I would complain about the hoards of attitude-hungry high school hooligans who flooded the Best Buy Theater for Tuesday night's All Time Low
show, if it weren't for the fact that I was an eight year old when I swore my life long devotion to Blink-182, so therefore God is clearly making me pay my dues. But no matter how many eye rolls I tried to hold back at the gaggles of fourteen year old kids running around the venue, All Time Low and their opening bands inflicted an identical reaction of charged excitement into all of us, making me realize I am nowhere near mature enough to hold back screaming along with every youth-power anthem provided that night.
Doors opened early at 5:30 PM, and about an hour later the first band, rising pop-punk extraordinaires The Summer Set
, took the stage. Their set was short, but lead singer Brian Dales led the crowd into a frenzy with fan favorites such as "Punch Drunk Love", "The Boys You Do", and the song that captured the evening's theme of reckless devotion most accurately: "Young". They wrapped up with one of their most recognizable hits, "Chelsea", which was written for former Disney actress and current Dancing With The Stars
contestant Chelsea Kane during her romance with Dales. The crowd was visibly disappointed when The Summer Set left the stage, but the following acts only proved to continuously raise the bar from that moment forward.
Next up were Hey Monday
, a talented group who lean a little more towards the pop side of pop-punk, mostly due to the vocal inferences that come with having a girl as lead singer. Cassadee Pope stepped on stage last night with longer hair (causing her to look uncannily like Ashley Greene), but still expressing the same unparalleled talent as in her pixie-cut days, proving Hey Monday to possess just as much bursting power and addictive hooks as other female-led pop-rock group Paramore. After their last song, the crowd really began to buzz as we awaited the final opener: Yellowcard
. Maybe because there is something a little awkward about Yellowcard now opening for a band whose members were freshman in high school during the days of "Way Away", but it was clear that the audience was not prepared for just how much they were about to enjoy what the violin-playing group had brought to the Dirty Work Tour. Lasting a little bit longer than the first two, Yellowcard's set was almost as energetic and electrically engaging as the headlining band to follow. The absolute highlight came with the emotionally charged performance of "Only One", at which point every crowd member screamed out each line with their fists in the air, all dignity forgotten.
At last, about three hours since doors opened, the lights went down for a fourth time to welcome the kings of the night: All Time Low. The power of internet leaks became immediately apparent, as every single audience member chanted along with the opening number, "Time Bomb", an unreleased track from their upcoming fourth album Dirty Work
, due out June 7th. As the night progressed, the band favored the catchy, hook-driven, attitude-filled tracks from 2009's Nothing Personal
such as "Stella", "Sick Little Games", "Break Your Little Heart", and the album's second single "Damned If I Do Ya". These were interspersed with well known anthems from their early years, including "Jasey Rae", "Coffee Shop Soundtrack", and "Six Feet Under The Stars", as well as their newest single from Dirty Work
: "I Feel Like Dancin". The performances were of course punctuated with the usual antics from guitarist Jack Barakat, who flung himself onto his back, crossed his legs, and played guitar in this position for the majority of "Break Your Little Heart", sat on top of a five foot speaker throughout "Sick Little Games", during which he just left the stage, finally returning for following song "Poppin Champagne" wearing a Tron helmet.
They wrapped up this non-stop sweat fest with the infectious power guitar and pop-soaked melody of "Lost In Stereo" before Jack, drummer Rian Dawson, and bassist Zack Merrick left the stage to lead singer Alex Gaskarth for a brief acoustic set. There was some messing around as Alex lead the crowd in a singalong of "No Scrubs" and "Teenage Dream", but then quickly prompted the crowd to lift their lighters into the air for "Remembering Sunday", during which the entire audience spontaneously took a seat on the floor to let the surprising power of Gaskarth's vocals possess the moment. It was no surprise when Hey Monday's Cassadee Pope returned to the stage at this point to sing the female lines of "Remembering Sunday", providing an impressive duo of vocal strength.
The band then returned to the stage for their final song, "Therapy", which elevated the emotional and heartfelt tone created during Alex's acousic number. He introduced the song by telling the crowd that "this goes out to anyone who was told the way they feel is the wrong way to think and the wrong way to feel", and then dedicated it to the victims of September 11th in the wake of recent political events, prompting the crowd into a "USA" chant.
Though finishing with a serious tone, the encore restored All Time Low's off-the-cuff character. Off stage, Alex reassured us of his continued presence in the venue by singing the Oscar Meyer theme song into his mic, followed by some of his trademark Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge-esque banter with Jack. This led the band back onto the stage for their final songs of the night, "Weightless" and "Dear Maria", ending a vigorously passionate night with just as much electric energy as the crowd began with when we all raced through the doors five hours before.