Live Review: All Time Low

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After a quick journey to Preston, we were looking forward to seeing what All Time Low had to offer from their gig tonight. Joined by We Are The In Crowd and The Maine, the show promised a fun, pop-punk filled evening.

The first band up were female fronted We Are The In Crowd from New York, with their upbeat pop-punk style reminiscent of early Avril Lavigne. They attempted to step away from the generic ‘pop-punk’ sound with dual vocals, guitarist Jordan Eckes sharing some lead vocals with Taylor Jardine, however it didn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table. Alex Gaskarth of All time Low joined the band on stage to sing ‘Kiss Me Again’, a song that would be the perfect soundtrack for any Disney film (Jonas Brothers type). Watching the band, it was easy to see that Taylor had taken a lot of inspiration from Hayley Williams of Paramore, with her onstage performance. Finishing their set with ‘Both Sides of the Story’, it is understandable why they have built up a great following and it is inevitable that you will hear more about them.

Next up were The Maine, the Arizonian rockers delivered a straight forward rock set bringing an unexpected direction to the night. Kicking off with ‘Inside of You’, it was apparent that this wasn’t your typical All Time Low support. Their full sound captured the audience, with frontman John O’Callaghan holding them in the palm of his hand. His confidence was admirable propelling the bands performance to a new level. The bands lyrics did bring a smile to our faces such as in ‘Some Days’ the chorus states ‘some days taste like lemonade’ which doesn’t really make any sense, but it was catchy. The band’s onstage look was a little odd, not mirroring their sound or music videos. However this didn’t detract from the overall show, their final track ‘Don’t Give Up On “Us”’ used a good range of effects, to enhance their fresh sound. It must be said that they were the best band of the night.

Generically opening with an air raid siren, All time Low took to the stage with their child like energy and enthusiasm playing lead single ‘Time-Bomb’ from their 4th album ‘Dirty Work’. The onstage lighting was fantastic, though when you start to notice things like that it doesn’t bode well for the band playing at the time!

Straight from the off, the headliners sounded empty losing some of the driving edge. The addition of a third guitarist in an attempt to fill in the gap, didn’t succeed. This did give off an amateur vibe to their performance – like they hadn’t spent any time working on their live sound. Although the tour was in support of their latest album release, the set list had an eclectic mix made up of tracks from all four of the band’s previous albums. This was great for new fans, as it showcased their range of music.

Three songs in brought one of their biggest hits, ‘Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)’ which was ideally placed to keep momentum going, especially for those who didn’t know every single song. The biggest downfall of the gig was the incessant banter between the members onstage. You couldn’t even say that it was inspired by Blink-182, as it was an exact copy their onstage toilet humour antics. It was quite shocking for a band with a lot of young teenage fans, to speak so explicitly about boobs and sex, for so much of the gig. Once or twice is actually quite funny, but to have the banter between every song wasn’t funny and it dragged on, it was very tedious at times.

The onstage irritations could be over looked, especially when the set ended strongly with a good flurry of hits. Beginning with ‘Lost in Stereo’, the band dug deep and found the missing element which hinder their performance earlier in the gig. Alex played ‘Remembering Sunday’ acoustically on his own, giving an air of intimacy in such a big venue, which is no easy task. The rest of the band returned to the stage for the usual encore throwing out ‘Weightless’ and ‘Dear Maria, Count Me in. Filled with gimmicks such as a huge guitar toss across the length of the stage to their roadies, who then proceeded in playing the rest of the song. This allowed Alex and guitarist Jack Barakat to interact with the audience hands on going down off the stage to the crowd.

Overall we had a really good night with 3 great young bands, the highlight being The Maine’s polished performance. We expect to see big things from them in the near future.

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2 Comments

  1. I seriously disagree with some of the things said here. Firstly regarding We Are The In Crowd, Jordan’s vocals is what makes We Are The In Crowd so unique. It’s what defines them and makes them stand out. They add something to the songs no other bands have, which is a dual perspective of the boy and girl’s account. This adds a new flare to the songs, without it I doubt WATIC would even be as half as big as they are now.

    Then with The Maine, the lyrics ‘some days taste like lemonade’ make sense if you add the second like ‘some days feel like razor blades’ which has the obvious meaning that some days are really nice (when you would have lemonade) others are quite painful (like razor blades).

    Then with All Time Low, I felt they were full of energy from the beginning. The third guitarist is not a new addition and he’s not there to fill ‘a’ gap. He is there only to play the third layer of guitar on tracks to make them sound like they do on the album (which most bands have, but you usually can’t see them). It also didn’t feel like an amateur performance to me, seriously I’ve seen some amateur performances and this was far from it. Linking in to the energy given off, this could not have been done with an amateur performance.

    The banter was far from incessant, the banter is part of the All Time Low experience. You talk to any of their fans, it’s part of the reason why they love them. They have always been haunted by this ‘oh they are trying to be blink’ comment but it’s common for bands of the genre to do this. The fact their fans are young teenagers shouldn’t inhibit the content. Using that argument their songs shouldn’t even have swearing in, but they do. Also I will add the show was 16+.

    For me it was the greatest night of my life, admittedly because I was lucky enough to even meet All Time Low before the show. But they topped it off with a great performance, all the bands did.

  2. Thanks for the comments Alex.

    We Are The In Crowd have some brilliant CDs and I have been listening to them a lot. However live his vocals didn’t stand up to the level that they are on the CD’s. Split vocals don’t make them unique, The Blackout spring to mind, and other bands in different genres such as Lacuna Coil. Those both have 2 vocalists with much better vocals and so nothing unique about it. They gave a good performance and I would see them again.

    All Time Low were full of energy in performance – in sound they were lacking so much. Having seen them before at Leeds Fest I do have a point of comparison and they sounded far better at the festival. This is odd as festivals tend to have a worse sound with only line checks not full sound checks. I would say that they got the levels wrong in sound check. Maybe not the band’s fault but it should have been sorted.

    As a huge pop punk fan I know a lot of bands live under Blink’s shadow, All Time Low confess this themselves (hence Mark Hoppus in their video for Weightless). But having seen Blink, they mention a few ‘toilet humor’ jokes as they always have done, as they were the pioneers of this. All Time Low doing this isn’t original – why don’t they try doing something new themselves?

    All gigs have age limits on – it’s for insurance reasons that they say it. The gig isn’t +16 its that anyone under 14 needs to be accompanied by an adult.

    As I say maybe it was a bit off an off night in terms of sound for the band as they have good songs and normally sound better. However unoriginal, unfunny and tedious jokes about rude things don’t need to be there. Perhaps concentrating on polishing the performance and stopping the 5 minute gaps with pointless talking will help the band move up to the next level to meet bands like You Me At Six and then again to a Paramore level.

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