Don’t panic! Here comes All Time Low in Hong Kong!
The Baltimore pop punkers came to rock the town for the first time on 19 August 2013. This was part of All Time Low’s summer Asian tour to promote their latest album Don’t Panic released in 2012.
Recalling when I first spotted the All Time Low poster in SoHo in June, I was thrilled. Despite of the rising number of indie acts coming to Hong Kong, majority of them are post-rock and folk-pop groups. I was hoping something different would trash the melancholic quietness.
All Time Low has been considered as part of the new generation pop punk leaders. It’s not hard to spot them on the covers of Kerrang!, Rock Sound, Alternative Press, etc. Their popularity in the teenage community is undeniable. As expected, most of the audiences were girls around 15 to 18, who had brought amazing energy to the performance in the form of sing-along and DIY creative props such as bras, mini-banners and the Hong Kong SAR Flag.
For any gig-goers, you know some random music is always put on for stereo testing purpose. It’s rare to hear the whole crowd would sing along with it but it was what happened to this gig. The crowd sang the pop punk tunes together; the songs were ranging from 3 different generations of pop punk bands, from Pierce The Veil to Blink 182 and Green Day. Well, I was impressed.
The show began around 8:30pm with local band ToNick as opening act. The performance was pretty well accepted. Though, the vocalist communicated in Cantonese between every song and it made me wonder how many people could actually understand the dialogue.
Half an hour later, All Time Low were on stage, finally! They kicked off the show with their 2009 hit Lost In Stereo, followed by Damned If I Do Ya. Smash hits could always bring the heat up immediately. Alex Gaskarth then greeted his fans with talks and his signature bright smile. The girls’ hearts must be melted already.
Just like other All Time Low concerts, their hardcore fans have a tradition to throw bras (and probably underpants) onto the stage and the band will hang the sexy underwear onto the mic stands. If you looked close enough, you would see a lot of bras were full of drawings and messages (even contact info). They soon preformed their earlier work Coffee Shop Soundtrack and transited to their new song Somewhere In Neverland while bras kept flying onto the stage.
The pitch of the night must be Gaskarth’s speech thanking their fans’ support to help them going so far even to the East and encouraging his fans to live up their dreams as he was being looked down at his youth as well. Soon the talk leaded to their signature song Time Bomb with their energetic performing style – jumping, twisting, moving around and interacting with the crowd. The song directly leaded to their new single Backstage Serenade, my personal favorite.
This young pop punk band doesn’t earn their reputation for nothing. Throughout the 90-minute show, they were trying to have interaction with their fans as much as they could so the crowd was actively participated but not passively observed. The first part of the show was wrapped up with the proclamation-like The Reckless And The Brave off the new album Don’t Panic.
“Our song has not been sung / LONG LIVE US” The whole crowd screamed.
For the encore session, they played massive anthems Weightless and Dear Maria (Count Me In), which brought the gig to the next pitch of the end. During the last chorus of Dear Maria, guitarist Jack Barakst got down to the fence like a hot flash and later after the gig he stayed for a while to sign. The crowd was insane.
Generally speaking, the show was fun and pretty fulfilling. They were very energetic and despite the venue was small they still gave all they could to put out a memorable show. As the 3rd, or probably the 4th generation of pop punk bands, you can easily see the influence of the pop punk veterans like Blink 182, Green Day, Yellowcard and even Fall Out Boy to them. I hope they can further develop their styles in the future so to differentiate themselves from their competitors such as A Day To Remember (who toured with them recently) and to live away from the shadow of Blink 182; because to me, they have just too many similarities with the old Blink.