Live Review: All Time Low – O2 Academy, Newcastle, 25th September 2009

All+Time+LowTonight saw pop-punks All Time Low roll into Newcastle for the first time in over two years as they kick off their sold out UK tour. Demand is clearly high, having been upgraded from the 400-capacity Academy 2, to the 2000-capacity main room, and the hordes of screeching 13-year-old girls who have been queuing since crazy o’clock, make it pretty unbearable for anyone over the age of 18.

With kids still flooding in, The Friday Night Boys, who are playing their first UK show – fittingly on a Friday night – kick the show off with Suicide Sunday. Those who have made it inside are lapping up every second of the quartet’s set full of tooth-rottingly sweet pop tunes, including Permanent Heartbreak and Molly Makeout (sans a guest appearance by Alex Gaskarth), from their debut album, Off The Deep End, as the band successfully orchestrate a unison of enthusiastic claps and waves, and even set off a mosh pit. As things come to an end with the single Stuttering, featuring the breathy vocals of Andrew Goldstein, somewhat reminiscent of Metro Station, it is safe to say that these boys from Fairfax, Virginia gained a fair few fans tonight, and deservedly so.

Unlike their predecessors, The Audition are far from strangers to these shores, having been over four times alone this year – not that anyone is complaining about that tonight. Their generous 40-minute set begins with My Temperature Is Rising and is predominantly Self-Titled heavy. However, the band delve deeper into their catalogue playing Dance Halls Turn To Ghost Towns and You’ve Made Us Conscious, from their debut, Controversy Loves Company.

By far, the strongest performance of the night, as the band confidently boast their tight musicianship and unique sound of bouncy, technical guitar work courtesy of Seth Johnson, along with their toe-tappingly heavy basslines and dancey drumbeats, during songs such as The Way You Move and Warm Me Up. The impressive powerhouse vocals of Danny Stevens are particularly shown off during a stripped-down version of Los Angeles, as the charismatic frontman is left to go solo, armed with an acoustic.

An unexpected cover of Katy Perry’s Hot ‘N’ Cold goes down an absolute treat and provides the biggest sing-a-long of the night – well, apart from 3OH!3’s Don’t Trust Me during the following interval. A surprisingly brilliant performance.

Finally, it is time for tonight’s much anticipated headliners, All Time Low, as the pretty boys with pretty hair dive straight into things with the energetic Lost In Stereo, from the recently released, Nothing Personal. Other new tunes such as Break Your Little Heart and the summery Stella, receive just as much of a vivacious reaction as old favourites like Six Feet Under The Stars, with the loyal and obsessive contingent singing word-for-word to every song.

Oldies Jasey Rae and Coffee Shop Soundtrack make their way into the set, but it’s all pretty predictable stuff, with no real surprises. Frontman Alex Gaskarth then begins to acoustically play the soppy Remembering Sunday – no doubt making those in attendance swoon even more so. Singles Poppin’ Champagne and their biggest hit Weightless get the masses enthusiastically bopping up and down, singing along to their heart’s content.

Disappointingly, the band’s usually entertaining on-stage chitchat is virtually non-existent, apart from the odd, “Vagina!” embarrassingly spouted by guitarist Jack Barakat, as they mainly stick to bog-standard banter such as “Check out our new album!” – nonetheless, the easily-pleased crowd still eat up every syllable coming out of the mouths of their favourite band.

Following Weightless, the band leave the stage, only to return for a two-song encore of, as you can guess, Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t) and Dear Maria, Count Me In, ending with Jack giving up his guitar duties and bravely going down to the barrier, allowing himself to be groped in some precarious places by the manic pre-pubescent crowd.

An enjoyable performance, full of fun sing-a-longs, yet very short-lived, timing in at a measly 45-minutes, and along with the predictability of it all and band’s lack of real gusto, this wasn’t as good as it could have been. Although, the majority will probably disagree.

Faye Turnbull.

Photos of the show, as well as interviews with The Audition and The Friday Night Boys will be posted very soon!

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