There is a line in All Time Low’s song, Do It For Baltimore, that says “I don’t wanna say goodnight/the city comes alive when we’re together/why can’t Thursday last forever”. Well, in this case, it should be “Why can’t Tuesday last forever”. Last Tuesday I had the great pleasure of finally seeing All Time Low in Lawrence, Kansas. After years and years of listening to their songs on repeat, Twitter stalking each member, and watching their movie, Straight To DVD, over and over and over, my wait is done. The A Love Like Tour show with Handguns and Man Overboard definitely fits into my top five favorite shows.
All Time Low formed in 2003 in Baltimore, Maryland. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Alex Gaskarth, lead guitarist and back up vocalist Jack Barakat, bassist and back up vocalist Zack Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson have been inseparable since high school. That is when the band formed and started touring the day after their graduation. With recognizable hits such as Weightless and Remembering Sunday, it’s hard not to love this crazy and often times inappropriate band.
The title of ‘opening acts’ simply does not do these bands justice. Handguns and Man Overboard are both very dancy-alternative-pop-rock. Handguns kicked off the night with a mindblowing set including some of their newer songs like Heart vs. Head which makes you wonder why these guys aren’t more popular by now, and also some old school Handguns such as Gag Reflex. No matter which album or year, these guys’ songs are all fabulous.
Man Overboard has been a personal favourite for years. When I first heard Love Your Friends, Die Laughing I fell in love. Lucky for me, the genre bending pop-punk group closed with that song, after playing World Favorite and Fantasy Girl. It was a dream come true seeing them for first time since their Vans Warped Tour set. The band was full of energy and jokes on stage, it got the crowd to do more than just stand around. Man Overboard sets the standard of how pop punk bands should collectively look like on stage. With good music, crowd interaction, and even including us in their own conversations with each other on stage.
Finally, after playing a list of songs on the speakers, including That Shit Crazy by Jay-Z ft. Kanye West, it got dead silent for a few seconds before Rian Dawson walked to his drum set. From there, it was full of screaming fangirls (yes boys, you are also fangirls). The four piece played songs as old as Coffeeshop Soundtrack and as new as A Love Like War, and everything in between. In the middle of the set, Barakat made a big deal out of the fact that they had never been to Lawrence, Kansas before that night and all the Harry Potter movies had been released, between when the band formed and when they finally got here. It was quite the production to say the least.
Right before they started Time Bomb, Gaskarth showed the ultimate example of audience interaction – he pulled up three super fans on stage to perform a song with him. It was an act of true appreciation for how much the fans have done for the band. Notably, Gaskarth stopped Remembering Sunday when he saw an audience member faint. He got her a bottle of water from the stage supply, took a selfie with her, and continued the song right where he left off. Remembering Sunday originally features Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter, but Gaskarth sang that part as well. The same was done for Vic Fuentes’ part in A Love Like War.
When the set was over, the crowd cheered and cheered for an encore until they all came back out for three more songs. It is the band’s tradition to close every show with Dear Maria, and they did just that. There were no negative parts of the show. The crowd had a few small moshpits, the bands were all super energetic, and the venue was perfect for the amount of lights used (it was a lot). I don’t think anyone went home with full voice and hearing intact. It was definitely a night I will never forget. If you haven’t seen Man Overboard, Handguns, or All time Low live yet, I highly suggest you find out when they’re coming to you. You won’t regret it.
All photos by Alie Krohn