LIVE REVIEW: All Time Low, Set It Off, Lauran Hibberd, OVO Arena Wembley, London, 17/03/2023
Photo Credit: Shiona Walker (15th March – Glasgow)
Baltimore pop-punk boys All Time Low have had a long-time love affair with the city of London. From filming in the heart of the city of London for the bands Future Hearts single Missing You, to their Wembley based One Night In London film back in 2015, All Time Low’s infatuation with Wembley Arena is like a teenage love, completely head over heels and endlessly attached.
Reviving old history, on the release day of their brand-new album Tell Me I’m Alive, All Time Low make a career defining return to Wembley arena eight years after their first, bringing the film cameras with them a second time round for a secret upcoming DVD and a worldwide livestream landmark event for the boys from Baltimore back in the city they call their second home. And with odd curse word, abundantly less inappropriate comments, yet pure fun-filled charisma, Baltimore boys All Time Low mellow for a lesson in maturity in their 30’s, proving it’s never too late to grow up, get out of your hometown and sell out one of the biggest arenas the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Bringing a charismatic energy that can easily compete with All Time Low’s, pop singer-songwriter Lauran Hibberd sweeps through her infectiously catchy and insanely hooky set, acting like All Time Low’s personal hype gal, enticing energy from her bandmates and hyping up the slowly pouring in audience with some emo nostalgia, delivering a flawless cover of Avril Lavigne’s pop-punk anthem Sk8ter Boi. 7/10
Just like their fellow American comrades Waterparks, there is an outlandish air of inoffensive annoyance that makes it hard to look past the surface of Set It Off. Their brightly colour popping aesthetics and catchy bunch of tunes attract a certain crowd, usually teenagers going through their neon emo streak. Opener Killer In The Mirror and closer Why Worry are clear fan favourites, however Set It Off are like marmite, you either love them or hate them, the latter unfortunately outweighing the first. 6/10
“I almost didn’t make it out earlier. I walked out and immediately started crying” confessed a crimson red suit wearing Alex Gaskarth three songs into All Time Low’s sold-out Wembley arena show. Luckily, Gaskarth and co. did make it out to kickstart their set with opener PMA, a party starting set opener that flourished in fun and kicked off All Time Low’s time in London off with a bang. Colourful confetti and inflatable beach balls bounce descend down onto the crowd that packs out the standing section on the floor, as the band effortlessly roll into following songs Let It Roll, frontman Alex Gaskarth making it perfectly clear “We are taking it back with this song” before bursting into fan favourites Something’s Gotta Give and Somewhere In Neverland, guitarist Jack Barakat who was spotted supporting his fellow Americans Fall Out Boy at their tiny Heaven album warm up show the day before, bouncing up and down the stages ramps like a kid on a sugar high.
Where there was nostalgia with the likes of Lost In Stereo, perhaps All Time Low’s best party anthem of the night, there was newness and on the day of dropping a brand-new album All Time Low would be stupid not to debut the new stuff in front of 12,5000 Hustlers. “I need to see circle pits,” commands Gaskarth upon unleashing into the new album’s title track Tell Me I’m Alive, the punky style breakdown erupting Wembley Arena quite literally into a ball of flames, before Modern Love comes right back into douse the punky fire with a shower of pure and unfiltered love.
If there was one thing cooler than the neon post night out glow Life Of The Party and Dirty Laundry give off, it’s the bands appreciation and gratitude for how far they have come from being four teenage boys making noise in the basement of drummer Rian Dawson’s parents’ garage. “We’ve been a band for 20 years it’s hard to do anything for 20 years but it makes it easier doing it with these guys and when fans like you come out to shows,” says Barakat, this year marking two decades since All Time Low brought their party popping brand of pop-rock and pop-punk to the scene. Song Basement Noise is a nostalgic and reminiscent reflection of such times, old school Polaroids flashing up on screen of a younger emo looking All Time Low from the Nothing Personal days to press shots surrounding the boys more recent Future Hearts era and beyond, every band has that one pivotal moment that snaps them into the reality of how far they have come and for All Time Low that moment was right here, right now.
If All Time Low didn’t end their set on the coughs that count in Dear Maria, Count Me In then it would have been highly likely that a full-on riot would have erupted. So for one last hurrah the band put on their best performance of their biggest hit to date, uniting the confetti-covered crowd for one last high energy singalong. It’s clear to see why All Time Low are selling out rooms like Wembley Arena and probably will be for the next 20 years. “From the bottom of our collective ATL hearts, thank you.” 8/10
Written By: Katie Conway-Flood
Photo Credit: Shiona Walker (15th March – Glasgow)