ALL TIME LOW Are Back at It
Thank you for keeping us going. Thank you for keeping us alive – say ALL TIME LOW as they embark on extensive UK tour.
Alright, let’s start with some quotes here. 14 is the number of years these guys have been in this band, 6 is the number of studio albums they’ve released to date, their record So Wrong, It’s Right will turn 10 years this September, 15 dates counts their March tour across the UK and Ireland and 1800, give or take, is tonight’s venue capacity. Not to mention the enormous number of hours All Time Low‘s fans have been waiting outside of Cambridge Corn Exchange on this fine Tuesday (and I’m not counting the brave ones who decided to camp overnight of course).
As it’s my first time in this picturesque area I wander around a bit before I reach my destination. To be fair, it’s hard to get lost because the giant queue is lining alongside the streets. “Yep, that’s it. It must be the venue” I think as I hear the loud singalongs coming out of the group of super excited fans. As more voices join in I can tell that tonight is going to be pretty special.
The atmosphere in the room is exquisite and the fact that that the crowd is already going nuts for the opening bands Waterparks and SWMRS makes it even better. But it’s almost time for the men of the night. The air thickens as the lights dim out and massive cheers arise.
We don’t have to wait long until four figures jump up on the stage and kick off with the flaring tune Kicking & Screaming, taken from their most recent album Future Hearts (2015). Clearly it’s more about screaming at this very moment, although a few individuals do pretty good job with all the kicking just to get closer to the front.
As the lyrics “Manage me, I’m a mess” of Weightless hit the ether the Baltimore’s finest remind everyone that they still know how to put on a thrilling show. Of course, opening with a couple of fan favourites aims for a great success but the reception of the audience is what makes it all special.
“Let’s see if you can sing along to this one” we hear from vocalist Alex Gaskarth before the band dives into the catchy tune Somewhere In Neverland. The bond between the band and the crowd is tight, giving tonight a sense of a family reunion.
All Time Low have mastered the art of live performance over the years. Their delivery is precise, their engagement and stage persona are strong, their relationship with the fans is to be envied. What’s more, they never lose their sense of humour.
“How are we doing down there Cambridge?!”, Alex welcomes everyone in the room as guitarist Jack Barakat reveals some interesting facts about his personal life: “You might not know this but I actually went to Cambridge. That’s on my Wikipedia page”.
“He’s lying” Alex clarifies quickly. “He doesn’t have a Wikipedia page”.
“Can someone make a Wikipedia page for me and say I went to Cambridge? And my mom thinks I’m a virgin. Can someone put that on Wiki page as well?”.
“And that’s another lie”, Alex interrupts. “Anyway, the last time we played here it was 2012. I’m gonna teach you something now. It’s very easy”, he says leaving a space for melodic chants of Cinderblock Garden‘s intro to follow. No one needs any more encouragements naturally.
The band makes sure to satisfy the old and the new fans respectively as they bring back the old-school rawness of Six Feet Under The Stars (So Wrong, It’s Right 2007) and Canals from the extended version of their 2012’s Don’t Panic.
“You guys are doing an amazing job. How are you guys upstairs? I miss you” Alex gets a bit emotional while Jack shares more secrets, as he does, including the revelation about his underwear. Judging by the numbers of the ladies’ bras hanging from his mic stand, it seems totally justified.
The glorious visuals in the form of flashing lights accompany the set adding a dazzling factor to the entire live experience. Guitar-driven Something’s Gotta Give sees people on each other’s shoulders whilst giant balloons flood the room. Red lights quickly turn into blue as All Time Low serve another straightforward banger Kids In The Dark. Zack Merrick and Rian Dawson keep a tight rein on the rhythmical structure with the on-point drum work and groovy basslines whilst the other two entertain the audience.
“Thank you so much. You guys are one of my favourite cities. It’s fucking beautiful. We’ve been a band for a while now, about 13-14 years now. That’s crazy. Thank you for keeping us going. Thank you for keeping us alive. We’ve got a new album coming out. I want you to sing it if you know this one. It’s called Dirty Laundry“, and many people already sing back the lyrics.
I’ve been following this band for about a decade now, which seems mad, and as much as I love the punk spirit I was really hoping to hear more from their new material. Recently All Time Low have announced their singing to Fueled By Ramen and dropped new single Dirty Laundry. The electro-pop infusion certainly comes across as a refreshing accent in the their rock soundscape. Their thrilling guitar riffs and infectious choruses have not been diminished, they’ve just been enhanced. However, the song might give away a feeling of a slightly odd in the live arrangement. The band certainly has been experimenting a bit and changes are good, but the track lacks more confidence when performed live, that is comparing to other songs on the setlist.
But moving on, the band gears up to proceed as a little hassle erupts at the back of the stage. Jack is here with an explanation of course, “Rian, you keep breaking stuff!” and he dives headfirst into rapping. Yep, we are lucky to get a sneak of Limp Bizkit’s ‘Break Stuff’ what sets quite an interesting turn.
“Jack is in the zone right now. He doesn’t know lyrics to any of our songs but somehow he knows this one” the singer ponders. Well, it is impressive either way.
The show continues to vary. We slow down a little bit with acoustic version of the emotive Missing You and Therapy, just to get back on the road of the punchy A Love Like War, Backseat Serenade and live favourite Take Cover.
It’s been a blast but the end is fast approaching. The confetti cannons have been kept for the grand finale as well as the tracks Lost In Stereo and Dear Maria, Count Me In.
As the lyrics of the latter “‘Cause I got your picture, I’m coming with you / Dear Maria, count me in / There’s a story at the bottom of this bottle” keep ringing for a while I reflect on the show. Surely, some hearts have been amended tonight as well as some have been broken and a few tears have been shed. I wish we’d been served with more new offerings but I guess we need to wait a bit longer until new album Last Young Renegade comes out later this year. I’m pretty sure, these guys are yet to surprise us big time.
Photos: Kasia Osowiecka