Like many other fourteen-year-old girls, All Time Low was the first band of which I ever considered myself a fan. I blogged about them, wore T-shirts, bracelets, bought new CDs, and attended the shows. Eventually, I grew out of them, and pushed them aside as a “scene phase” band. But when I heard that the Baltimore band was going to be in my hometown, I decided I owed it to middle-school-Hannah to go.
I was very comforted to step outside the car and see girls that had to be at least in their twenties in high heels . My mom had been making fun of the immature band all day, and even my peers were criticizing me for the juvenile fanbase — so you can imagine the relief to see ladies even older than me. But just as the girls in heels left, I was introduced to girls with braces, accompanied by a mom taking pictures to remember their first concert.
The first act was another band that I devoted my eighth grade years to — Sleeping With Sirens. I had a bit of hidden excitement to see the post-hardcore band, as I had never gotten the chance to back when I considered myself a fan. However, the only word I could come up with to describe the vibe I got during the set was awkward.
The awkwardness that pierced the air when lead singer Kellin Quinn tried to force a group of fourteen-year-olds to do a circle pit, even stopping the song to teach them, kind of put a damper on an otherwise great set. The music itself was delivered quite nicely — Quinn often receives criticism for his nearly soprano voice, yet I think it is refreshing to hear such delicacy set against the rock instrumentals behind him. Yet there was just something about the stage presence that threw me off. Most likely, it was due to such a stark contrast from how much All Time Low interacts with their crowd (more on that later) as opposed to Kellin, who is known to be a little too prideful of his alternative fame.
On to All Time Low. Before I left the house, my sister told me that going to this rock show made her nervous — it happened to be the day after the tragic events in Paris. As I made my way to the stage, a huge white sheet was dropped over it, and the French flag was projected onto it. This filled my heart with joy, as it was such a simple yet powerful stance of solidarity. The band had played the venue before, and all found themselves emotionally triggered by the acts.
Before I knew it, the show had begun, and I was surrounded by people of all ages as they pushed as close to the stage as possible. Not even two songs into the show, a father yelled “you’re my daughters birthday present!”, and guitarist Jack Barakat personally handed the birthday girl a guitar pick. This simple gesture reminded me why I drew “Mrs. Jack Barakat” all over my middle school notebooks — just like that, I’m hooked on this band again.
This wasn’t the only gesture of sweetness that caused widespread smiles (and jealousy) from the crowd. Jack picked a girl to come on stage and play his guitar, Alex let another fan pick what song they played next (through a game of rock paper scissors) and interacted with the crowd to the point where they put on an impromptu Fall Out Boy medley and cover of the guacamole meme .
The crowd was young, sure, but the band showed no signs of immaturity. In fact, they have noticeably grown as musicians since the last time I saw them just three years back. So don’t let the teenage following fool you — the boys have been a band for twelve years now, and are only continuing to grow as musicians, promising an even better show each time you see them.
Hannah is an accidental internet meme, drummer, loud talker, and proud owner of a purse that functions as a working analog clock. She got the media writer gene from her dad, PF Wilson, another writer for Pop Culture Beast. Her favorite bands come and go on a seasonal rotation, but Marina & The Diamonds and Say Anything are here to say. She’s probably watching The Grand Budapest Hotel right now, but if she isn’t, she’s out photographing rock concerts.