One of my favorite pop-punk acts, All Time Low, graced the Pepsi stage during the Saturday lineup of PromoWest Fest to deliver a head banging, sweaty good time.
ATL opened their set with “Kids in the Dark” from their latest album, Future Hearts. Lead singer, Alex Gaskarth, smiled and waved as he shouted, “What’s up, Columbus!” Guitarist, Jack Barakat, dived into a sea of admirers and collected bras thrown onstage, wrapping them around his mic stand.
Their setlist was heavily comprised of songs from Future Hearts, which plays more to the pop side of their music than the pop-punk style that brought them to the forefront of the music scene.Still, they did make time for some throwbacks, with songs like “Lost In Stereo” from 2009’s Nothing Personal and “Six Feet Under the Stars” from 2007’s So Wrong, It’s Right.
One thing I hadn’t noticed at their previous concerts was how sharp they sounded live. Rian Dawson’s drumming perfectly extenuated Zack Merrick’s bass and Gaskarth’s vocals. ATL’s 12-year history can truly be seen by the way the instrumentals feed off each other.
The mid-afternoon sun proved to be uncomfortable in the packed crowd, as heat could be felt from every angle, but that didn’t stop festival-goers from moshing around during ATL’s set. The crowd was a mixture of loyal fans from ATL’s The Party Scene days to people who have only heard of their more popular tracks such as, “Dear Maria, Count Me In” and “Weightless.”
The young crowd thrived off of Alex and Jack’s perverted but good-hearted humor in between songs. “They’re inviting us up there to have an orgy later on,” Gaskarth said, pointing up to people on the deck of their apartment complex adjacent to McFerson Commons.
Another great thing about seeing All Time Low live is the kind of crowd they attract. With a barricade in front of us, people were casually chatting me up before they came on. No one was afraid of making conversation.
Alex, Jack, Zack, and Rian also have a profound respect for their fans, and it’s reciprocated in so many minor ways. Alex and Jack pointed out a lemonade stand in between songs and said how good lemonade sounded at the moment. One fan went out of the crowd to go buy the two of them lemonade and brought it back to the stage. “You’re my favorite fucking human being. Thank you so much,” Gaskarth said.
Towards the end of the set, Gaskarth encouraged people to get on each other’s shoulders to rock out and end the set with a lively performance of “Dear Maria, Count Me In.”
“This song charted at 60 or 70 in Ethiopia,” Barakat said, in an attempt to shine on the band’s moderate success.
All Time Low was an excellent addition to the lineup. A great way for the festival to draw away from the many indie and hip-hop acts playing later on in the night. It was great to see them perform again, especially after not having seen them live in so long. Even with their new music straying further away from pop-punk and more into pop, their hardcore fan base will not mind as long as they keep giving an energetic live show.