“This is pretty fucking good for a weeknight!”
All Time Low’s unexpected headlining tour made its Phoenix stop on Monday, filling The Van Buren with highly excitable fans. The Never-Ending Summer Tour lost its original headliner when Dashboard Confessional was forced to drop the remaining dates due to a family emergency. The show, as they say, must go on and All Time Low stepped up to headline the rest of the shows, with support from gnash.
Gnash kicked things off by whipping the barricade crowd into a frenzy of incoherent screaming that quickly turned into a deafening sing-a-long. Gnash makes music for a young, rosy-cheeked audience but his house party rocks all the same.
His sheepish charm won the room and his lyrics were relatable and sweet, turning his mellow tunes into a full-band set. The acoustic turn for “dear insecurity” was actually the night’s most surprising moment with the fans’ voices drowning out the man onstage.
“This song is for all of you and for all the new members of the Broken Hearts Club who just found out their hearts are broken from watching my show and not being able to emotionally deal with it,” he said with a laugh. Gnash could easily come off as saccharine, but his earnest demeanor made it impossible not to smile (even through an offbeat cover of Blink 182’s “I Miss You”). He closed his set with new song “t-shirt”, throwing merch into the crowd before exiting the stage.
Even without Dashboard Confessional there, All Time Low is a headlining band in their own right. While it was clear that some of the older people in the room most likely bought their tickets before Dashboard’s cancellation, the whole place was having a good time from the first note.
The four unique personalities onstage on Monday brought the band’s lengthy catalog to life. Opening with “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)”, singer Alex Gaskarth’s signature stage presence was the perfect foil for his bandmates. Guitarist Jack Barakat, infamous for his live antics, was as delightfully weird as ever- slinging his guitar and making faces at the screaming fans on the barricade.
All Time Low was clearly determined to make the best of their situation, adding a blast of confetti in the first 10 minutes of the set. They also injected some welcome nostalgia with “Stella” and the ever-popular “Weightless” (which holds up incredibly well even at almost a decade since its release).
Bras started flying at Barakat and bassist Zack Merrick in the middle of the night, a time-honored tradition among old-school fans. Gaskarth got the tears flowing during “Therapy” and slowed things down again to dedicate“Missing You” to their friends in Dashboard Confessional.
The band also added some newer songs to their setlist, both from their last album and recently released singles. The juxtaposition in sound added an interesting element to All Time Low’s comfortable set. Fans who have seen them play before know the vibe to expect from the Maryland quartet and their newer material takes their sound in a different and welcome direction.
There’s no doubt that people came for the hits, though. Their crew helped get the crowd bouncing with brightly lit balloons for “Kids in the Dark.” Gaskarth had a little fun with his audience, playing a meme-worthy acoustic cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall”.
The fans screamed themselves hoarse demanding All Time Low’s classic encore. This time, they played “Birthday”, their newest single and made sure to ramp up the suspense for the first notes of closer “Dear Maria, Count Me In.” It was a night of jokes, Gaskarth/Barakat banter and a roster of songs that guaranteed one great time.
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel