Sunny Day Real Estate, the beloved ’90s emo act, played in Boston last night and I have some thoughts and feelings to share.
For the uninitiated, Sunny Day Real Estate formed in Seattle in the early ’90s. They had the distinction of being an early-’90s Seattle band that wasn’t a grunge band. They also had the distinction of being on beloved indie label Sub Pop. And while mainstream rock fans might best know them as the band Dave Grohl drafted the rhythm section from for his first iteration of the Foo Fighters, they’re best known as the poster band for the mid-’90s wave of emo. In other words, you probably don’t have a Jimmy Eat World or a My Chemical Romance or any of the acts that fall between those two on the emo spectrum without Sunny Day.
The band has seen a few break-ups, realignments, and reunions over the years. You can dig into their page on Wikipedia if you want the skinny on all that. For this piece, I’m choosing to focus on their latest reunion and subsequent tour. That’s the tour that brought them back to the House of Blues last night, exactly 13 years and 5 days after their last reunion show at the House of Blues. I was at that show, too. It was on a rainy early autumn night and it was magical. Last night was, too.
Sunny Day Real Estate: Reunion 2022
Much like their contemporaries in Karate—the Boston band who played two in Cambridge for their reunion tour back in July–the SDRE lads seemed genuinely touched to be playing in front of a sold-out crowd. And you could tell they’d put the work in. The set was tight and, well, emotional, spanning songs from all four of their full-length albums. I’ve been to my fair share of reunion tours where the priority seemed to be cashing in. This was not that.
This was music played from the heart by musicians with hearts full of gratitude. I found myself swept up in the moments they were creating and being taken back to the times of my life that were soundtracked by the songs. When live music does that, you’re in the right place and the band has done what they’re meant to do. Here’s hoping this ’90s reunion sticks.