There’s a reason Baltimore natives All Time Low are on their fifth studio album and 12th year of existence, and it isn’t just that they have a rabidly loyal fanbase. The four-piece puts on one hell of a show—always have and probably always will. It can’t be certain the amount of shows they’ve played, but this was the 10th go for this reviewer, and I can say with certainty that it is amazing to see the growth from the teens with the X’s on the back of their hands playing the small club venues to the men they’ve grown into playing arenas and auditoriums.
One of the biggest highlights of an All Time Low show is the presence, mostly exuded by singer Alex Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat, who often carry on perfectly timed banter amongst themselves and the audience. Even as the venue sizes grew, so did their personas, which never come off as forced or with any disconnect. Whether it be a room of 200 or a venue of about 6,000, the foursome fill it with an energy that is infectious. They’ve also carried on traditions such as Barakat’s duct tape guitar messages—“Nice Rack!” it said during our performance—and the numerous bras thrown onstage and collected on mic stands, and it only adds another layer to the performance. These guys don’t take life so serious, and for the kids and adults who started listening to them as youngins, it’s a great escape from the outside world. That isn’t to say the quartet doesn’t occasionally wade into the deep end during their show—most notably when Gaskarth announced “Missing You” with a story about meeting a fan’s family and how they’d introduced a struggling addict to the song and it had helped him approach his rehab with a whole new outlook.
Another notable aspect of the band’s live performance is the comfort at which they slip into their songs. While it’s true that they’ve been playing some of the songs for nearly a decade—“Poppin’ Champagne” and “Dear Maria (Count Me In)”—there really shouldn’t be a reason they shouldn’t be able to play these songs with complete ease, but it makes the performance feel more organic. These songs are almost a part of the band themselves, coming off with an ease that only seasoned performers can achieve.
The biggest downfall in All Time Low’s headlining set was that longstanding fan favorites met an untimely end to make room for other songs. Sadly, it’s the unfortunate side to having so much music out there, and they did give the audience a chance save “Remembering Sunday,” but it was still sad to see it and “Jasey Rae” get the axe.
That being said, if there were ever a band to take a chance on if you’re just now being introduced to pop-rock, there is no denying that All Time Low should be that band. Though they are now at the point in their career where they aren’t the band talking about who influenced them, but being talked about as influencers for new bands, they still have quite a stake in the genre.
Text and photos by Victoria Patneaude
*Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.