Baltimore pop-punk legends All Time Low have been around for quite some time — try fourteen years — and at their show on August 4th in Raleigh, North Carolina, it became obvious as to why.
The night began with the lively alt-rock band The Wrecks. The group is relatively new to the scene, but their limited discography didn’t stop them from wowing the crowd. Frontman Nick Anderson proved himself as a very entertaining and talented vocalist over the course of their set. The new material was abundant, including a song written with All Time Low’s own Alex Gaskarth. The crowd traded swaying for singing during the band’s closing song and biggest hit to date, “Favorite Liar”.
Next up was Waterparks, a pop-punk group hailing from Houston. While it may seem redundant to put them with All Time Low, Waterparks bring a whole new sound to the scene. Their setlist consisted mainly of tracks off of their latest release, Double Dare, and the crowd gladly shouted along. Lead singer Awsten Knight went as far as to stop their performance halfway through just so the band could walk offstage and return to cheers demanding an encore, with an explanation of, “All the greats do it.” Knight’s charm and humour kept such a move from appearing arrogant, thankfully, and they reappeared in front of the audience to close out their performance with their most recent single, “Stupid for You”. For a mere trio, Waterparks did a fantastic job of commanding the stage and working up the crowd.
The last opener slot was filled by Oakland punk-rockers SWMRS. They crashed onto the stage with their latest hit, “Palm Trees”, alongside All Time Low’s own Jack Barakat as a guest guitarist. Though dual vocalists Max and Cole Becker certainly don’t have the most melodic of voices, their evident passion and enthusiasm more than made up for it. Between songs like “Miley” and “Figuring it Out”, Cole Becker offered his opinions on the state of the world politically and socially. He insisted that everyone in the crowd needed to take care of not only themselves but each other, both inside the venue and afterwards. The band was definitely there to make a statement, whether the audience liked it or not — and maybe that’s something more shows need. SWMRS finished with “Drive North” before leaving the crowd drenched in sweat and ready for All Time Low.
At long last, the headliners finally took the stage, elevated by the cheers of a packed house. They wasted no time launching into their most recent album’s title track, “Last Young Renegade”. The band had lots of material to choose from when developing their set list (All Time Low boasts seven full-lengths as well as a handful of EPs and live compilations), but every generation of fan definitely left satisfied at the end of the night. Tracks like “Vegas” brought back the older days and created a noticeable ripple of excitement throughout the audience. Their latest release got even more of the spotlight with a performance of “Dirty Laundry”, which Gaskarth commented was his favorite song off of the album to play live (but also admitted that his opinion tended to change every day). Somewhere in the midst of it all, guitarist Barakat revealed their frontman’s near-disaster; apparently, Gaskarth’s flight had been cancelled and he had made it to Raleigh via seven hours in a pickup truck. Now that’s dedication.
“Nice2KnoU” and “Backseat Serenade” sped things up just in time to slow them down again. An acoustic rendition of “Missing You” and a heartfelt singalong of “Therapy” did the trick. Fan-favorite “Weightless” did a fantastic job of showcasing drummer Rian Dawson’s skill whilst amping up the crowd even more. Barakat’s quips with Gaskarth helped the hour-and-a-half long set fly by in the blink of an eye. In typical All Time Low fashion, “Time-Bomb” was performed with assistance from a group of fans pulled out of the audience and left everyone in high spirits for the band’s last song before walking offstage, “Good Times”.
They returned for a final encore of “Kids in the Dark”, “Drugs & Candy”, and (of course) “Dear Maria, Count Me In”. It’s fair to say that All Time Low made the absolute most of their time onstage, though the decision to forgo classics like “Jasey Rae” and “Remembering Sunday” no doubt left some slightly disappointed. Those tracks hold a certain nostalgia, but making room to demonstrate their new sound was something of a necessity for the band.
All Time Low have one of the most dedicated fanbases around, that’s for sure. It could be seen everywhere from the teenagers clad in Young Renegade jackets (in honor of the group’s latest album) to the drunk twenty-somethings calling out requests from the back of the room. Building such a loyal following is a special talent, and few bands have mastered it quite as well as this quartet.