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5th Wave Emo is… Glass Beach at the Rebel Lounge (+ An Interview With Arcadia Grey)

Show Lineup: Glass Beach, Arcadia Grey, Fleece Kawasaki

Genre(s): Emo, Indie Rock, Art Rock, Power Pop, Indietronica, Midwest Emo

Venue: The Rebel Lounge

Date: 4/18/24


A crowd of colorfully dressed individuals lined up and down the block at the Rebel Lounge last night as Fleece Kawasaki, Arcadia Grey, and Glass Beach prepared to play inside, the show completely sold out! It was a crowd filled with queer and trans people, as the bands playing that night strove to write emo bangers that expressed themes of belonging, family, and acceptance.

First up was Fleece Kawasaki, who were just beginning their set as I entered the venue. They had shirts that said “Give Fleece a Chance!”, and said we should buy some for their legal fees when John Lennon’s estate inevitably sues them. Their style was more playful indie rock, somewhat bedroom pop-y too. All in all they were a fun opener, sharing the stage for some songs with a couple of members from Arcadia Grey, who were on next.

I had seen Arcadia Grey play earlier last year in Chicago, opening for Weatherday and Newgrounds Death Rugby in what I still would say is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It was a hometown show for them, as they represent a fun subsect of Illinois emo that is both playful as well as showcasing raw emotions. Their lyrical themes deal with trans identities as well as childhood nostalgia, and I think they’re one of the best bands out of this new wave (keep reading for my interview with them!). They bantered with the crowd about their previous shows in Texas, and asked for a “pile of teeth up to here” as a pit call (which ruled). They had a bunch of fun on stage, spinning signs to persuade the crowd to buy merch and getting the audience rowdy for Glass Beach, the final act of the night.

(I sincerely wish I had more good photos of Glass Beach. There was a big crowd of people in the front so it was a little hard to get good photos. Sorry!)

Glass Beach came out not much later (I seriously want to applaud the shortness of set turnover times, I’ve seen bands take over an hour just to change out a couple amps, which was absolutely not the case here). They started with “coelacanth”, the opener to their new record, “plastic death”. The song was a very awesome piano ballad, before the entire band energetically joined the lead singer, J, in the back half of the song. They went on to play older songs like “cold weather” and “bedroom community”, the anthems of a generation raised online, for me personally reminiscent melodies of staying awake until the sun came back up in online chats with my friends during lockdown in 2020. They also played “rare animal” and “the CIA”, the two excellent lead singles from their newest record. I learned about the story behind the name of the song “The Killer”, a slower cut off the new record, and its association to the recurring Wendy Williams bit. Finally, they closed with the 10 minute epic “comatose” leading straight into the latest album’s closer “abyss angel”. They took the stage one last time for the encore, playing the energetic fan-favorite “puppy” off the new record, and closing with their classic “yoshi’s island”, what I could tell was a very important song for the trans audience members in attendance. All in all this was an excellent show, a personally very cathartic night as well as just plain fun. To close out, I had the amazing opportunity to interview one of my favorite bands to do it right now, Arcadia Grey! I didn’t want to keep them too long, so here’s my short interview with them!

Micah: Alright, hi, this is Micah for KAMP Student Radio, I’m interviewing Arcadia Grey! Can I go around and get everyone’s names, pronouns, what you play in the band? Is that alright?

Cooper: Hi, I’m Cooper, I go by he/him and I play the drums.

Nat: I’m Nat, I go by they/them, I play bass.

Dylan: I’m Dylan, I go by he/him, I play guitar.

Cora: I’m Cora, I go by she/her, I play guitar and I sing.

Micah: Awesome, thank you very much for your time. I’ll be quick I promise, I know you guys are busy with the tour and all that. It’s been a really long tour but before this tour you started in my hometown, Bloomington, Illinois. You played with Harrison Gordon and Summerbruise, did you get to look around at all or were you in and out?

Cora: We definitely did drive to the American Football house after that, which was really fun.

Micah: Yeah! It’s a gay teenager rite of passage. Shoutout Champaign-Urbana! You guys like American Football a lot, you name check them a couple times, any other specific midwest emo bands you like?

Nat: You can name any and we probably like em’, I’ll say The Obsessives, Brave Little Abacus is one… those are big influences for our music.

Micah: Okay so, I guess this leads into my next question. Hypothetically, all of the music Arcadia Grey has ever released has been erased from the world and you have to become a cover band. What cover band are you becoming?

Nat: Motion City Soundtrack. Or The Obsessives.

Cora: I mean Modern Baseball is the easy pick… but I feel like Camping in Alaska would go crazy.

Micah: Ooh! They’re touring this summer I think.

Dylan: They’re back!

Micah: We’re so back! You talk about dorm rooms a lot in your music, is there a definitive best dorm room poster?

Cooper: Maybe like the dogs from The Albatross from Foxing.

Micah: That’s a great one. I saw the Foxing and Hotelier 10th anniversary show… They’re all so talented.

Nat: So did I… so did I!

Cooper: I really wanted to see that!

Micah: Alright sweet, anything else you want me to shout out other than you’ve got this tour wrapping up, just the last couple of days, and an album, “Casually Crashing”, out May 10th?

Cora: Don’t we have a music video to be announcing?

Nat: Oh yeah, we’ve got a music video coming out April 23rd for a new song, with our album coming out May 10th. And we have another tour to be announced soon!

Micah: Alright! Arcadia Grey, thank you very much for your time!

Whole Band: Hoo-rah!

“Casually Crashing” by Arcadia Grey comes out May 10th, and you can listen to the lead single on Youtube here:

Thanks for reading! I urge you to check out all the bands mentioned, and support them as they continue touring :)

Reviewer Name: Micah Dalton

Date of Review: 4/19/24

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