to it), and instead was much more underground, introspective, and raw. Among that stellar crop of ’90s emo innovators- The Get Up Kids, The Promise Ring, Braid, Mineral, even the early days of Jimmy Eat World- none are perhaps more significant, influential, or beloved as Settle’s Sunny Day Real Estate, whose 1994 debut, Diary, endures as not just one of the best and most important emo record of all times, but one of the best albums ever made, period.
After a stellar eponymous second album, the group prematurely split in 1995, with frontman Jeremy Enigk going on to pursue a solo career which has continued to this day, and drummer William Goldsmith and founding bassist Nate Mendel going on to notably join the Foo Fighters (Mendel has remained in the band since, and isn’t back for this SDRE reunion as a result). They would reform just two years later, however, going on to release two more emo scene classics- 1998’s How It Feels to Be Something On and 2000’s The Rising Tide– before splitting once more in 2001, just before the genre really exploded into the mainstream. After years of other projects, and rumors of a possible return as their legacy grew and their influence became apparent on a new generation of artists, Sunny Day reformed again in 2009, going on to tour extensively and to work on a fifth album which ultimately never materialized, before entering hiatus once more in 2014.
In early 2022, rumors of a fourth reunion began to swirl, which was confirmed with an extensive U.S. tour late last year, expanded to another run for 2023, which brings the band to Nashville tonight, Oct. 20, for a performance at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville with Florida emo and math rock outfit Pool Kids! Though SDRE very likely played Music City in the ’90s, we can’t find any concrete documentation of prior performances, so if not the first ever, this is certainly their first time here in more than 20 years. With a lineup of Enigk, Goldsmith, founding guitarist Dan Hoerner, guitarist Greg Suran (who was briefly in the band from 2000-2001, and returns for the first time since), and new bassist Chris Jordan, this is a rare chance to see one of the most important and legendary emo groups of all time- one who, if history is any indicator- might not be back for long, so whether you’re diehard a fan of this type of music, or a newcomer to this incredible band, we urge you to snag tickets here while you can!
Sunny Day Real Estate and Pool Kids will perform tonight, Oct. 20 at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.), and tickets are available for $52.35.