All Time Low draws high regard at home

Pop punk act energizes audience at Rams Head

Concert Review

October 03, 2007|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,Sun reporter

How's this for a homecoming: a packed house of hundreds of teenagers - and more than a few parents - shrieking, waving their hands in the air and snapping grainy cell phone photos.

That's what local band All Time Low got when they took the stage at Rams Head Live last night. Fresh off a summer stint with the Warped Tour, the four-piece is on the road with Boston-based emo outfit Boys Like Girls. If any local pop punk act is going to break into the mainstream, it'll be All Time Low.

"Hands up, Baltimore," lead singer and guitarist Alex Gaskarth said after the group launched into "Dear Maria," a song off their recently released album So Wrong, It's Right. Gaskarth let the crowd sing the lyrics a number of times last night, and there was rarely a quiet moment.

Though All Time Low was one of three openers for the Boys Like Girls, it was clear a large chunk of the crowd at the sold-out show came just to see them. They clapped, crowd-surfed and sang along.

"So, Baltimore, it's good to be home again," Gaskarth said on the heels of "Jasey Rae," a song from their first album, Put Up or Shut Up.

Squeezed into T-shirts and tight, tight jeans, Gaskarth, guitarist/singer Jack Barakat and bassist/singer Zack Merrick flailed around on stage. They head-banged and thrust their fists into the air. Barakat scissor-kicked and lip-synched at stage left while Gaskarth belted out the lyrics in typical whiny pop rock fashion. Behind them, drummer Rian Dawson hammered out beats with surprising skill.

"Six Feet Under the Stars," the single off So Wrong, It's Right, came third, and the crowd ate it up. A band like All Time Low was built for power chords, not solos, and they didn't spend any time noodling last night. They crammed seven songs into a 30-minute set, and still managed to goof around some.

All Time Low's only misstep came about halfway into their set, when Gaskarth unsuccessfully tried to lead the audience through an a cappella version of 50 Cent's new single "Ayo Technology." Talk about awkward.

"I guess all of you bought Kanye's CD, huh," he said, and then quickly (and thankfully) got back to the rock.

For four guys who graduated from high school a year ago, the members of All Time Low have a fairly mature and commanding stage presence.

While All Time Low's brand of generic pop punk rock is nothing new, their energetic delivery and tight musicianship have already made them a local hit. National recognition could be next.

"Should I write myself out of the history books?" Gaskarth asked in "Coffee Shop Soundtrack."

Not yet, guys.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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