When you attend an All Time Low show, you can expect several things. First, you can expect witty banter between frontman Alex Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat anytime there isn’t music playing. Second, you can expect bras to be thrown onto the stage, and more than likely, one of the members will pick one up and wear it over their head. And third, you can expect incredible musicianship and one helluvah good time.
So was the scene at City National Civic last Monday night when the band took the stage for a co-headlining slot on the aptly titled “Back To The Future Hearts” Tour. Music scene veterans All Time Low returned to the Bay Area for the second time this year, this time bringing along Sleeping With Sirens, fast-rising pop-punk outfit Neck Deep, and up-and-coming rock band One OK Rock (all the way from Japan).
I was rather impressed by One OK Rock, who kicked off the show around 6 PM. I had seen them once before, but it was so long ago and so brief that I couldn’t really remember the music. I was pleasantly surprised. The band were full of energy and a lot of fun to both watch and photograph.
Next up was Neck Deep, another band that really stuck out to me on the bill. All Time Low are a pop punk band, but they’ve lately veered more towards a pop-rock sensibility rather than a “The Story So Far” or “Neck Deep” type sound. The set worked incredibly well with the audience though. While I didn’t really see anyone moshing, people were singing the words to all of the new material, and the band sounded impeccable.
Sleeping With Sirens finally took the stage shortly after. The band haven’t been back in the area since their co-headliner with Pierce The Veil in January, but based on the way the crowd was screaming for them, you’d think they had been gone for years. They opened in the perfect way, launching straight into “Kick Me”, the energetically-charged first track from their most recent album Madness (their Epitaph records debut).
One thing that really pleased me about their set was the band’s willingness to explore their career. In previous shows I’d seen with SWS, they’d really only explore one or two albums. These guys have four solid records and an EP, so I was pleased to hear that they went further back into their catalogue and played “Roger Rabbit” from their If You Were a Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack EP. The crowd went nuts.
All Time Low made their long awaited return to the stage about a half hour after SWS stepped off the stage. A curtain appeared, the band members’ silhouettes outlined by white flashing lights as they played the short intro track from Future Hearts, “Satellites”. The curtain dropped, launching the band straight into “Kicking And Screaming”. The set list was heavily comprised of tracks from the band’s newest album, which to me felt like a very good sign. It’s always nice to see a band play a ton of material from the new album, and see the fans respond to it well, because it shows not only that the band have faith in it, but that the fans have faith in it too.
While they still didn’t reach far enough back into their catalogue to cover tracks from Put Up or Shut Up (unfortunately, I think those days are long gone), they went as far back as So Wrong It’s Right, with Gaskarth playing a solo rendition of “Remembering Sunday” to an overwhelmingly positive response from fans. To my surprise, they even played of their best tracks off of Dirty Work, “Do You Want Me (Dead)”.
About halfway through the show, Gaskarth dons an acoustic guitar to play a Future Hearts track called “Missing You”. The venue wasn’t fully packed, but during that moment, everyone got very quiet. Some people sang, but others remained quiet while the band just did their thing. It made me feel…I don’t know. One thing is for sure: moments during shows like that showcase what music is best at making people do: feel alive.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.