Live Review: All Time Low & Creeper – Arena, Manchester – 16/03/2018

Live Review: All Time Low & Creeper – Arena, Manchester – 16/03/2018

It’s a sign of just how far the rise and rise of All Time Low have come that, a little over a year after their first arena headline run on our shores, Baltimore’s finest have the self-belief to act as their own main support.

Whereas previously the quintet had utilised both a veteran huge name and a buzz band with younger fans to help shift tickets, on this tour they relied on a combination of AH’s favourite gothic punks, a celebration of their caree- making debut album and the sure-fire knowledge that ’Last Young Renegade’ was written to sound at its best in arenas.

  • Photos by Jez Pennington.

From the off, Creeper look every bit as at home performing in an Arena as they did owning the Download Main Stage last year. It’s clear not that all of the ATL devotees present are entirely familiar with the band to begin with, but watching Will Gould bewitch each and everyone of them with his magnetic stage presence is a joy to behold. ’Suzanne’ and ’Hiding With Boys’ both sound ace blasting around the cavernous space and hit their target with what are rapidly becoming thousands of new die-hard fans. The always special ’Misery’ is particularly spine-tingling in its delivery to close out a near perfect opening set. (4/5)

  • Photos by Jez Pennington.

That set things up nicely for the blast of nostalgia that was All Time Low’s first set of the evening as they performed ‘So Wrong It’s Right’ in its entirety. A backdrop emblazoned with the artwork blocked off much of the stage, making a fair attempt at bringing more of a club show feel to the space, and the band appear to revel in being able to revisit their past. Jack Barakat’s mouth running to guitar playing balance is even heavily in favour of the latter, which is an achievement in itself. ’Poppin Champagne’ and ’Holly (Would You Turn Me On?) are as riotously good fun and full of youthful exuberance as ever, however, it’s the mass singalong to ’Remembering Sunday’ that provides the standout moment of set number one.

Fifteen minutes and a whole lot more stage space and high def screens late, Alex Gaskarth and his bandmates are back to finish what they started as they crank up the production, showmanship and song delivery up to eleven. If we thought the collection of songs that made up ‘Last Young Renegade’ was impressive on record, this set was about to show just how excellent they can be made to sound.

‘Last Young Renegade’ sets the standard high straight out of the gate, but it’s ’Dark Side of Your Room’ that really confirms a triumphant arrival at a new peak for the band. Its melodic verses resonated gloriously while the stomping chorus gets thousands of fists held aloft. An airing of the always poignant ‘Missing You’ is supercharged with potency and emotion in this particular venue.

Elsewhere ‘Backseat Serenade’ and ’Weightless’ underpin the sheer volume of quality cuts scattered throughout ATL’s back catalogue. Later, ’Life of The Party’ is transformed into a shimmering epic live, complete with a haunting guitar solo from Gaskarth and fire shooting in all directions.

‘Dirty Laundry’’s killer hook feels practically life-affirming in this setting and gives the suspicion that the quartet will be playing arenas for years to come. Especially if they can keep crafting songs that are so ideal for such major shows. Main set closer ’Afterglow’ sees Gaskarth rock his best Bill Goldberg impression striding majestically through pyro along his central walkway. All that’s left is for ‘Good Times’ and ’Dear Maria’ to close out the evening in a grin-inducing, feel good encore. (5/5)

If All Time Low’s previous arena tours saw them tentatively dipping a toe in the water, this tour was a band revelling in their confirmed status as bonafide pop-rock megastars with the stellar songs and dazzling production quality to back it up.

5/5

Words by Dane Wright. Photos by Jez Pennington and taken at Alexandra Palace, London – 17/03/2018