28 - Thursday, April 11, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
2B - Thursday, April 11, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom 4
How Ann Arbor s
emo revival shaped
my college years
in this new series, three daily arts writers
in varying states of mind visit the same
place and write about their experiences.
this week's destination:
n a city like Ann Arbor,
things come and go: busi-
nesses, students, music
and interests. We're in and out;
we come and go. Sometimes, I
think of the
of life. You
a home for
four years, JOHN
and then BOHN
landscape endlessly produces
new interests, new humor and
Lately, a lot of buzz has been
made about Ann Arbor as the
center of an emo revival in music.
Ever since I entered college, I've
been around, or a part of, this
scene. The summer after my
freshman year, the bands that
give the town its revival reputa-
tion were taking flight, and over
the past two years, I've watched
them grow into what they
are today. Going into college,
though, this was not the type of
music that I listened to. But as I
attended more shows, and even-
tually went on a short tour with
the groups, their music grew on
To get a better understand-
ing of the tradition that has so
vividly colored my college expe-
rience thus far, I sat down with
my friend Chris Lieu, guitarist
and lyricist of Brave Bird, to talk
about the revival and what it's
like to try and make a name in
this kind of place.
"Scenes like Chicago, L.A. or
Boston, they're always going to
exist," Lieu said. "A scene in Ann
Arbor could be a very fleeting
deal. It really is up to a few peo-
ple to put everything they have
into it and completely devote
themselves to it."
Brave Bird released its first
EP, Ready or Not, two summers
ago and, along with fellow Ann
Arbor-based band "Pity Sex,"
the group has been responsible
for the r
with a d
in the so
of a sce
lege. I k
evival reputation the city the '90s is gaining popularity.
:ed among certain circles Over the course of the past two
he country. decades, the term "emo" adopted
ddition to Ann Arbor more connotations and asso-
and University student, ciations than its use as a term to
rave Bird includes bass- describe those bands from the
e Politowicz and drum- '90s (which explained my confu-
ark Buckner. Politowicz sion).
ed from the University "(Emo) gets a bad rap," Lieu
egree in aerospace engi- said. "It's such a fluid term. It
and Buckner currently really is like an attitude rather
English. Coming from than an actual genre."
t backgrounds, they all. The revival in many ways
Sigma Phi, a local gath- started with Pennsylvania-based
ot for the hardcore and Algernon Cadwallader, which
ene. brought newer punk vocals to
as kind of a serendipitous '90s American Football-style
where we were just all guitar. Coming across this syn-
ame place and decided to thesis was important for Lieu
is music," Lieu said. when he first heard it. At the
n they began recording in time though, he didn't know
ichigan didn't offer much that a huge underground move-
ne beside the established ment was associated with Alger-
e and punk community non. Like those original bands
d found at Sigma Phi. from the '90s, the punk ethic
led them to avoid large venues
or mass advertising. For a lot of
gets a bad these bands, this means fizzling
out before getting started. But
p butjt'sa there's a lot of honesty in that,
p and in many ways that was its
)rant scene greatest allure for me.
"When I released our EP, I
n campus. didn't expect anyone to listen
to it aside from the few hard-
core kids who came around our
house," Lieu said.
re were not any expecta- But the band released the EP
all," Lieu said. online, and after making its way
n I've tried to explain to onto a few blogs, it blew up.
the sound of Brave Bird This past summer, I went on
y Sex, I really haven't a road trip with Brave Bird and
what to say. As I said Pity Sex to Milwaukee, Chicago
I wasn't listening to this and Chesterton, Ind. At each of
music when I came to col- the shows, there would always be
new that they described a group of die-hard fans shouting
ves as "emo," but even the lyrics back at Lieu, Politow-
m eluded me. icz and Buckner.
ieu explained, the emo Obviously, a lot happened
egan in the 1990s and is between that original EP release
attributed to the midwest and the tour. In the second
mes called "midwest installment of this story, I'll talk
where many of the bands about how Pity Sex formed, the
om. Bands like American record deal both bands got this
I and Braid defined the past summer and what Lieu and
nd attitude of this move- Brave Bird hope the next step in
n recent years, the bands the emo revival will be.
OK. Sit down. Trey scored two. Good. So, I should preface this by saying
I don't know anything about basketball. Or the Michigan Basketball team.
