Genre-shifting Emarosa to play Vaudeville Mews


Britton Orrange

Emarosa will play at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines on Saturday, October 21. 


If you were to ask, “Who is Emarosa?”, that would be an excellent question. The band from Lexington, Kentucky has been through a number of lineup and style changes. This leaves them with a colorful history, poised to give Des Moines’ Vadueville Mews an exciting performance on Saturday.

Emarosa got their start in 2006 as a metal band. Since then they have covered the spread between metal and rock. Now considered a “post-hardcore” band by many, the band released their album “131” in July of 2016.

The album presents a “purer” rock sound than anything Emarosa has done before. The album also shows a lot of growth for the band in general. Musically, it is more cohesive and has a rhythm throughout that makes it listen like a well-written novel.

Lead vocalist Bradley Walden said that “131” came from a very honest place in the band and they can see that in how their live performances have been received.

“’131’ is such an important album for this band,” Walden said. “You can see the reception from the fanbase. They’re singing along and they know it’s special too.”

The success of Emarosa’s newest release did not come easily. The band has been through a number of lineup changes over the years. Emarosa has seen three drummers, four rhythm guitarists, two bassists, and four vocalists.

The first vocalist, Chris Roberts, left the band before the name Emarosa was chosen and the second vocalist, Chris Roetter, left shortly after “This Is Your Way Out,” the band’s first EP, was released.

This leaves two vocalists to make up most of Emarosa’s history. Jonny Craig, former vocalist of Dance Gavin Dance, was announced as the new vocalist in 2007. He was with Emarosa through 2011.

After Craig left the band, the band went through a short dormant period. In 2013, Walden filled the position of lead vocalist and Emarosa began producing their next album, “Versus.”

This album was a stepping-stone for the band, said Walden. As a new member, he tried to give the fans what they wanted and expected. In the process of doing this, however, Emarosa released an album that was not all that it could have been.

When it came time to write “131,” Walden shifted his mentality in writing and built the album on life experience and his own artistic style.

“I was very unfiltered and I wasn’t worried about repercussions when I was writing or what people were gong to think,” Walden said. “I wrote straight out what I was feeling and what I wanted to say and I think when you write with carelessness you get some real honesty.”

That honesty shows in how well the band has done throughout recent years, not only after “131”. In 2015, Emarosa played half of the Vans Warped Tour. Once they left, many people at the shows wore shirts that said “BRING EMAROSA BACK.”

The next summer they played the whole tour. There, they were able to reach fans and start to grow the community of fans surrounding the band.

“Warped tour has a place in my heart because it really put us on the map for our live performance and people really started learning about what we could do there,” Walden said. “You can capture such an audience.”

Although the band enjoys settings like Warped Tour, there is something special about playing smaller venues.

“There’s an intensity in the crowd when we’re playing smaller venue shows,” Walden said. “It just feels more organic … Everyone already knows you so it feels a little more like family.”

This tour is Emarosa’s second in support of “131.” The second tour in support of any album tends to be a little slower, Walden said. During the first tour, there is a lot of excitement and energy that comes from a new release. With the second go around, the shows are usually “more intimate for the die-hard fans.”

This fall, Emarosa is showing how well they can conquer any challenge thrown at them by putting on a tour full of great shows. This tour can be either a place to show our love for Emarosa or join the community.

Emarosa will hit Des Moines’ Vaudeville Mews on Saturday, October 21. Doors open at 5 p.m. and tickets are $15.