Philly's Algernon Cadwallader recently kicked off their first tour in ten years and brought their emo revival sound to Brooklyn for a night of epic nostalgia.
There's always been a thin line between pop-punk and emo. Hardcore fans of the later will tell you that emo has more in common with math and post-rock than it does with punk and it's long been a divide between elitists and those who've donned eye liner and neon pink highlights. Algernon Cadwallader, a band whose initial run was only from 2005 - 2012 and one who were categorized as "mid-west emo" despite being from Pennsylvania, hit hard on the emo revival phase that struck the end of the aughts as more people craved the groove and melody obsessed sound that matched high-pitched vocals and occasional screams with more complexities than some of the bands that went on to play the bigger stages at the Van's Warped Tour. Their nostalgic and memory-laced sound became pivotal to those who longed for the genre's original vibes and they became figureheads to those who missed out on the late '90s and early 2000s. The almost cinematic nature of their guitar tones matched with the visceral vocals made their sound honest and expressive, a true beacon in a crowded scene that seemed to have forgotten its roots in favor of newfound festivals and cashed-in remembrance. As the band took to the stage, it was clear that everyone in the room had gathered to not just re-live the past, but pay tribute to a band who paid proper tribute and found a way to make their songs hallmarks to a now distant past. Immediately kicking in with their twinkling guitar, the guttural screams of Peter Helmis sparked emotions that would remain at the root of the show from that moment forward, giving the crowd ample material to scream along to and ensuring that no energy was wasted. Despite their brief original existence, the band developed quite a devoted following and it was clear tonight that those who had been waiting patiently for the past decade to see these heroes live made sure not to waste a single second as the pit formed from the moment the opening chords rang out and crowd surfers relished in the enthusiasm until the final notes came to a conclusion. With two drummers in tow, and dueling guitars fronting the stage, anything was on the table and the excitement from the band onstage was enough to affirm that they were equally as thrilled to be brining these songs back to life as those tearing it up in the pit. Drawing from both albums as well as some deep cuts, the band knew how to make the most of the moment and the fans confirmed that the wait was well worth it. Even with reunion shows being a dime a dozen these days, there was something special in the air at the Monarch and seeing a sold-out crowd thoroughly enjoy themselves in such a jovial and communal setting felt special. Emo may be a genre that takes a lot of heat, but witnessing a great band pull off this sound can also be one of the most rewarding live experiences. Algernon knows what they're capable of and are playing with the conviction of being one of the best to represent the scene. Ten years on from their last show and there's no doubt that they deserve the hype.