You may know All Time Low from their songs "Dear Maria, Count Me In" and "Monsters", but there is so much more great music to hear from the band. I only got into them this year, but they've been around and kicking since 2003. I had the opportunity to see them twice this year, and let me tell you, it made me so sad how late I was to their music. The first performance was at the Redmond County Fair and the second was in Portland. It's not often good bands come through the Redmond area so it was pretty special to be able to see them there.
With a new record out this year, Tell Me I'm Alive, the band has been on the road for most of 2023. I have no idea how they ended up playing at a county fair, but I'm not complaining because I only paid like $12 to see them. Friday, August 4th was another absolutely gorgeous day in the Bend/Redmond area which made for the perfect environment. Blue skies hovered above while they played their first song, "Tell Me I'm Alive" and stayed there until the clouds began to turn pink, maybe ten songs or so in. I will admit, I wasn't the hugest fan of the new album until I heard some of the new songs live. "Calm Down" was one of those, but it clicked once I was able to hear them sing it in person. Even songs like "Modern Love", "The Sound of Letting Go", and "New Religion" had a completely different effect on me. There's a certain sophistication in these songs, although they've always been pretty good at tackling tougher topics. It seems to be similar to 2020's Wake Up, Sunshine, but there are just some great, well-articulated, points about being an adult and dealing with some of those issues. I love that because you can tell how much the band has grown up.
Anyway, back to the concert! One of my favorite parts about this was that it felt a little less like a full production and just a chill, intimate performance for their fans. The energy in the air was different, there wasn't people with VIP, no one had been lined up outside the venue for hours, it was just more relaxed. The band seemed to reflect that, taking moments to comment on how beautiful it was outside and how much they'd been enjoying the area. I know they have a lot of this banter at other shows, and I can't explain it, but it just felt more special somehow. They continued with some great dancing songs like "PMA" and "Lost In Stereo", but the standouts were really when they slowed it down a bit with "Dirty Laundry" and "Therapy". "Dirty Laundry" was the first All Time Low song I ever really fell in love with, so it was extra special to me. Seeing Alex on the stage with the beautiful view and all of them just looking so present and happy to be there made me feel the same way. The attitude of the band has such an impact on my attitude as well.
Their interaction with the crowd is honestly one of the greatest things about them. One of the women on the barricade was there as some kind of bachelorette-type thing and had a picture of her fiancé taped to a popsicle stick (it was hilarious). Jack took the fiancé-on-a-stick and was just playing guitar with it tucked in his shirt, and the rest of the guys all put on the cowboy hats that those women had brought. It was so entertaining, but also just great to see everyone having fun. You just know that those women will remember it forever, those are the things that have an incredibly long-lasting effect. I had a delightful time, you couldn't have wiped that smile off of my face for a million dollars. Rian's dog even came on stage at one point and they all stopped what they were doing to say hello, it was just too cute. These are some of the best guys in the music industry.
Jack stealing someone's fiancé
Now for Portland. I will admit, I didn't have as much fun at this one. My friend and I got there pretty early and ended up second row, but the main reason it was ruined for me was because of the people in front of us on barricade. I won't go into it, but they put a damper on my mood. It was still a wonderful performance, though. The two openers were Lauran Hibberd and Grayscale. Gym Class Heroes were supposed to be there too but they didn't show up for whatever reason. Lauren had such fun energy and great jokes, I recommend checking her out. Her outfit was crazy cool too, she seems like such a fun person. Grayscale wasn't quite my cup of tea, but they still did good. The lead singer was making me cringe a little bit, he seemed quite full of himself on stage, and their music sounded like something I would hear on a Christian rock station. Just not my thing, but there seemed to be a lot of people there for them so I respect that.
Then All Time Low. They opened with "Lost in Stereo" which automatically put the crowd in a frenzy. The fangirls and elder emo were screaming to their heart's content. My favorites to hear at this show were "New Religion", "Fake As Hell", "Poppin Champagne", and "Six Feet Under the Stars" which were all tracks that hadn't played in Redmond. "Fake As Hell" was SO much fun, that song is such a banger and had everyone in the crowd jammin'. Alex had on a Barbie shirt, Jack had on Twilight, Rian, Superbad, and Zack, Shrek. It was hilarious. They said that the shirts were a parting gift from the opener, Lauran, and I just love that they wore them on stage. I didn't get a good picture of Rian's but I'll out pictures of the others below. Jack and Alex discussed for a good two minutes about how bootleg the Twilight merch looked. The two of them were very cuddly the whole night too which made for great entertainment. Their dynamic is so funny!
They closed with "Dear Maria", of course, but I can't explain how contagious the energy in the room was for that song, both in Portland and Redmond. Same with "Sleepwalking", which was one of the best songs to hear live for both shows. Everyone is just having such a great, gratifying moment with everyone else in the room. People were crowd-surfing in Portland, marking it the first time I'd ever been crowd-surfed over. I was also able to get my hands on a setlist which made the pain of the rude people in front of us worth it. Long story short, this mom, her two daughters, and her husband were right in front of us and she kept trying to push me backward with her butt and flipping her (insanely long) ponytail in my face. It was so stupid, so I moved to the side of her next to my friend and she started trying to bully me into moving. I was like "No. Being bullied and standing next to you is better than being shoved backward and getting a mouthful of hair every time you move." I want to clarify that I knew she was doing it on purpose too, she kept looking at me out of the side of her eye. And then I had my setlist sign so Alex threw it at me, and the mom dove to the ground over it so that I couldn't get it. She saw that I had the sign, too. I was able to get another one from a stagehand but it just sucked. It was a weird situation that I'd never been in before. A lot of firsts that night. I didn't plan on explaining that but here we are!
I did overall have more fun at the Redmond concert. That show feels like an intimate little memory that I didn't have to share with a lot of people, and for that reason, I hold it closer to my heart. All Time Low is a great band full of great guys that you can tell genuinely love what they do. Always smiles and always a great performance.