Okay. So. I realized that sometimes when I write show reviews, I’m not as objective as I should be. Personally, I’m okay with that, but at the same time, I feel that I should be very honest about a performance. I love all types of music; there’s nothing that I actually hate. If there ever IS anything that I hate, I make sure that it never appears on the site. I try to make sure that we’re focusing on the good and not the bad. However, I think it is important for any reviewer to talk about what works and what doesn’t work, so I wanted to try writing about both the good and the bad.
It was probably a bad idea to start adopting that philosophy for this particular review, because there was not a goddamned thing wrong with any of the four performances at this show. I was blown away. I tried so hard to find something wrong. Anything! Nothing. If you miss the Future Hearts tour while it continues its trek across the United States, you really are missing out on one of the biggest tours of the year.
On Monday night, Baltimore, MD pop-rockers All Time Low took the stage in San Jose, CA for a highly anticipated stop on their headlining tour, dubbed “The Future Hearts Tour”. The band had not been back in the Bay Area since September 2013, when they were one of the openings acts on the massive ADTR “House Party” tour that hit the SJSU Event Center. Fans flocked in packs from all across the Bay Area to witness a really special night of music.
The show was kicked off by one of the newer acts to hit the pop-punk scene in full force, State Champs. I saw State Champs once prior to this show. They played at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. At the SF show, they put on a splendid performance, but technically, there were still some bugs to work out. Their musicianship has since significantly increased, and in San Jose, they sounded better than ever.
Australia’s very own Tonight Alive took the stage just twenty minutes later. WOW. I think that this band surprised me the most out of anyone. I knew they were good, but they NAILED it. Every single song. Vocalist Jenna McDougall hit every note with bravado, while guitarists Whakaio and Jake Hardy, bassist Cameron Adler, and drummer Matt Best were perfectly in sync with one another. Not a single note was missed as the band played through songs from their two full length albums, “What Are You So Scared Of?” and “The Other Side”.
The nostalgia came flowing back to everyone when Issues took the stage for the second-longest set of the night. The stage was adorned with Pokemon themed décor, and the band showcased by far THE greatest amplifier set up I have ever seen in my entire life (refer to the picture below). Performance-wise, it was more of the same, but it was on-par with what I expect from Issues: high energy, powerful, and soulful mixed with a touch of chaos. You have this sense that it could fall apart at any moment, but it never does. That’s what keeps it so exciting, and so in line with rock-n-roll ideology.
Screams pierced from the crowd as the lights went down for the main event. A cloud of perspiration (literally) rises above the heads of everyone in the GA pit. All Time Low have never been a theatrics-heavy band. They’ve never needed it. After coursing through six songs in their catalogue that expand as far back as their 2009 effort, “Nothing Personal”, vocalist Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat immediately launch into a barrage of sex jokes and crude humor that rivals Blink-182. The set was heavy with songs from their most recent album, “Future Hearts”. It can be very rare for a band to play a show surrounding a new album, and have the fans want all of the new songs just as much as the old ones. In the case of All Time Low, however, the band have built up such a devoted fan base that this will never pose as a problem for them.
All Time Low knows what their audience wants, and they give it to them. The band pulls a group of teenagers up on stage from the crowd to sing “Time Bomb”, a song from their fourth album (their only major-label release) entitled “Dirty Work”. A girl remarks that her name is Rose. Without missing a beat, Gaskarth proclaims “Can I paint you like one of my French girls?” and then proceeds to reenact the ‘Top of the World’ scene from Titanic while Barakat screeches the Celine Dion theme into his microphone. Drummer Rian Dawson and bassist Zack Merrick help with the accompaniment by adding the song’s melody in the background while girls scream from the crowd, wishing it was them up there.
The band finishes the set with the usual “Dear Maria, Count Me In”, a song that has become the staple in their live set since the release of their second full-length album “So Wrong, It’s Right”. A blast of confetti showers the crowd as the night finally comes to a close. Fans leave the show excitedly, waiting for the moment that the band can come back for another visit.
Don’t despair, ATL fans: the band hinted that they will “more than likely” be coming back here very soon. Which means yes, there will be a new tour soon.
The Future Hearts Tour with All Time Low, Issues, Tonight Alive, and State Champs concludes on May 24 in Baltimore, MD. For more information on tickets and show dates, visit www.alltimelow.com.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.