Monday, 23 March 2015

All Time Low - The Hippodrome, Kingston, 22/03/15

After only seeing them two days ago at Wembley Arena, I couldn't believe I was hopping back on a train to go and see an intimate All Time Low acoustic set. From a 12,000 capacity venue to a 2,000 capacity venue, walking in was a startling contrast, and the energy in the room was palpable from the word go. With this being their second acoustic performance of the day - the matinee performance at 4pm, as well as the later show that I attended at 7pm - many of the crowd had already seen the band once and had queued up for round two, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm in the room.

This meant that it must have been a daunting task for opener Rob Lynch. Being confronted with a few thousand people can't be the easiest task on a normal night, but when you're opening for a band like All Time Low in a setting like this it must be absolutely terrifying. He didn't see to let the nerves get to him though, as his thirty minute set was filled to the brim with sing-along moments. Starting off with 'Broken Bones' I was surprised by how beautiful Rob's voice was - I'd never listened to him in the past, so I wasn't certain of what to expect, but his tone is pure in a striking way that you don't normally hear in rock music. Running through a selection of brilliant songs I was impressed by how different Rob's songs sounded from one to the other - too often with acoustic artists it's difficult to distinguish one track from another because of the similarity in tone. The only song of Rob's that even slightly resembled anything else was 'Whiskey', which had a feeling of Ed Sheeran's 'Give Me Love' - not in an overly similar way, but the emotional aspect to the song definitely resonated. Both encouraging the crowd to sing and completely enjoying himself, it was brilliant to see everyone responding to him well, instead of just with the polite attention that sometimes is given to a support act. The audience clapped and swayed along through the entire set, proving that there's definitely something special about Rob Lynch. I was thoroughly impressed by every song in his seven song set, so much so that I automatically bought both of his albums afterwards, and I can't wait to listen to him more. If any of you are going to Slam Dunk festival in May, make sure to pop in and see a few songs of his set - it's not something that you want to miss. 

Broken Bones
Feeling Good
Baby, I'm A Runaway
My Friends And I

Of course, all of the crowd were really there to see All Time Low perform, so it wasn't a surprise that the chants for them to come on stage started a good few minutes before their set time. It has been on my bucket list since their MTV Unplugged set to eventually see them playing acoustically live, so I'm happy to say that they definitely met my expectations. After a flurry of bras had already flown onto the stage as soon as they walked out they started with 'Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)', and I was impressed by how confident the band were even in an acoustic environment. As they don't play acoustic sets very regularly, I wasn't expecting them to sound as tightly well arranged as they did, so it was very relieving. After the first song Alex Gaskarth was already complaining about his hand hurting so much from playing the tambourine, but this didn't stop him from throwing everything he had into every song they played. 
The set was rather a lot shorter than the one at Wembley, which is to be expected when they only had a fifty minute set time, but it was still just as enjoyable and still featured a large variety of songs. I was extremely impressed by the acoustic arrangement of 'Kids In The Dark', which - if it's even possible - sounded better in this version than the original, and it was definitely my highlight of the evening. Cassadee Pope performing guest vocals on 'Remembering Sunday' again was also a great inclusion, and I was even more impressed with her voice than I had been at Wembley. 
The only low point in the set for me was 'Weightless', which just didn't seem to translate as well as the other songs into an acoustic. Some of the harmonising between the guys seemed a little bit flat, and because of how powerful the song normally is in a live environment I did find it quite a bit disappointing, but you can't have every song go perfectly so this wasn't such a negative. The rest of the set went off without a hitch, and playing 'Dear Maria, Count Me In' as the penultimate song instead of the closer was a nice difference from the normal set that they put on. With Jack Barakat joking that they were going to perform 'Come One, Come All', an early song that they never put in their set, it was brilliant to hear a large cheer go up for the song, so I'm hoping that the next time All Time Low tour over here they think about slipping in some little surprises.
Closing with 'Something's Gotta Give' was a brilliant way to raise the anticipation for 'Future Hearts' even further. To get a ticket to this show you needed to pre-order the album, so everyone in the room was understandably already excited for it, but leaving the show on a high note like this was a brilliant decision. With new song 'Runaways' premiering on MTV today, I can't wait to see what the rest of the album brings, but I think it's going to be brilliant. 

Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)
Backseat Serenade
Somewhere In Neverland
Kids In The Dark
Remembering Sunday ft. Cassadee Pope 
Dear Maria, Count Me In
Something's Gotta Give

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