When Kyle Campbell organized his first “emo night” in early 2016, he envisioned an event to bring together the region’s community of emo music fans.
“It was basically just a bunch of buddies and me hanging out, and we were talking about emo night in, like, L.A. and all of that,” Campbell said. “I wanted to do something similar to that, but you can’t really call it ’emo night’ now because it’s actually coined by the Emo Nite guys.”
The well-known group that began organizing emo music nights in L.A. several years ago actually spells its name Emo Nite, but Campbell thought better of copying it and dubbed his event “Drink-182.”
“It just started out as something small, and Drink-182 sounds catchy,” he said. “It sounds fun. And everyone knows who Blink-182 is.”
Not everyone will agree that Blink-182 is an emo band, but the music Campbell brings to Drink-182 delves deep enough into the genre to please fans of all sorts.
“I’ll throw in some Sunny Day Real Estate,” Campbell said. “I’ll put on some Get Up Kids, but, you know, you also need some Fall Out Boy.”
For Campbell, it’s important to appeal to emo fans of different generations.
“It gets kind of hard sometimes because there’s not a lot of market for those bands,” Campbell said. “It’s a very tight niche, the people who know who Get Up Kids are. That’s kind of the point, though. I’m trying to market to each demographic, and emo music goes back decades.”
Campbell doesn’t just spin records on Drink-182 nights. The event also features live music from local and regional emo bands performing a mix of covers and originals.
“Every time I do it, I always try to bring in one of the new local bands,” he said. “There’s always someone popping up in the scene. I used to be in that scene in a band—so I’m still kind of connected to it.”
Campbell’s former band, Newbound, actually played the first Drink-182 night.
“We played the very, very first one—and the next day we broke up,” he said.
Campbell said the breakup served as catalyst for him to make the event a recurring one.
“That’s what inspired me to do it,” he said. “I wanted to stay connected to the scene somehow.”
For the last three years, Drink-182 has happened about once every six weeks. It’s been held at several different bars in town, including 1up, Monolith Bar and Headquarters—the latter two now shuttered.
“It’s like every time I do it, it ends up being at a bigger place, which means more opportunity to book bigger bands,” Campbell said.
He’s booked three bands for the next Drink-182 event, which is scheduled to happen at the BlueBird, 555 E. Fourth St., on Jan. 25, featuring Sacramento bands the Seafloor Cinema and Hi, Mom! They’ll be joined by Reno band All Hype, No Heart—and all three bands will play a mix of originals and covers. If things go well in the new, larger space, Campbell said he may wrangle a local band into doing a Drink-182 live band karaoke event. It’s something he did once before with backing from the Reno outfit Mourning Eyes—and, according to Campbell, it’s a good time for even the shyest emo fans.
“Even if you forget, like, two verses, the guys from the band are going to sing with you, and the crowd is going to sing with you,” he said. “It’s just one loved time, and everyone is together. It’s great. It’s why I love this music.”