Or, really, sports in general. I bought season tickets last year, but didn'tgo to
more than, like, two or three games.
Why are people arguing about goaltending? I'm glad the colors areteasy to
tell apart. Trey Burke is really good. Wow. Just realized we're playing Lou-
isville. Are they the Louisville sluggers? I'm a dragon. I've already gotten
sidetracked. We're still winning. Well, not thatwe were. Because it was tied.
But we're winning again, so good.
Checking in 20 minutes later. Still high. Oh, God, Highland cows are the
cutest. Apparently we're still winning. This is good. People are falling a lot.
And cheering. Where is Burke? What is happening? I think right now the
only things I know about basketball are "Trey Burke" and that it is actually
played with a ball, but no basket.
What's the deal with halftime? OK, there's a literal basket, but not made of
wood. All right, so, we're only up - NOW DOWN - by one. What is happen-
ing? This is terrifying and terrible. Good thing free throws exist, apparently.
What's the deal with halftime? We are DOWN and it is five minutes into the
second half. Burke got dunked attempting to dunk. You know what sounds
amazing right now? Candy. Or M&Ms. We're down. Everything is happen-
ing so quickly. And now we're down by five. Listen. I'm REALLY hungry.
I'm going to eat.
Trey Burke happened and now we're only down by two. Louisville play-
ers are really dramatic. Trey Burke happened again, and now we're only f
down by three. Are we time-traveling? THAT WAS A SUPER INTENSE
SCRAMBLE THOUGH, but I feel like something should've been fouled
there. Burke just went face-to-court. That looked brutal. Is Burke going to
recover? I'm no expert, but these refs seem to be prettybullshit. Burke isstill
killing it though. Minus the part that we're down by like eight at 3:52 and I
am STRESSING OUT. And after a nerve wracking trio of minutes we lose.
Basketball is really stressful to watch.
- DAILY ARTS WRITER
So, like, this whole basketball thing is a big deal apparently. I mean, I've
been following the season pretty religiously, but mainly because I'm attract-
ed to the athletes. Sorry'bout it.
My love affair with Mitch McGary is pretty well documented; if I do say
so myself.I'm prettysureI've confessed myloveto himinevery format other
than walking up to him and handing him my number. I know, believe me I
know, he's a freshman and I'm a senior, but I'm all about that forbidden love.
I think I can count four pitchers of Oberon on our makeshift table, com-
plete with those orange slices that I'm convinced are only there for decora-
tion - oh, wait, there're two more pitchers at the end over yonder. Seriously,
these tables go on forever.
What I remember of the first half is screaming for Spike's on-fire three's,
running around the bar high-fiving strangers and then promptly shutting
up when that bearded Louisville looker responded with his own run. Dafuq
just happened? 4
Second half = death. Hello, sir. Waiter, sir? Over here. I'll have another
We're losing, we're losing, WHYARE WE LOSING?! Um,referees, please
use those things in your face holes called eyes. I'm trying to refrain from too
many profanities, but that call on Trey's block? That's straight bullshit. Ugh.
Wait, it's over? It's over. This can't be happening. This feeling is not nice.
I do not like this feeling at all. I think I could cry? 4
Well, pass me that pitcher and fill 'er up, bub. It's time to bury myself in
it. Go blue.
There have been few moments in my life that have held this much sad-
ness and pride at once. As I watched the last minute of the National Cham-
pionship game go by, I realized that I had never taken stock into how much
love and admiration I have for the University. Because I finally understood,
watching the basketball team gracefully admit defeat, that this was far more
than a basketball game - it was the culmination of my time at the University
and its spiriL.
It's not just about who wins; it's not about being a fan or about cheering
the loudest. It's about having immense pride for where you are - for the
school, for the people, for the opportunities. It was only when I saw us lose
(after so many months of hoping and crossing our fingers) that I understood
how we've already won. It's incredibly clich, but what makes a team great
isn't the amount of titles acquiredbut the amount of dedication, respect and
work put into the effort. It resonates with every student. We all lose and
win on our own merit, but what never changes is how decidedly thrilled
and excited we are by our prospects, by our futures. And though we're not
champions, we are, and always will be, Wolverines.
- ANNA SADOVSKAYA
nfluenced such notable
as The Wonder Years and
it Boy, but appreciation
se original bands from
Bohn is so misunderstood.
To understand, e-mail
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