LIVE: All Time Low @ O2 Apollo, Manchester (23/03/2017)

Date: March 23rd 2017
Venue: O2 Apollo, Manchester
Support: Waterparks / SWMRS


Starting their story with the humble beginnings of high school, aged around 15/16 years old, All Time Low managed to get the formula right pretty early on in their careers. It’s been since their 2005 EP ‘Put Up Or Shut Up’ that they’ve been rising stars in the world of pop-rock/pop-punk, and here we are in 2017 with album seven on the way, and it looks like they still have a firm stranglehold on the genre.

Opening up on their latest headline tour across the UK, a lot of what Waterparks [5] are doing as they burst into the spotlight isn’t too dissimilar to the early days of the headlining act, but they don’t quite have the boxes ticked. Their debut album ‘Double Dare’ is only a few months old, and a lot of the crowd already know the words to the likes of ‘Stupid For You’ and set closer ‘Royal’, but everything comes across overly cheesy and a little cartoon-ish. Ultimately, it leaves a weak aftertaste and much to be desired.

Where Waterparks bring a slop of pop, SWMRS [6] bring a chunk of punk. They definitely seem a little more of an unexpected choice of support, with their take on punk being far less radio and hook friendly, but they certainly bring a lot of energy. Drummer Joey Armstrong certainly has punk in his veins thanks to his dad, and his fills are formidable, and brothers Cole and Max Becker‘s vocal trade-off certainly makes things a little more interesting, but in the end it seems more of a confusing mish mash onstage that lacks cohesion, and as a result it’s hard to stay focused on enjoying what’s going on.

Of course, from the moment that Maryland pop-punk poster boys All Time Low [8] take to the stage, the whole of the O2 Apollo seems to stand on a pin (or, tack) at the exact same time judging by the inhuman and painful pitch and volume of the screams that erupt all over. But, they have every right to be excited. Now soon to have seven full-length albums under their belt, the band have a pretty impressive bounty of bangers for ammunition, and they seem to be firing them out with startling precision tonight.

Set staples like ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ and ‘Weightless’ are obvious fan favourites, and with the latter it’s sometimes hard to hear Alex Gaskarth‘s vocals over the crowd, but nothing sounds like more of a serenade than when Gaskarth is alone with his acoustic guitar and leaves the crowd’s voice to soar during the chorus of ‘Therapy’.

Set closer ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ is another massive highlight, but new cut ‘Dirty Laundry’ is one that has already caught on with the fans, and one that shows the band’s intentions for the future. They’re clearly paving the way towards a slightly more mature sound and, if new record ‘Last Young Renegade’ carries on in the same light, then All Time Low could be well setting themselves up for a new era where they’ll be headlining to crowds at least twice this size.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)