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All Time Low and Pierce The Veil Play To Sold Out Crowd
The house lights dimmed and the ballroom erupted as You Me at Six took the stage. Opening with “Loverboy”, the night was in full swing as the band played their brand of refined alternative rock to the impassioned crowd. Though the band had the job of opening the show, one could have easily mistook them for the headlining band. You Me at Six is definitely a polished band. Aside from the small banners on each side of the stage, there was little to no stage production, as if the band needed it. This just made it easier to focus on the music. Singer Josh Franceschi commented how great the crowd was and how surprised he was to see so much crowd surfing during the first song. Before leaving the stage, the band promised that they would be back during their headlining tour in the fall.
The next source of elation for the crowd was Mayday Parade. Bringing their infectious pop punk jams to the ballroom Saturday night, the sold out crowd danced and sang emphatically with singer Derek Sanders through hits like “Jamie All Over”, “Jersey”, “Oh Well, Oh Well” and an enthusiastic cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Which during the latter, Pierce The Veil singer Vic Fuentes came on stage to help out with vocal duties. The surprised crowd ate up every second of it and despite Mayday’s set coming to a close, they still wanted more.
Personally, Pierce the Veil was the stand out band on the bill. Before the band even went on stage, the entire ballroom began chanting “PIERCE THE VEIL!” at the top of their lungs. The curtain opened revealing an elaborate set production, saw blade breaking wheels with zombies bound to them in the middle ground, and a giant back drop adorning the band’s name with fluorescent colors splashed across it.
Opening the flood gates, the band broke in to “Hell Above” off of their latest offer “Collide With The Sky”, blasting the crowd with their sonic assault and….confetti? Confetti! The band fuses hardcore melodies with pop punk catchiness, which makes the music all that much more fun to lose yourself to. And the crowd did lose themselves. Crowd surfing and opening up massive mosh pits that would make most death metal bands blush, the band orchestrated the once bouncy dance floor into a catastrophic swarm of bodies flailing back and forth. The band did manage to briefly soothe the crowd with an acoustic rendition of “I’m Low on Gas and You Need a Jacket” but that serenity was short lived when Veil threw the hammer down with “Caraphernelia” and newest single, “Bulls in The Bronx”.
The band had been running on all cylinders and not once during their merciless set were there ever signs of exhaustion. After witnessing what Pierce The Veil had to offer, I was curious as to how All Time Low would perform after these guys, surely a tough act to follow.
Between sets I had the opportunity to speak with a fan of All Time Low. Steph F. told me how this was actually her seventh and last time seeing the Spring Fever Tour before heading back home to the east coast. “All the bands on this tour are great. But All Time Low is life changing.” She explained. “They’re so amazing, so much fun to see. They mean everything to me!” another fan, Megan J. told me. I’m sure the rest of the crowd shared the same fondness of the band. One fan in particular; whom I couldn't track down, hung a banner from the balcony saying that they were missing their prom to see the band. That’s some dedication.
Once again the lights fell and a single spot light hit the stage as a ring announcer walked out with a wrestling belt around his shoulder and introduced each band member, Michael Buffer style. The guys hit the stage in fighting fashion, with robes and hoods over their heads and All Time Low front man Alex Gaskarth donning boxing gloves. Before the band could even strike the first notes of the anthemic “Lost in Stereo”, bras and underwear began to hail on to the stage and between songs were hung and displayed from the various equipment.
Whereas Pierce The Veil helped stomp a hole through the ballroom floor, All Time Low brought poppy jubilance back to the crowd. Guitarist Jack Barakat jumped around stage with childish naivety, engaging the crowd several times with sexual gestures. While bassist Zach Merrick stomped and marched his way across the stage pounding away at his four string, and teaming up with Barakat to provide strong backing vocals. Drummer Rian Dawson was no slouch either, as he’s an essential piece to the bands catchy rhythm.
Rounding out the bands signature sound is singer/guitarist Alex Gaskarth. With his iconic pop punk vocals, via Blink-182 and frenzied strumming, fans hung on to his every word. In comparison to the other bands, especially Pierce the Veil, All Time Low was definitely the comic relief of the night. Between songs the Gaskarth and Barakat would partake in juvenile banter and tell sexual jokes whenever they could. Telling Milwaukee that they were one of the sexiest crowds they’ve played for, Gaskarth invited two strangers to get up on stage and make out, and even advised the crowd to get naked.
At one point in the night, the band did get semi-serious. Gaskarth told the crowd, “Why are you all watching us through your cell phones? I don’t get it. It’s great you guys want to take pictures of us and have your own little memento from the night to post on youtube, facebook or instagram. But isn’t better to just live in the moment? To be able to take an experience with you that no one else will have? If you can, out of respect, just put your phones away for this one song and celebrate with us.” A sentiment I strongly share. The band then dove right in to “Therapy” where the crowd appropriately put the phones down and donned lighters instead.
Shortly after, the band threw out beach balls as the crowd danced and tossed the balls around to songs “The Reckless and The Brave”, “Weightless” and the abrupt closer “Dear Maria, Count Me In”.
Besides the hypnotic and fantastic light show, All Time Low opt out of extravagant stage production. But time and time again they prove they can party with the best by selling out every show they play. What makes them stand out is their positive attitude and sincere love of their fans. There’s no doubt they’ll return to Milwaukee, and when they do I’m positive there will be a whole new batch of fans to dance, party, and have a great time.
- Keith Gasper