Hawthorne Heights embarks on different musical journey



Hot on the heels of the second annual Ohio Is For Lovers at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati on Sept. 9, Hawthorne Heights has embarked on a different musical journey. On Wednesday, Sept. 27, the group launches a tour with the Emo Orchestra at Taft Theatre in Cincinnati. There are 27 other dates nationally before wrapping up at City National Grove in Anaheim, California on Nov. 12.

“Yeah, 2023 is No Sleep ‘Til Dayton,” frontman J.T. Woodruff said. “There’s no sleep until we get back, but we always say, it’s better to be wanted than to be bored. We’re totally happy to be doing it. Playing with the full orchestra this fall is either the smartest or dumbest thing we’ve ever done. We’re playing our songs and some of our favorites within the genre with full orchestra.”

It has been a busy year for Woodruff (vocals, guitar) and bandmates Matt Ridenour (bass, vocals), Mark McMillon (guitars, vocals) and Chris “Poppy” Popadak (drums). In addition to regular tour dates, the group hosted 10 Is For Lovers festivals in places like Hawaii (April 29), Lake Tahoe (June 24), Utah (July 21), Cincinnati (Sept. 9) and Massachusetts (Sept. 17). A new EP, “Lost Lights,” was released Sept. 8.

Listen to Hawthorne Heights’ “We Were Never Lost”:

Now, the local act is on the road for the Emo Orchestra’s inaugural tour, which is billed as “Featuring guest performers Hawthorne Heights.” The tour was conceived by Evan Rogers, a British conductor-arranger based in Los Angeles. The program includes songs from Hawthorne Heights’ 20-year career and selections from other emo acts.

“We had to figure out a time to learn the songs for the Emo Orchestra Tour,” Woodruff said. “That was the panic button. You know, when do you sleep? When do you rest? When do you turn your brain off for just that little bit of time? When do you get clarity? You don’t, you just keep trucking. You keep rolling down the pike and hopefully there’s more good than bad. Luckily, we have a group of guys that all have their head on straight.

“We hang out together all day every day,” Woodruff added. “Do we argue with each other? Absolutely, like any person who spends 24 hours a day with each other with no sleep running music festivals but at the end of the day we all smile. There’s a tremendous amount of love within our group.”

Cincinnati aside, the only other tour stops three hours or less from Dayton are Akron (Oct. 20), Louisville (Oct. 24) and Indianapolis (Oct. 25).

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or donthrasher100@gmail.com.


Who: Emo Orchestra featuring guest performers Hawthorne Heights

Where: Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Cincinnati

When: Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.

Cost: Tickets start at $45

More info: www.emo-orchestra.com

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