Full disclosure: I am a not-so-closeted pop-punk fan. Like, the first CD in my first car was New Found Glory's Sticks and Stones [pause for laughter/judgment]. The good news is I'm definitely not alone.

Full disclosure: I am a not-so-closeted pop-punk fan. Like, the first CD in my first car was New Found Glory’s Sticks and Stones [pause for laughter/judgment]. The good news is I’m definitely not alone.

On a recent Wednesday at Ace of Cups, Columbus came out in force for the first installment of Sad Boyz, an emo/pop-punk/screamo dance party that blasted through an entire catalogue of songs you hate to love — all done with a self-aware sense of humor.

By midnight a sizable crowd filled Ace of Cups. If party-goers weren’t grabbing a PBR at the bar, they were standing in clusters screaming the words to “My Friends Over You” on the dance floor. Every fresh batch of people who came through the door was greeted with knowing glances, as if to say, “You too, huh?” A few guys half-heartedly tried to start a circle pit, but were laughing at themselves too much to take it very seriously.

When he wasn’t cueing up the night’s soundtrack, C.J. Townsend could be found skateboarding around the venue, enjoying the melodramatic tracks as much as the crowd. Outside, everyone laughed over stories of their first Warped Tour, or the time they met that one guy from that one band.

“I used to be so afraid people could hear me listening to this song in my headphones,” I overheard somebody say during a Blink 182 song. Sad Boyz was basically an entire room of people that were once equally embarrassed about being caught listening to [insert band name here], but are now screaming the words at top volume with all their friends and no shame.

If this all sounds a bit ridiculous, that’s because it was — but everyone was in on the joke. The angsty-yet-danceable tracks that define the genre have almost become a cultural punchline, but for partygoers of a certain age they were the soundtrack to a lot of firsts and fond memories; myself included. First concerts, first cars, first black-eyes … all those good and terrible things that seemed so important when you were 16 are reflected in those songs. So why not throw on a “Forever Sad” T-shirt and relive that “summer at the Warped Tour” with a PBR and a bunch of people who are just as nostalgic for those moments as you are. Check out the next Sad Boyz at Ace of Cups on April 15.

Downtown Abbey is a nightlife column that covers everything from drag shows to magic shows, the club scene to fetish parties. It runs every other week.