Escape the Fate and Emo Orchestra - Photo by Talon Kane Photography

Last year the Emo Orchestra had their inaugural run with Hawthorne Heights, performing some of their original songs and emo cover tunes to a conducted orchestra. The concept created by Ben and Kristen Mench-Thurlow was such a huge hit with fans, they put together a second season, this time with rock band Escape the Fate. The band is on the heels of their 8th studio album Out of the Shadows released on September 1, 2023. Escape the Fate consists of Craig Mabbet (vocals), Robert Ortiz (drums), Thomas “TJ” Bell (rhythm guitar), Erik Jensen (bass), and Matti Hoffman (lead guitar).

The event in Orlando, FL was hosted at The Plaza Live. It’s a nice theater venue without permanent seats on the floor. Though, there were seats and rows on the floor, which I’ve always found odd for a rock show. There was a good-sized crowd for the event that evening and as the lights dimmed a video was displayed with various newsreels and interviews about emo music. It was a nice piece they put together to kick off the show. The Emo Orchestra got to their spots on stage and when Escape the Fate came out The Plaza Live crowd went wild.

The show was exactly what I expected it to be; nostalgic and fun. The show was separated into two sets. Set 1 started with “Not Good Enough for Truth in Cliche” from their 2006 album Dying Is Your Latest Fashion. They closed the set with “Dearly Departed” from Out of the Shadows 2.0, the deluxe version of their album. Everything in between were fantastic covers of some of the best emo music. Craig decided to run through the entire theater when they performed Good Charlotte’s “The Anthem” and he even stopped to sing in front of people along the way. The crowd sang back every lyric during the chorus. The energy got high when they did AFI’s “Miss Murder” and the crowd got loud singing along. The impressive part was watching their videographer get up on stage with the band and orchestra hearing her belt out screams from “If It Means a Lot To You” by A Day To Remember. The highlight of set 1 was hearing their rendition of “Aerials” by System of a Down. Escape the Fate did it justice and the Emo Orchestra nailed every note to highlight their beautiful sound and show how a skilled orchestra can match up with the right song. And that was a perfect match.

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Set 2 started with the title track from their 2008 album This War is Ours and closed it with “One for the Money” from their 2013 album Ungrateful. The selections of this set were just as good. Hitting some more hardcore with Underoath’s “A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White” had the audience rocking. Craig told the crowd they would perform a song from a band who are close friends. That band was The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. The song was “Face Down”. I truly appreciated them paying tribute to Hawthorne Heights (the first Emo Orchestra band) performing their popular “Ohio is for Lovers”. Craig invited the crowd to find spots to dance in front of the stage or in the aisles to blink-182’s “I Miss You” and then invited those who danced to stay closer to the stage or in the aisle. But Escape the Fate and the Emo Orchestra really nailed down the vibe performing one of the most emo bands alive in My Chemical Romance. They hit the audience in the feels with “I’m Not OK (I Promise)” and had everyone singing along. And encored at the end of the evening with MCR’s most popular song “Welcome to the Black Parade”.

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Emo Orchestra complimented Escape the Fate beautifully that evening. They were absolutely on point all evening and you could see they were having fun while they performed. And the heavier the song, the harder they played. This was such a fantastic idea and it was great to see them enjoying it as much as the fans. May 5th was a special day as they celebrated Erik Jensen’s birthday! He truly looked surprised.

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This was such an amazing event. I highly recommend you seeing this while it’s still on tour. You can find remaining tour dates over at

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