Review: All Time Low @ Newcastle o2 Academy

It’s that time of year again, All Time Low are back in the UK with a sold out run of shows finishing with three nights in London’s Sheperd’s Bush. In Newcastle the streets around the o2 Academy are busy with fans, some of whom have been queuing since the morning for a chance to get close to their heroes. The miserable Northern weather seems to have no effect on anyone’s spirits, as even though the band have graced this venue a respectable amount of times (with the last few years’ shows selling out easily) the excitement never seems to fade.

Once inside and warming up, the buzz in the crowd only grows with the promise of seeing three respected bands from within the pop-punk scene. First on are The Summer Set who, despite having little wider recognition, have established a notable enough fan base in the UK. This can be found tonight, as although the venue is not yet full when the band come on stage, the crowd still show them the appreciation they deserve. Usually, bands first on the bill are lucky to engage with the crowd at all but Brian Dales and co. are greeted with the majority of the venue singing along with hits such as The Boys You Do, Someone Like You and Chelsea word for word. The band do not disappoint, it is particularly worth mentioning how flawlessly Brian Dales manages to sing. Some people may criticise his voice on recording, but there is no denying that live tonight he never once falters, with the rest of the band feeding off his energy and giving a memorable set. It’s likely that many who weren’t fans of The Summer Set before the show will be now.

Next up are Lower Than Atlantis, who have been making a name for themselves on the British scene, supporting bands like You Me At Six and playing festivals such as Hit The Deck and Reading & Leeds in the summer. They’ve also been prominent on the radar of Kerrang! and Rock Sound for some time now. However, tonight it has to be said that it just doesn’t feel right. Compared to The Summer Set, LTA are certainly more rock than pop. Not that this is a particularly bad thing, it just seems that with the upbeat vibe from The Summer Set’s light pop-punk (though mostly just pop) and the promise of a fun and carefree set from All Time Low, Lower Than Atlantis’ darker rock changes the mood slightly. That’s not to say that some of the crowd don’t appreciate it, due to the band making themselves known recently they still have a strong following here tonight, and they still make their appreciation known. However, for those who are less aware of the band and are more interested in the lighter side of pop-punk, the set could certainly be more enjoyable.

Finally, it’s the time we’ve all been waiting for. It’s a familiar, warming feeling seeing All Time Low take to this stage again; comfortable on a stage this size with a crowd this big. The set begins with new single Somewhere In Neverland. The crowd waste no time in bouncing and singing with no cares in the world. The setlist is impeccable, the band incorporating the perfect mix of old and new with crowd pleasers such as Jasey Rae and Coffee Shop Soundtrack, as well as downright tunes such as the ever pleasing Heroes which is anthemic and motivating as ever. Not one person stands still all night, everyone having the time of their life, including the band themselves; with their usual, top form banter. Guitarist Jack Barakat is particularly enthusiastic tonight, running about the stage and dancing freely. It’s hard to watch him and hold back smile, his energy is certainly contagious.

However the night is not all jokes and parties, as the band remind us of their softer side with ballads Remembering Sunday and the rarer appearance of Therapy on the setlist. This gives a welcome moment of calm and sincerity, leading to a few inspired tears within the crowd. The show ends as it began, with energy refuelled and not one person stationary. Too soon, the band are playing Time Bomb and leaving the stage prior to the encore. Although their setlist has grown in duration it still feels as though the band and the fans could have carried on all night, with the endless amount of quality songs All Time Low have to their name.

However, it’s a Sunday and there is not a better way to end (or start) the week than in a sold out venue enjoying an All Time Low encore. The night finishes perfectly with Dear Maria, Count Me In as per usual and everyone leaves with a smile on their face. It has to be said that there really is nothing more fun than an All Time Low show, as after all these years they never lose their spark as a band or their talent, making for one of the most enjoyable and heart warming experiences you could ask for.

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