The flashing lights. The air, a film of sweaty mist. The pulsing music, the bass literally causing the body to tremble.
That is rock ’n‘ roll.
Over the weekend, I went on a road trip to Kentucky with one of my best friends to see All Time Low for the third time. The band has been my favorite since I was 13, and as always, those Baltimore boys never disappoint.
It was a night of pop-punk, that beautiful sub-genre of alternative rock that gives life so much meaning. All Time Low’s high-energy dance numbers, such as “Backseat Serenade,” “A Love Like War” and the return of its 2007 single “Poppin’ Champagne” had the crowd on their feet, laughing and crying and shouting out the lyrics at the top of their lungs.
Lead singer Alex Gaskarth also gave the crowd the option of which slower song they wanted: “Remembering Sunday” or “Therapy,” which had to be decided via an intense arena-wide game of rock, paper, scissors . . . which stumped the poor singer, as 90 percent of the crowd chose scissors.
Gaskarth and lead guitarist Jack Barakat upheld their tradition of comedic improv and ridiculous banter that makes up a good portion of the evening. In between songs, the best friends made parodies of ‘80s songs, blamed the drummer of farting on stage and ruining the show, told the crowd they’d buy us full sandwiches at Panera and guacamole at Chipotle “because we deserve it” and discussed a myriad of sexual things, to name a few highlights of hilarity.
My favorite thing about these shows, other than getting to sing out to songs that changed my life, is the sense of community you feel when there. You talk to the people beside you, who are light-heartedly commenting on how stupid our heroes are. In the crowd, you all become one, as you laugh and sweat profusely and thrive as one body in motion. Everyone’s pasts become an unspoken understood vulnerability, and you put your arms around each other as you cry.
In between sets, the bands involved put up a large sheet and used lighting effects to create a Parisian flag, in remembrance of the people involved in the recent attacks. Gaskarth also took a moment during the show to talk about it, and to remind us all of the importance of love and tolerance.
The band encourages camaraderie, and literally come into the crowd to become one with you. They make stupid jokes and talk to us like human beings to make us realize that we’re not at a show; we’re at home, in a safe place with a family we’ve formed together.