If you think about it having an orchestra backing your band is one of the most unique things rock and metal bands can do. KISS, Metallica, Aerosmith, and even acts like Katatonia have had orchestras backing them for unique shows that only enhance the music. So bringing an orchestra to some of emos / punks / and pop punks biggest hits is a sure fire no brainer. Thankfully Hawthorne Heights have brought together the Emo Orchestra and stopped by the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL for an elder emos fancy night out.
Set up more like an evening with than a normal show the Emo Orchestra took the stage before Hawthorne Heights came out and broke out into their hit single Niki Fm to kick the evening off. From there frontman JT Woodruff addressed the crowd saying this was a night out for the older emos and that there were seats here with wine and beer and that you wanted to stay seated and sing along that was perfectly fine for this special evening. Fans were even treated to an intermission for a chance to get drinks or use the restroom.
The band then went through a roughly 2 hour set of 16 songs spanning the bands own career with some of emos greatest hits. Between every song JT would introduce the next song with a story relating to the band members or himself on how the songs had a personal connection to them, stories relating to the band themselves, or some other tale. It was interesting to hear all the stories even if stopping for 3-5+ minutes between every song did break up the pacing at points. To the sides of the orchestra were screens which at the end of each story would introduce the song being played before having a unique video play for each song.
The setlist itself though was a greatest hits set to end them all. With 4 Hawthorne Heights songs included they rounded out the other 12 singles to include the likes of Fall Out Boy, Death Cab For Cutie, AFI, Paramore, Story Of The Year, Jimmy Eat World, My Chemical Romance, and more. All songs were slightly altered to include the full orchestra which only added to the songs. I hope by the end of tour they put out a live album from this tour just because the orchestra added so much to these already legendary songs.
Emo Orchestra was a show I was questioning somewhat going into honestly. Just wondering how they would be able to incorporate the orchestra into these songs and do a theatre show from it. What I got though is by far one of the best shows I’ve seen all year and something that I hope turns into a yearly tour with a different emo band. If this comes anywhere near you it is a must see.