Concert Review: The Wrecks, Waterparks, SWMRS, and All Time Low

By Contributing Writer: Olivia Henderson
Marquee Theater Tempe, Az.

With the combination of dancing pink and blue lights, overwhelming images and videos in the background, plus the high anticipation as everyone in the crowd pressed themselves against one another in chant for their favourite artists, it was without a doubt that the Baltimore-based pop-punk band, All Time Low, were delivering something special this night.

After 14 years of quotable lyrics, bathroom humour laughs, and emotional instrumental structures, All Time Low have made the name. With six studio albums, a few EPs and live albums behind them, the four piece released their seventh studio album this past June, titled: Last Young Renegade. Henceforth came the Last Young Renegade Tour.

It’s July 3rd down in Tempe, Arizona; a hot, slightly humid Monday night over at the Marquee Theatre. Outside, the line goes all the way down to the lake, but comes back up to wrap around the block. From boy to girl, from pre-teen to teenager to adult, this venue is filled in no time from the floor, up to the balcony above.

Within the hour, the lights go out and the audience is greeted by the first opener: The Wrecks. For only having three songs available, these five LA residents presented themselves as if they were born to have taken the stage. Even for those in the audience who had never heard of them, The Wrecks had come to wreck the crowd. And they did just so.

Next in the lineup, was the Houston boys, Waterparks. These three have certainly made a name for themselves within the past year, and do they ever know how to have fun while taking the stage. Fans of the danceable band were certainly in the crowd as lyrics were shouted back to the trio when given the opportunity to sing them out loud by themselves. In seemingly classic Waterparks fashion, the band bid adieu with a quick announcement to meet them back at their merch table for more.

Thirdly, SWMRS (formerly known as Emily’s Army) took the stage. They are an interesting mix when given the first impression. Lead frontman, Max Becker, personifies the old days of punk in his presence with frantic motions on stage. It was all in the delivery though, it fit, felt right and it captured attention. With unapologetic punk-savvy lyrics, again, these Oakland, CA blokes made an interesting first impression. And yet, it left the room hanging on to them, wondering what move the band might make next. This is a band to watch for more from.

It’s 8:59 PM. Phones are out in preparation to capture the first moment. Long hair is pulled up with hair ties to keep cool and out of the way. Last minute waters are bought. The crowd is anxious. After what seems to be the longest minute in concert history, they’re on. Everyone jumps and presses ‘record’ as All Time Low begins their set with the self-titled track, Last Young Renegade, off the latest album. Every fan is eating up everything; every guitar strum, every bass note, every snare hit, every lyric. It was like watching the fans re-discover the band for the first time all over again.

As every artist does try, All Time Low did not fail with their setlist. The band “Let It [Rolled]” with classics such as “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t),” “Backseat Serenade” and “Guts.” After the first third of the set, another newer track came to play: “Dirty Laundry.” It was interesting to watch the switch between fast, pop punk from the previous song to this one as this single is more electronic based. Yet, something about its live performance was very calming to experience. The lights had set the mood, plus a little humour was added in with the title and bras hanging from lead guitarist, Jack Barakat’s mic stand.

They’re halfway through the set when frontman and rhythm guitarist, Alex Gaskarth, makes an announcement for the following song. “Before we start this song, I want all of you to turn to the person next to you and get on their shoulders!” With a few sparing moments to let people adjust and get situated, the beginning chords of “Something’s Gotta Give” began. After the beautiful insanity, All Time Low gave the crowd and - just as sure - themselves a breather with the sentimental track, “Therapy.” For about four minutes, it was just Gaskarth, his acoustic guitar and the crowd. Yet, it felt like every fan in the room was sharing a one-on-one with Gaskarth; a true moment to be remembered.

The next few songs got the audience moving again as “Weightless,” “Life Of The Party,” and “Lost In Stereo” tore through the roof of the venue with every single body singing along. But just when the night could not feel any more exhilarating, Gaskarth implored the crowd once again. “Yeah! You and her! Come on up here!” Soon the venue was filled with an adoring “aw” as a little girl of about five years old with her mother came up on stage to join the band. Soon, Barakat and Gaskarth were pulling fans from the left, the right and everywhere in between to come up to join them. “Now,” Gaskarth began to explain the plan. “All of you out in the audience know how to show us, the band, a good time. But now, now I want you to show each other as a family, how we all can have a good time together!” With that, the track “Time Bomb” started and well, it was almost as if a time bomb had gone off in the venue. No foot stood still on the ground. Every fist and hand were held up high in the air. Tonight, this was everyone’s anthem.

Unfortunately, all “Good Times” must come to an end. Regretfully, the band said their goodbyes to the crowd, thanking the room for their time, dedication, and support. “For without you, none of us - Rian, Zack, Jack, and I - would be here with you today,” Gaskarth opened up. The fans raised their hands in applause, most of them shouting their own thank you’s back as this band has delivered like no other. After 20 songs, the band plugged in for the finale, “Dear Maria, Count Me In.”

It is not often that a band will make you feel that rush in your veins. It takes a special group of musicians to conduct such a feeling, especially for 14 years or longer. Here at BANGS! Entertainment, we thank All Time Low for providing us with that special feeling for a night. We hope to see you again soon. In the meantime, “[we] won’t forget the good times…

For Tour Date Information Through October 2017:
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