Because of rush hour traffic my sister and I were almost late to the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, but we just made it, practically running in as ONE OK ROCK started their first song. I had my camera around my neck already and I headed to the pit, and I was so thankful for the good view my press pass got me because those guys were amazing. The Japanese four piece just recently released their first U.S. album 35xxxv, and it drew a lot of attention. There were multiple signs meant for them in the crowd, and so many people singing along. Admittedly I had never listened to them before that night, but I definitely have since. Their vocalist Takahiro Moriuchi has an insane voice with great range, and the perfect mix of mostly clean (monstrous and versatile) vocals with a few uncleans thrown in there makes for a haunting sound. Bassist Ryota Kohama rocked a five string with blinking red lights on the frets and seeing him playing through the smoke and dim lighting was enchanting.
After ONE OK ROCK cleared the stage, it was only a few minutes before Neck Deep came out. Of the four bands playing, I have to admit I was most excited to see them. I’d seen them during the summer at Warped Tour, but it was before Life’s Not Out to Get You had come out and I couldn’t wait to hear them play more of the album. Their music means a lot to me because of the lyrics alone, and their style is unique in the pop punk scene. They’re a little harder than some of the other bands in the genre, and if you listen to Crucial Dudes, you can definitely hear how they were influenced by that band. They started with “Threat Level Midnight” and instantly got everyone in the audience caught up in their energy. Vocalist Ben Barlow never stops moving and delivers each song with power and emotion. Ben, bassist Fil Thorpe-Evans, guitarist Matt West, drummer Dani Washington, and stand-in guitarist Sam Bowden jump around and put so much into it that you feel bad if you’re not moving too. The most memorable song of the night for me was definitely “Serpents” because it’s kind of a slow, deep, down tone song, but live they made it something totally different. Dani’s drumming added an energy to it that I didn’t know it had and Ben’s head banging bumped it up to a new level. You could tell everyone in the room was affected.
Sleeping With Sirens came on next, and I know they get a lot of flack from anyone who isn’t a teenage or young adult girl, but the truth is they’re great musicians and they know how to put on a live show. Insult them all you want, but five successful albums and a world tour is big for a band that actually plays guitars these days. Their set was mostly songs from their newest release Madness, but they did play a few older hits like “Fly” and “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn.” Vocalist Kellin Quinn really got to shine on the acoustic songs though. The band played an acoustic version of “With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear,” and Kellin hit some notes that most people wouldn’t try live. His narration between songs is a little cheesy and cringey sometimes, but he means well, and if you love the music you might find it kind of endearing. SWS closed out their set with one of their most popular songs, “If You Can’t Hang,” and the room went crazy. Almost everyone was singing along and there were tons of crowd surfers. This bands been around for a few years, but they’re still as popular as ever and it’s their solid fanbase that will keep them around for more albums.
The set change between Sleeping With Sirens and All Time Low was long, but they had good music playing so it wasn’t too bad. I’m twenty-four now and I’ve liked All Time Low since I was a freshman in high school so having the chance to photograph them five feet from the stage was a surreal experience for me. I’ve seen them live once before, but I was standing in the back and seeing them up close was almost like seeing fictional characters come to life. Of course there were a lot of dick jokes and “your mom” jokes between songs and they even did an impromptu (and surprisingly good) cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.’”
Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat take most of the attention when it comes to All Time Low. Alex’s charisma and little bit of frontman cockiness and Jack’s goofy antics and energy on stage are what drive their show. Drummer Rian Dawson and bassist Zack Merrick are the more quiet side of the band, but their talent is essential to All Time Low’s sound and overall draw with the audience. The four of them have been friends since high school and you can tell. You almost feel like you’re watching your own friends up there. But all of that aside, the music is what we were there for and they didn’t disappoint. They opened with “Satellite,” a song from their newest album Future Hearts and they played a majority of the rest of the tracks from it. “Dancing With A Wolf” is one of my sister and my favorites from Future Hearts, and we didn’t think they would play it but they did. It was great to dance and sing along to that one and to go crazy to old favorites like “Backseat Serenade” and “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t).” Alex also did an acoustic version of “Therapy,” and that emotion and serious moment was kind of cool to see in the middle of all the laughs.
The encore was “Kids In The Dark” and then “Dear Maria,” which everyone knew and as confetti and smoke sprayed out over the audience I had to smile because they’ve really made it. So much success has come to them, and they deserve it. They’ve grown so much, but they’re still the same. All Time Low is one of those bands that’s kept the goofy charm they had at the beginning and they could still be your brothers or your friends playing in your garage or your basement. Their songs perfectly capture what it’s like to be young and dumb and happy and sad and in love and heartbroken and that’s why everyone loves them.
You can check out the full photo gallery from the show below!