Punk is not dead, neither is All Time Low
A humid, sweaty, and sold out Bourbon Theatre couldn’t keep the spanning definition of Generation Y away from seeing All Time Low, a band that helped define a genre and subsequently stepped out of the glaring spotlight with it. As a band that doesn’t take putting on a show lightly, All Time Low kept the audience on their feet for over an hour, and reminded everyone of the songs that made the pop punk genre a staple for so many.
In a night filled with highlights, two in particular defined the show for everyone that wasn’t crowd-surfing or meeting the band after the show. Halfway through the show, lead singer Alex Gaskarth picked up an acoustic guitar to sing Remembering Sunday, a classic song in the band’s discography that turned the Bourbon audience into a church choir. After singing most of the song by himself, he was joined on stage by Cassadee Pope, the Season 3 winner of “The Voice” and the lead singer of Hey Monday, for a raw and powerful duet to end the song. The duet, which in the studio recording features Juliet Simms, another “Voice” alumni, was more than acceptable based on the decibel of screams she received as she left the stage.
Not much later in the packed set, the band asked for a volunteer to join them on stage. A somewhat puzzled audience watched as an unremarkable guy from about 20 feet away was asked to join them on stage to help with the next song. Encouraged to bring his girlfriend, the two slowly made their way through the crowd and up the stairs to receive further instructions. After an awkward back-and-forth of dialogue, the ‘unremarkable’ guy pulled from the audience proposed on stage with the help of the band and a few hundred of his new closest friends (she said yes). It was at this point in the show that this writer remembered what was so great about pop punk. It’s not just catchy hooks, loud music, and, for others, attractive lead singers; pop punk is less of a genre, and more of a family. The musicians on stage are no different from their fans. The band was just able to put on paper how everyone was feeling then and now. Song after song, most of the audience sang every word with as much heart as Gaskarth did on stage.
For some, the nostalgia was palpable. Wearing t-shirts from 2007 and screaming the chorus of songs from a set that found steady footing in the songs that defined the band on their first two albums, these now post-teen fans proved that growing out of a music scene doesn’t necessarily mean you grow out of the music from it. Even parents, likely plagued with an endless attack on their mental state while their son or daughter grew up with their stereos on repeat, were dancing and singing along with classic songs in the back of the venue. With that said, pop punk has found a home on the playlists of those of the same age as the band’s original following. Young girls packed the front of the stage and spent the better part of an hour just trying to touch an iconic figure of the pop punk genre. For many in the audience, it was likely their first time getting to see a band that is known in large part for their shows. With ears ringing and a new t-shirt in hand, fans left on a buzz with the encore closer, “Dear Maria, Count Me In.”
One may have been quick to judge the authenticity of a pop-punk audience singing along with every word of Jay Z and Kanye West as they waited for the main act, but the first song of ATL’s set would make anyone believe they were a mainstream, Top 40 band. The diversity of the audience was a true testament to the longevity of the genre, despite its seemingly dimming limelight. All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth probably explains pop punk the best in his song, “Weightless:”
“Maybe it’s not my weekend, but it’s gonna be my year.”