Vinnie Caruana laughs about the on-again, off-again, totally on-again relationship he has with his friends and bandmates in The Movielife.
"This is like seeing the ex-girlfriend who you don't hate," says Caruana, who generally spends most of his time working on his solo material and with his band I Am the Avalanche. "There is this romantic feeling we have about The Movielife."
And who would blame them? The Merrick-based band was one of the Long Island scene's biggest heroes in the '00s, the first of its contemporaries to land a major-label deal. After they broke up in 2003, they went their separate ways, but in recent years Caruana and guitarist Brandon Reilly, who launched his own band, Nightmare of You, rekindled talk of keeping The Movielife together. "We've been really happy doing Movielife shows," Caruana said. "Here we are trying to figure out to be a band together again."
Though they have been playing plenty of shows and festivals around the country, the reunited band will play its first official Long Island show in years on Saturday, when it headlines the first day of Today's Mixtape Festival at The Emporium in Patchogue, a dream come true for festival founder Jake Zimmerman.
"I'm just a huge fan personally of The Movielife," he said. "I wanted to be the one to do their Long Island show. I knew it would happen eventually."
Zimmerman said The Movielife was attracted to the festival because it grew out of the same scene as the band. "We're a smaller, more independent organization -- it's not a corporation," he said. "We put a lot of care and TLC into our festival."
Caruana said they chose Today's Mixtape Festival for their return because it felt right. "It's like the way it used to work back in the day," said Caruana, adding that he helped pick some of the other acts on the bill, including Long Island's hard-core heroes Kill Your Idols and Crime in Stereo. "Half the bands are from Long Island. It's gonna be sick."
The reunited Movielife is still working to add songs from its back catalog to its set, and Caruana said the band may have some surprises for the Long Island crowd.
"We've been looking to do some songs from 'It's Go Time,' " Caruana said. "If there's a place to play those songs, it's Long Island. We want to do it to bring some older people some nostalgia."
Today's Mixtape Festival Founder Jake Zimmerman knows that the event has already struck a chord with his audience because tickets for the fourth edition of the festival started selling before any of the acts were announced.
"We're known for having a pretty diverse lineup," he said, adding that bringing the festival to The Emporium in Patchogue allows it to expand the number of outdoor vendors this year. "No matter what, you're going to find something that you like."
This year's festival features more than two dozen bands over two days, ranging from Sunday headliners Every Time I Die, whose recent raging metal-hardcore EP "Salem" (Epitaph) was a pleasant summer surprise, to the more melodic rock of Giants at Large and the driving post-punk of Crime in Stereo.
Though Long Island no longer has a focal point for its indie rock scene the way it did in the heydays of The Downtown and The Crazy Donkey in Farmingdale, Zimmerman said the sense of community remains and supports events like Today's Mixtape Festival.
"That's how I built this business," said Zimmerman, who started by booking shows in the backyard of his parents' house in Huntington. "Yes, there's a venue missing, but in the next five years, that may change. Even if it doesn't, the scene is still strong."
WHEN | WHERE 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, The Emporium, 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue
INFO $29.50 each day or $49.50-$79.50 for weekend pass; 877-987-6487, ticketfly.com