LIVE REVIEW: All Time Low, O2 Academy Brixton, 23/09/2021
Having released their eighth studio album back in April 2020 in the form of the pop-leaning sunny side of punk Wake Up, Sunshine, it could be said All Time Low were one of the first bands to feel the full effects of touring being taken away in the midst of an album campaign. But now well over a year down the line, the All Time Low boys returned back to Brixton where they belong, for a two-night sold out UK return that feels like a triumphant home away from home homecoming of sorts for the US based quartet.
Getting proceedings under way for the second headlining night at the sloping home of live music at the O2 Academy in Brixton, fellow American pop-punk and rockers Meet Me @ The Altar and The Maine generate electric levels of energy for their respective sets, ahead of All Time Low themselves. By the stage call time of 9.15pm rolls around for the Maryland music makers, two years of pent-up, stored up and held back enthusiasm for live music erupts as All Time Low roll seamlessly into the euphoric and futuristic visuals and AI voice-over of their stage production build up, before bursting out into opener Some Kind Of Disaster. Vocalist Alex Gaskarth graces O2 Academy with “I’m a liar, I’m a cynic/I’m a sinner, I’m a saint/I’m a loser, I’m a critic/I’m the ghost of my mistakes/And it’s all my fault that I’m still the one you want/What are you after?/Some kind of disaster?,” enough to send shivers down the spine and get pure elation plastered across four band members and 4,000 fans’ faces in an instant.
After the opener came Last Young Renegade track Dark Side Of Your Room. The neon glow from the light illuminates Brixton to new levels of beauty, as radiant glimmers of the stage visuals create an atmosphere you could only capture through not a studio recorded album, but an actual live show. A call to arms to the lost and heartbroken, the lyrics “With nights like these, who needs the days?/I’ll shut my eyes and sleep them away/I’m on the dark side of your room/With the notches on your bedpost,” brings a whole different anthemic dynamic to the table tonight, the resonance being felt throughout the echoes of thousands under the dome-shaped roof singing them directly back to the band.
All time classic ATL hits balanced out the band’s shiny new tunes between endless on-stage banter between Gaskarth and Jack Barakat about lemons, London and British bakery staple Greggs sausage rolls came a wave of ATL nostalgia, in the form of Six Feet Under The Stars, Lost In Stereo, Therapy and Weightless, to which the latter bassist Zack Merrick’s classic take off move makes its long-awaited live comeback. All have remained setlist staples over a decade down the line since their inception, this is only a true testament to how strongly these beloved fan favourite All Time Low tunes remain in the band’s growing back catalogue.
The rocky riffs of new one PMA, the seize the moment mantra of Once In A Lifetime and pre-encore tune Glitter & Crimson come up next. Slotting side by side with some of the band’s best hits, these new ones only prove that All Time Low’s later material can pop off just as much as their all-time greats.
Saving their best for last, All Time Low round off their second sold out night at Brixton’s o2 Academy in the style of smash Dear Maria, Count Me In. “I got your picture, I’m coming with you/Dear Maria, count me in/There’s a story at the bottom of this bottle/And I’m the pen,” rip roars around the iconic introduction to deafening levels of screamed back lyrics and every single person off their feet. A fitting end to a very warm welcome back under the Brixton gaze for this band, it’s been a very long four years since All Time Low played it last, but it felt like these pop-punkers never even left.
Written by: Katie Conway-Flood