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Iconic Emo's celebrates 20th birthday with generation-spanning anniversary shows

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Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin Ryan_Emo's East_August 2011_exterior
Photo by Jessica Pages
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin Ryan_Emo's East_August 2011_exterior
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin Ryan_Emo's East_August 2011_old emos exterior
Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin_Emos 20th_sep 2012_flyer

Emo's has made major strides or ruffled major feathers this past year, depending on which way you may look at it. With the closure of the iconic, beer sodden Emo's on Red River came the opening of a big, glossy Emo's East on Riverside.

No matter its location or outward appearance, the club has stood the test of time — 20 years, to be exact. In light of that ripe old age, the team's booked an epic celebration with a variety of anniversary shows in late September. 

Emo's 20th will be marked by performances from Neon Indian (9/15), Hot Water Music (9/22), Guided by Voices (9/25), Atmosphere (9/26) and Kreator & Accept (9/30).

With acts ranging from pretty-boy-indie to a metal mash-up, we asked Ross Bennett of Emo's what kind of thought went behind the bookings for the ever-important occasion.

 "The history of Emo's and what we represent is so long, it made choosing bands really easy and difficult at the same time." - Ross Bennett

"Each of the bands playing the Emo's Anniversary represent what we are about and what we have become," Bennett says. "All of these bands have played with us before; some five years ago, some 15 years ago. The history of Emo's and what we represent is so long, it made choosing bands really easy and difficult at the same time."

If you look at the history of Emo's Anniversaries, you'll see they've always included fan and staff favorites: Gwar 1999, Turbonegro in 2003, Scratch Acid in 2006, The Riverboat Gamblers 2007, Balmorhea in 2008. "This is true this year with Guided by Voices, Hot Water Music and Atmosphere," says Ross.

"We've also always been a club that wants fans to have an experience to remember," he continues. "I'm confident that people coming to Neon Indian, for example, will get the best experience they've had with the band," he says in reference to the sophisticated sound engineering that went into Emo's East.

So there you have it. Emo's hopes it's built an agenda that's got something for the hip, underage babies, something for middle-aged dudes who want to relive 1982, as well as something for, well, quite a few markets in between (this is a business, after all).

"We're all about fun, and I think this calendar of shows will give all of our past and present supporters a chance to come hang and celebrate with us."

And what will the club look forward to as it blows out its 20 candles? Nothing specific, really: "The future of Emo's is not set," Ross says. "We will keep evolving."

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