This review is going to take a bit of a different route and is more personal than anything Stork Music has ever done. It’s more of an editorial review, which we try to shy away from, but we hope it’s something different that you can relate to.
For those who aren’t familiar, welcome. I’m Thuy Lan (say it like twee-lawn), editor of Stork Music. For the past three years, All Time Low has played a show on or around the time of my birthday in cities near where I lived. For life up until two years ago, that was Milwaukee. For all those years, I never went because something was always in my way. This year looked like it would be no different.
I made an 1800 mile move across the country from a suburban Wisconsin town to the desert oven of a city, also known as Phoenix. My 20th birthday was approaching, and like clockwork, All Time Low was planning a fall tour.
Alex Gaskarth. Marquee. Tempe, AZ. Photo credit Kyra Wennersten.
For a while, I’d been contemplating reaching out to All Time Low for some concert coverage, but always stopped myself, worried that Stork didn’t have a wide enough audience to be considered, or that a blog wouldn’t be credible enough for a band that was selling out cross continental tours. And as every other year, All Time Low was playing a show in Milwaukee the week of my birthday. But I was in Phoenix.
What was different about this year was an email I received, asking if I would be interested in doing some coverage on some band called All Time Low. I thought maybe this would finally be the year, where I finally got to see All Time Low in concert for my birthday. Three years of missed birthday concerts was coming to an end—in a horribly bittersweet way.
In the car on the way to the Marquee (Tempe, AZ), I knew for some reason this didn’t just feel different, it was different. For the first time in three years, I was letting someone else take the photographs [shout out to my amazing roommate and friend, Kyra Wennersten for her incredible pictures and being my voice of reason at times], and watch the show from the crowd. Since Stork was created two years ago, I had been watching from the pit or from side stage. I hadn’t realized how much of a dissonance there had been between actually experiencing a concert and covering it for the site. Standing near the back of the crowd, I heard countless screams and gossip about the bands that were playing, and that was when I knew. I had grown up. Kids were talking about how their parents were going to pick them up after the show and how they hadn’t done their American history projects yet. Some were exploiting their freedom to spew profanity without parental disdain as a consequence, shouting things like “OH MY GOD, I’m so GOD DAMN excited for this F**KING BAND to play my favorite F**KING SONG like F**KING EVER, you guys F**K.”
Jack Barakat. Marquee. Tempe, AZ. Photo credit Kyra Wennersten.
Seeing Hit The Lights brought back memories of my first Warped Tour, and hearing The Summer Set’s signature line about monsters in beds had me reminiscing of the AP Tour. When All Time Low took the stage amidst deafening screams and a rhythmic cult-like “All-Time-Low” chant, I knew it would be my last show as a teenager.
Anyone who has ever seen All Time Low perform live knows that it’s high energy, fun, and wildly inappropriate. They put on one of the most visually appealing shows with coordinated lighting—Peter Pan green for ‘Somewhere In Neverland’ and Ravens purple during ‘For Baltimore.’ Fun banter between front man Alex Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat always evokes screams, whether the conversation is about Alex getting frisky with drummer Rian Dawson’s mom, or how sexy the band members are.
ATL played a handful of classic hits like ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In,’ ‘Poppin’ Champagne,’ ‘Remembering Sunday’ and ‘Jasey Rae.’ But it was their new track off Don’t Panic that got to me. ‘Somewhere In Neverland’ sparked a train of thought—I’d been like Peter Pan. I didn’t want to grow up. But it didn’t really matter what I wanted, I knew from that moment it was inevitable. What I also knew that from the genuine smiles on the face of every member on stage was that they were happy, doing exactly what they wanted. I knew that I wanted what they had. I’m doing that right now with Stork Music (though I’m not getting paid for it, boo) and I hope that in growing up, I’ll find that I can do what I love.
Alex Gaskarth, Zack Merrick. Marquee. Tempe, AZ. Photo credit Kyra Wennersten.
Seeing All Time Low then and now, I have watched them progress and grow into a band that’s matured lyrically and instrumentally and they continually put their all into every album and every show they play. When I think of a band that defined my adolescence and growing up, it won’t be the Backstreet Boys or *Nsync. Looking back, it will always be ATL—crying over boys while ‘Therapy’ played through my earphones, dancing to ‘Damned If I Do Ya’ in my room and watching almost every classic Disney movie after listening to ‘Somewhere in Neverland.’ I can safely say that All Time Low put on an amazing show, like they always do.
Thank you all for your support of Stork Music. Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions at all.