Unsurprisingly, the crowd for All Time Low tonight is filled with females. What is notable though is the age range. There are the old faithfuls who have clearly loved Alex Gaskarth and Co for the past decade, whereas some could easily have been born around the same time they released their first record. It’s not a stadium in Aus yet, but All Time Low have a broad appeal that clearly has them on that trajectory.
The Maine kick off the proceedings with fresh cut Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu from their new record Lovely Little Lonely. They’re on the former end of the pop-punk spectrum and are more than qualified to warm up the crowd. Singer John O’Callaghan seems awkward at first but as the set progresses his vocals are so impressive, it’s an easy win. Who knew it’d be so hard to get a guy up on stage? One lad absolutely refuses in fear of losing his spot. Eventually O’Callaghen pulls a slightly bewildered “Jackson” on stage, who doesn’t quite seem to know what to do with thousands of girls screaming his name. Given the opportunity for vocal duties for Girls Do What They Want, Jackson throws out his arm and the best Angry Anderson impression we’ve ever seen as he sing-shouts “girls do what they want/boys do what they can”. The poor soul is so nervous but he makes the most of his situation.
Neck Deep are part of the new vanguard that ATL and Blink before them spearheaded, and they take to a large stage with ease. The more crowd friendly (see: songs to jump to) are easily more well received than the circle-pit inducing punk beats. That’s not to say that older cuts like Losing Teeth don’t make their mark, but Kali Ma sees a lot more of the crowd moving to Ben Barlow’s command. The one-two punch of December and Can’t Kick Up The Roots is a masterstroke. Standing as easily two of the band’s best songs, when Neck Deep hit their stride everything just works.
All Time Low may have been around for over 10 years but the screams haven’t wavered. As soon as Gaskarth arrives on stage for a bare-bones introduction of Weightless there’s a seismic shift of people clambering to get closer. The full band arrive, and it’s pure sugar-coated adrenaline as the first guitar riff kicks off an entire venue chant of “maybe it’s not my weekend/but it’s gonna be my year”. The catchy choruses haven’t left either; Backseat Serenade from 2012’s Don’t Panic fits in just as well as does follow-up (and more mature) Life of The Party. The Angels and Airwaves vibe suits the impressive light show that spins from cool blues to blazing yellows at a moment’s notice. On maturity though, there’s still a healthy dose of banter between Gaskarth and partner in crime, guitarist Jack Barakat. It’s a testament that their jokes of banging our mums feel less tired and more like a perfectly captured time machine. Kids in the Dark and Last Young Renegade are more iffy cuts, but with a perfectly timed request to slow things down, Gaskarth takes to the stage solo and stuns with fan favourite Therapy. Stripped down to an acoustic performance, it’s clear that the singer could’ve easily made his way on his own.
Thankfully he didn’t as Six Feet Under The Stars and Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t) see the return of the band and the energy lifted high. A quick call to Barakat’s mum for Mother’s Day is a cute moment, even if she doesn’t understand that she’s currently talking to thousands of people through the booming PA. Lost In Stereo and Jasey Rae are a welcome nod to older fans, but the finale of Dear Maria, Count Me In sends the entire crowd into a fever pitch. A giant blast of confetti blankets the floor and for a moment, it’s impossible to tell if there’s still a stage behind a sea of red and white. With another blast for good measure, the band throw guitar picks and drum sticks into a sea of hungry fans desperate for a memento. Those who didn’t manage to score anything physical still have outstretched arms for a selfie with grins stretched wide. A #nofilter pic and the memories are good enough for them after a night of pop-punk excellence; until the band return next year of course.
Written by Jonty Simmons
Images by Elizabeth Kent