sunny day real estate reunion tour
  • MONDAY, AUGUST 03, 2009

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The first time I heard the distorted guitar chords and understated Jeremy Enigk half-spoken, half-sung vocals of "In Circles," I knew nothing about the emo genre, but I swear I felt shivers. Sure, I had heard the term tossed around in relation to tear-stained pretty boys Dashboard Confessional or Long Island mic-swingers Taking Back Sunday, but this was different, this was anti-showmanship, this was highly pressurized and poised to explode at any second, this was visceral, this was...Sunny Day Real Estate.

Emo has always been an easy target to pick on. We've heard it all before: the bands are whiny, the fans are gluttons for self-pity, etc. But this isn't the emo you think of when you're assaulted by the inane pandering of post-2002 Pete Wentz and Gerard Way. Emo started out as emotive hardcore, when bands such as Minor Threat, Rites of Spring, and eventually Fugazi opted to add a human side to the "drink yourself retarded and punch someone in the face" mindless violence of the 80s DC hardcore scene, without sacrificing any of the passion or energy. Blake Schwarzenbach's Jawbreaker (and eventually Jets to Brazil) took a traditional dark punk aesthetic and added depth with complex arrangements and strikingly poetic lyrics. (Schwarzenbach now teaches English at a CUNY.) The emo music of the early nineties was just that - emotional. It grabbed at the core of whatever made you want to run and flail, fight and break things, jump out of your imperfect brain and inadequate skin. It wasn't afraid to scream all the pain and elation that made you so perplexingly, so inimitably human.

Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary, released in 1994 under Sub Pop Records was a near-perfect embodiment of everything that made emo music great. From Seattle, they used the "soft verse, loud chorus" pattern of the grunge scene, but it was completely heartfelt, unleashed and unbridled. "Seven" could have passed as a conventional rock song, but "Song About an Angel" seeped under the tightly locked doors of your dissatisfied subconscious, and by the time you got to the near-feral (yet remarkably coherent) gut-wrenching moments of "Shadows" and "48," Diary had you completely at its mercy. The album is a classic, one of those singular moments in music history where genius strikes and everything comes together in some magic way. The band followed it up with LP2 two years later, and then broke up. Bands fall apart.

Happily, miracles do happen. This fall, Sunny Day Real Estate are reuniting for a brief tour, and accompanying it with reissues of Diary and LP2. (To fully understand the impact of this, imagine the equivalent of a Pavement reunion, for emo kids.) Grab the reissues for the bonus tracks, but do yourself a favor and don't miss your local show date, experience the music the way it was meant to be experienced. But, as indie darling Stuart Murdoch once sang, "part of the deal is for you to feel something." Expect nothing mumbled, nothing apathetic, no half-enthused head bobbing and posturing for cameras. Just raw emotion, and the chance to relive a unique moment in history that's relevant not only for fans of the emo genre, but for anyone who relishes being moved by an amazing piece of music. - Nina Mashurova

Sunny Day Real Estate on Tour


9/17 - Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver, Canada
9/18 - Crystal Ballroom - Portland, OR
9/20 - Murray Theatre - Salt Lake City, UT
9/21 - Ogden Theatre - Denver, CO
9/23 - First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN
9/24 - Metro - Chicago, IL
9/25 - St. Andrews Hall - Detroit, MI
9/27 - Terminal 5 - New York, NY
9/28 - House of Blues - Boston, MA
9/30 - 9:30 Club - Washington, D.C.
10/1 - Trocadero - Philadelphia, PA
10/3 - CW Center Stage - Atlanta, GA
10/5 - Granada Theater - Dallas, TX
10/6 - Warehouse Live - Houston, TX
10/7 - La Zona Rosa - Austin, TX
10/9 - Marquee - Tempe, AZ
10/10 - House of Blues - Anaheim, CA
10/11 - Fonda Theater - Los Angeles, CA
10/13 - Fillmore - San Franciscom, CA
10/15 - Knitting Factory - Spokane, WA
10/16 - Paramount Theater - Seattle, WA

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Sunny Day Real Estate on Myspace

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