Moping for Dollars

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Emo doesn't get more emotional than it does in the hands of Hawthorne Heights. The Dayton quintet can't catch a break on its new album, If Only You Were Lonely: Boy and girl split up, boy and girl try to reconcile, boy and girl end up sleeping in separate beds. "Seeing you cry makes me feel like saying sorry," J.T. Woodruff sings in an achy breaky voice.

It's all part of the formula that's made Hawthorne Heights one of the nation's most popular pop-punk groups since it broke out two years ago with the TRL-blessed hit "Ohio Is for Lovers." "We didn't want to alienate our fans by doing a complete 180, like a lot of bands do on their second albums," says drummer Eron Bucciarelli. "We took what we liked about our first record and did it again." Hawthorne Heights comes to Blossom tonight with Fall Out Boy, as part of the Black Clouds and Underdogs Tour.

Five friends formed Hawthorne Heights in the summer of 2001 in the suburbs of Dayton, a city whose rich musical history spans R&B funk (the Ohio Players, Zapp) to indie rock (Guided by Voices, the Breeders). "There's not a lot to do there, so why not play music?" Bucciarelli says. "In order to have any fun, you start a band."

Hawthorne Heights' success is largely the result of steady touring — the band's been on the road almost nonstop since its 2004 debut, The Silence in Black and White. "We like being in people's faces," says Bucciarelli. MySpace has also played a huge role in their rise: Devotees share stories, set lists, and photos on the band's home page, as well as on countless fan-generated sites. If Only You Were Lonely debuted at No. 3, without the benefit of radio play or any other traditional media push. "Bands are now able to pick up a lot of steam without that," says Bucciarelli. "We're just now starting to drift from cool underground band to a more widely accepted band. It's all good."
Sun., May 7, 6:30 p.m.

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