All Time Low

support Creeper + Hey Charlie
author LL date 08/10/17 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Having only seen All Time Low at an enjoyable festival show so far, I figured it was time to check them out properly at a headlining show of their own. To begin with, I have been skeptical of their latest few albums' change to a more pop rock-oriented sound than their earlier pop punk stuff but as you can read below, I ended up having a good time anyway. With the British shooting stars of Creeper billed as support, I sure am excited as I go out the door for the evening's show and I arrive just in time to check out most of the set by Hey Charlie, a band that has been previously unknown to me.

All pictures by Bo Källberg

Hey Charlie

Beginning a little before the announced time, the first band tonight is a trio that immediately strikes me as a British version of our local Velvet Volume. Like their Danish counterparts, their music is a grunge-tinged rock style with gritty riffs and heavy rhythms and they certainly groove out on stage like it's nobody's business. This is their first tour, they announce from the stage, but they're already good at throwing around casual banter between songs and easing us into their music although they are slightly nervous. The music itself is kind of simple, not least in the single "Hey" that seems made for singalongs with its namesake chorus that the receptive audience quickly chants along to. All three of them sing at various times, the bassist and guitarist primarily changing between being in front vocally. They don't always play super tight, though - a thing that would no doubt be less noticeable if they had more than one guitar in the mix. Nevertheless, they get cheers from all around the venue that is slowly filling up, and there's dancing and general rocking out around the place for their relatively short set.

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Creeper

When Creeper walk on stage there's a very different vibe immediately, as they break into their fast 'horror punk' music with a bang and a flash of light that shocks at least half the venue into acute attention for a slaying performance of "Black Rain". Just as the band before them, this one is British and the members are also donning a kind of band uniform although they each style it differently to make up six different band personalities with the common thread being their purple heart and skeleton face logo on all black clothes. The style is like a more traditional rock-influenced My Chemical Romance and the attitude is dramatic with choruses like "Suzanne! / I wanna die holding hands!" in the fast-paced "Suzanne" or the rhythmically repetitive yells of "Loving you is killing me!" from "Hiding With Boys". They end with the ballad "Misery" and another recognizable belted refrain that makes up the one melody from the entire evening that just won't get out of my head even two days later: "If you could see the wreck I am these days / You'd have new reasons to stay away / Just hold my hand for a little while / Misery never goes out of style". From their recognizable aesthetic to the big catchy melodies and fast pacing, everything about them is ready for so-called alternative kids everywhere to latch onto the Creeper movement. Their style is varied through the set, with some songs including lines sung by their female keyboardist and others including growls as well, which both support the main vocalist very well and give nuance to their punk music. Honestly, to me personally, they make the most impressive show of the three bands tonight through the sheer force of their performance that makes a solid impact even as it lasts less than 30 minutes. Here's to really hoping they'll come back for a headlining show sometime soon!

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All Time Low

And then we arrive at the band most of the young girls making up the bulk of the audience have crowded in front of the stage all evening to be as close as possible to. The pop punk group released their newest more pop rock-oriented album "Last Young Renegade" in June this year, so there has been ample time for their fans to learn every lyric of the new songs as evidenced by the loud singalongs for the album's title track that opens their set. As is the way of glossy pop punk as well as pop rock, pretty much every song played tonight is super catchy and there's constant movement in the crowd while the band goes through their routine with well-placed cheeky banter in strategic places. Especially vocalist Alex Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat are in focus and happily pose for the audience full of energy as this is just the third show of their current tour.

The two newest albums take up about half of the songs in the set overall but there's still something appearing from every album they have, except for their very first release. Some of the songs don't seem like the obvious choices but it doesn't seem to matter if All Time Low choose to play hits or lesser famous tracks - the reaction from the excited crowd is all the same. And there's no reason it shouldn't be really. The setlist is relatively long, the band performs solidly, the sound is on point and Gaskarth hits his notes like a pro with charming vibrato. They even seem to be in an extra playful mood tonight as they call out for a fan from the crowd to sing vocals for a cover of "All the Small Things" which he does so well that they follow up spontaneously with another Blink-182 song, "Dammit". During the encore later, they also encourage the audience enough with a few chords from Smash Mouth's "All Star" that we end up singing through most of the song before Gaskarth finally makes it stop.

There's a shift in the lyrics of their newer stuff that seems generally more mature than what they have released earlier and especially "Life of the Party" and "Dirty Laundry" make good impressions in that regard. They provide my personal stand-out moments of the show along with the slightly older "Missing You", "Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)", "Dear Maria, Count Me In", and "Weightless" ("Maybe it's not my weekend / but it's gonna be my year / and I'm so sick of watching while the minutes pass as I go nowhere" is possibly my favorite All Time Low chorus not least because it is followed by a textbook pop punk half-tempo breakdown reminding an older pop punk fan of the good old 00's...). The show does feel somewhat superficial to me overall, but it's really hard to mess with the fact that this band is probably the most well-playing and well-sounding pop punk band I've seen live. Altogether then, they play a solid show with lots of songs and the atmosphere among the dedicated fans is great all evening.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Last Young Renegade
  • 2. Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)
  • 3. Runaways
  • 4. Six Feet Under the Stars
  • 5. Backseat Serenade
  • 6. Guts
  • 7. Life of the Party
  • 8. Missing You
  • 9. Vegas
  • 10. All the Small Things (Blink-182 cover with fan from crowd)
  • 11. Dammit (Blink-182 cover with fan from crowd)
  • 12. Something's Gotta Give
  • 13. Dirty Laundry
  • 14. Nice2KnoU
  • 15. Therapy
  • 16. Weightless
  • 17. Lost in Stereo
  • 18. Good Times

- Encore

  • 19. Kids in the Dark
  • 20. Drugs & Candy
  • 21. All Star (Smash Mouth cover)
  • 22. Dear Maria, Count Me In

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