All Time Low are back in the UK, kicking off with two shows at London's Brixton Academy. This is why it was such a special occasion, one fuelled on unbridled joy and emotion.
On February 21 2020, All Time Low played a special intimate show at The Garage in London, one of two appearances in the UK by the band to celebrate the launch of their new album ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’. However, little did any of the 600 in attendance that night have any idea that it would be 19 long months until the band would step foot in the city again.
It’s crazy to think how much has happened since that show worldwide, let alone within the confines of the ATL universe. And in many ways, it has been both the most confusing and fulfilling period of the band’s career so far too. From the uncertainty that came with releasing a record at the head of a global emergency to having one of their biggest ever songs in terms of chart and radio success, it has been a rollercoaster, to say the least.
So as the band return to the UK for a run of massive shows, starting with a doubleheader at the iconic Brixton Academy, emotions are running high on both sides of the barrier. And the result is the sort of nights that nobody will be forgetting any time soon.
Opening with ‘Some Kind Of Disaster’, the waves of sound reverberating off the beautifully chiselled walls of the venue as the crowd sing along with Alex Gaskath is enough to make your spine shiver. It then gets louder during a neon-stained ‘Dark Side Of Your Room’. Then even louder as ‘Six Feet Under The Stars’ gets a very welcome run-through. By the time ‘Lost In Stereo’ comes into view, it’s clear how just much of a beautifully defining celebration this is going to be, not just of the band but of live music as a whole.
Jumping from 2017 to 2007 seamlessly, and receiving the same ecstatic reaction, tonight also feels like a testament to the All Time Low discography. A demonstration of how deep and dense it has become, and how even with classics such as ‘Weightless’ and ‘Damned I Do Ya…’ remaining staples, they can throw in spontaneous gems from across their career and it still feels as exciting. And then there are the new additions to the collection. The infectious vulnerability of ‘PMA’ and the tear-stained hopefulness of ‘Once In A Lifetime’ slot into the set perfectly, whilst the cheeky joy of ‘Sleeping In’ and romantically beautiful ‘Glitter & Crimson’ are firm reminders of how hard the band were hitting on ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’.
But the thing that holds it all together is the thing that has been absent from so many of our lives for so long. Connection.
With each new song, the reaction is exactly the same. Hands reach for the sky as voices soar even higher, letting the band know that you can see, hear and feel them. Friends wrap their arms around each other and dance like tomorrow will never come. Strangers lock eyes and scream along as if they’ve known each other for years. And you can see what it means to Alex, Jack, Zack and Rian. The smiles plastered across their faces, the looks of sheer disbelief at what they are witnessing before them. In this very moment, in this room, everybody is as one. Nothing else matters except these songs and these moments.
And it's these sort of moments in our lives that cling to us that little bit tighter than others. They are the little snippets of time that become a part of who we are and remind us why we do the things that we do and love the things that we love. For those in Brixton Academy, being coated in yellow confetti as the band round out an unforgettable night with a swift one-two of ‘Monsters’ and ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’, this is one of them. Fuelled on an energy that has been laid dormant for a year and a half, this performance felt more than just All Time Low playing songs to a crowd of people. It feels almost spiritual, unbridled joy coursing from stage and floor between those who share this same intense passion for life and for living. A unique brand of emotion that stains your cheeks with the sort of tears that can only come from pure happiness. The kind of night that could last forever, and you wouldn’t mind one bit.
That is what it felt like to see All Time Low back on stage. And here’s hoping that we never have to put this feeling on hold again.