Primed and ready for the release of their debut album Don’t Be A Dick on Adeline Records on June 14th, Emily’s Army popped into Long Beach’s DiPiazza’s for an early evening performance to an eager audience. The audience, made up of mainly young teenage girls, crowded the stage with cameras in hand as they patiently waited for the band’s hour-long set.
Emily’s Army is comprised of Oakland teenagers Cole and Max Becker, Travis Nuemann, and Joey Armstrong. The fresh-faced band have made waves by gaining the attention of one of their heroes, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day (and co-founder of Adeline Records) who took on the producing duties of the boys’ debut album.
As the band arrived on stage, I have to admit I was taken aback by just how young these guys looked! They range in age between 15 and 17 years old (no wonder they have a strong teenage girl following!) and do they look it! They definitely have an innocent and, dare I say, “cute” demeanor to their stage presence.
But don’t let the boyish looks fool you into believing these kids are relying solely on the “adorable factor.” Musically, they can clearly hold their own and throw down some really tight sounds. You can hear a lot of Green Day influence, especially in the heavy use of Max’s bass lines. Some of the more poppy vocals and guitar riffs seem to be influenced by traditional Ramones, and at times you can hear hints of some surf and ska.
For being quite young, they dominated the stage with an almost awkward innocent bravado that only seems quite natural for a bunch of teenage boys. Watching them bounce around on stage, jumping in synchronization and clearly having a good time, only made the experience of watching their performance all that more enjoyable. Aspects of Green Day were definitely present in their stage presence with Max and Cole taking on power stances and facial expressions reminiscent of Billie Joe and Mike Dirnt.
Included in their set was a really fun and carefree version of The Beach Boys’ “Do You Want To Dance?” — although the way they played it, it could have been a cover of the Ramones’ version of the song. Whatever the case was, the question posed in the song was answered by some of the girls in front of the stage as they (in fact) did start to dance. The song “I Wanna Be Remembered” was dedicated to Cole and Max’s cousin Emily, who the band is named after. Emily was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis back in 1998 and in honor of Emily’s fight — and in junction with the foundation aimed at educating the masses about CF — the band changed it’s name from Raining Souls to Emily’s Army.
I walked away from this show quite impressed with the simple raw sound and talent of Emily’s Army’s music. If this is any indication of what these lads are capable of, the future looks promising. As of now, they seem like a band inspired by other musical acts they look up to musically. Like all teenagers, it’s a matter of finding yourself and defining yourself. By all accounts of this performance, Emily’s Army is well on their way to finding out what power and potential is there for the taking in the years ahead.