If new to Austin there is always the question asked, “How long have you been here?” Once answered it is followed by, “So you remember when blank was still blank?” Emo’s is a good gauge in how long you have lived here, and if you remember seeing a show when it still was on 6th St then you have bragging rights.

Emo’s moved after a brief closing in 2011. Known now as Emo’s East off of East Riverside, they improved on several major factors. And bigger is better.

The parking is more attainable at the new location, via a vast parking lot. The venue itself is on the large size both inside and out. There is a comfortable outside smoking area with a bar, overcrowded with people seeking a place to sit while they puff on their cigarettes before dashing in for the song they were waiting for.

Inside Emo’s is a barren space. The floor is open to music goers with the intention that they will fill it with life. There are three bars in order to imbibe the patrons, but price wise it tends to be on the more dollar signs end. They do not gouge you in the way that theaters tend to, but their markup can be felt on certain mixed drinks and beers.

The sound quality could be improved upon. Musical acts echo off the massive walls, with the majority of the concert goers pressed together into a blob close to the stage. It is a venue where the crowd stays stationary, refusing to sway even if the band demands it. The sound booth is smack dab in the middle of the venue; the space really is just floor, bar, person, person, more people, etc.

Emo’s has a heavy hand on the smoke machine. Each show I had been to felt like we were summoning the dead. Ghost mist surrounds as the portal to Hell opens up. Even as an ex chain-smoker I find my lungs regretting it. Skip the contacts; your eyes will need all the moisture it has to combat the evil smog.

Emo’s is meant for the big name shows. More for out of town indie bands with multiple records or their songs on industry lips. Acts in the past included Block Party, FKA Twiggs, and The Faint. In the upcoming months they booked Blues Traveler, Ani DiFranco, and The Polyphonic Spree. Not a lot of local shows anymore, but if you want a ticket for a bigger act under thirty dollars, Emo’s has the band booked.

Like most relocated businesses Emo’s lost some of its flavor once it moved. There is the complaint that Emo is not the same, but that is what time does. Time changes memory and feelings on venues and haunts by erasing the complaints of the past.

Emo’s is still a staple for your mainstream needs, at some point you will contemplate purchasing a ticket so you can knock that band off your must-see-before-you-or-they-die list. Just pregame beforehand and be prepared to fight off the other drunks looking to save their money for the merch booth.

A.J. Whitaker

A.J. Whitaker is from San Antonio who decided to make it big in Austin. Every day she curses the traffic and all the other people who had the same idea to move. When she is not passing judgment on businesses she is submitting fiction to literary journals. Follow her success and lack of it, on her personal blog www.smashlin.com.