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.
I was thrilled when I first spotted the All Time Low poster in SoHo in June. Despite of the rising number of indie acts coming to Hong Kong, the 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 among the teenagers is undeniable. As expected, most of the audience were girls around 15 to 18, who had brought amazing energy to the performance with singalongs and DIY creative props like mini-banners and the Hong Kong SAR Flag as well as the must-have item for any All Time Low show: bras.
For any concert goers, you know some random music is always put on for stereo testing purpose. It’s rare to hear the whole crowd sing along to it but it was what happened at this gig. The crowd sang the pop punk tunes together; the songs ranged 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 of the audience packed with international school students could actually understand.
Half an hour later, All Time Low made it on stage! They kicked off the show with their 2009 hit “Lost In Stereo”, followed by “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)”. 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 performed their earlier work “Coffee Shop Soundtrack” and their new song “Somewhere In Neverland” while bras kept flying onto the stage.
The highlight 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 performance – jumping, twisting, moving around and interacting with the crowd. The song directly leaded to their new single “Backseat Serenade,” my personal favourite.
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 actively participated instead of observing passively. The first part of the show 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, they played anthems “Weightless” and “Dear Maria (Count Me In),” which brought the gig to the climax. During the last chorus of “Dear Maria”, guitarist Jack Barakat got down to the fence, where he stayed for a while to sign after the gig. The crowd was insane.
The show was fun and pretty fulfilling. The band were very energetic and despite the small venue 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 Fall Out Boy on them. I hope they can further develop their styles in the future to live away from the shadow of Blink-182; because to me, they have just too many similarities with the old Blink.
Review by Sylva Lam
Photography by May and Sylva Lam