LIVE REVIEW: DIRTY WORK TOUR
Pop-punk band All Time Low is currently on their Dirty Work Tour with Yellowcard, Hey Monday, and The Summer Set as support. The quartet has recently put together a new album tentatively named Dirty Work, which will be their fourth studio album release. The first single from Dirty Work, “I Feel Like Dancin’,” was released on April 5th. The ever-energetic Alex Gaskarth, Jack Barakat, Zach Merrick, and Rian Dawson show off their quirky talents on the enthusiastic Dirty Work Tour.
First to take the stage at the sold-out, 2,300 capacity venue in St. Louis, Missouri was The Summer Set. This relatively young band had a short but sweet set. Lead by front man Brian Dales, The Summer Set easily pleased the energetic crowd with a couple of new songs, as well as some fan favorites “Chelsea” and “Punk-Drunk Love.” Dales’ vocals were clear but slightly annoying. All of the band members were very encouraging of the audience and tried to interact with as many people as possible. It was impressive to hear loud screaming for the first opening band. There was a fair amount of fans there that bopped to the beat and sang along to every lyric. Overall The Summer Set was a crowd pleaser, and I am glad that they chose to tour on the Dirty Work Tour.
After a brief break, Florida-based Hey Monday took the stage. Opening their set with a fairly new song “I Don’t Wanna Dance”, front-woman Cassadee Pope easily captured the audience’s hearts. In her adorable pink top with a pair of high-waisted leather shorts and tights, Pope looked completely rocker chic. The energy in the room increased as the band started the classic “Homecoming.” Pope graced around the stage and belted out her lyrics happily. There were two band members on stage that were not apart of the original band. Cassadee Pope, Mike Gentile, and Alex Lipshaw have been there since the beginning, but fairly new-faced Patrick McKenzie and Chris Gentile rocked the stage as well. Hey Monday tested the crowd with a few new songs and they seemed to please. They seemed a little lyrically boring but Pope’s clear, steady voice handled them well. The set was concluded with a couple other known songs, “How You Love Me Now” and “Wish You Were Here.” Hey Monday has had a fantastic last couple of years, and this fun, animated set proved they have more to come in the future.
Following Hey Monday, Yellowcard began their nine-song set. After a nearly three year long hiatus, it was great to see the band back. All of the band members were dressed in black, and with that small detail it was clearly obvious that they were older than the rest of the bands on the Dirty Work Tour. Yellowcard started their set with “Lights and Sounds.” Alongside flashing, colorful lights, Yellowcard seemed genuinely excited to be playing a large audience. Screaming filled the venue as they took their first break to communicate with the crowd. Singer Ryan Key was very caring and apologized for the long break the band had been on. The biggest hit of the group was violinist Sean Mackin. His stage charisma and energy completely made their set. He breezed through the following “Way Away”, “Breathing”, and “Believe.” Not being a Yellowcard fan made it kind of hard to distinguish which songs were new and which were familiar, because the endless crowd participation never ceased. Key’s voice is slightly high pitched and generic, but backed by interesting, strong music created an impressive musical set. Yellowcard continued their set with “Light Up The Sky”, which was a crowd favorite. Fairly new song “Hang You Up” followed. The music video for that song has recently been released. All Time Low bassist Zach Merrick joined Yellowcard for that song and played electric guitar. Fans were shrieking in joy at the sight of one of the headliners. Key made sure to mention how Yellowcard has plans to tour later this year. Yellowcard finished up their impressive set with “For You, And Your Denial”, “Only One”, and favorite “Ocean Avenue.” For being on a hiatus for a while, Yellowcard made a great comeback and impressed with their genuine set and feel-good attitude.
Immediately after Yellowcard left the stage, the ever-annoying “ALL TIME LOW! ALL TIME LOW! ALL TIME LOW!” chant began. Fans were clearly ecstatic to see their beloved All Time Low. Finally, after much exaggerated time, the Maryland four-some took the stage. Hearts were thumping, pulses were racing, and screams were sharpening as the glamorous four opened their set with new song “Time Bomb.” Even though the song was fairly new, fans treated it like an old classic and screeched along to Alex Gaskarth’s playful vocals. Like usual, seemingly underage girls were throwing bras and panties on stage for guitarist Jack Barakat to collect. By the end of the next song, “Damned If I Do Ya”, there must have been about ten to fifteen bras on stage.
The crowd’s enthusiasm for All Time Low was one of the highest I have ever witnessed. People were screaming at the top of their lungs, jumping up and down, and dancing, and the quartet seemed pleased. Gaskarth and Barakat took the time to welcome everyone to the Dirty Work Tour and proceeded to crack a few sexual jokes, as always. Everyone in the audience was comfortable with the severity of some of the band’s jokes, which made All Time Low appear to be at ease. Next song played was “Stella”, a track from their third album Nothing Personal. The audience settled a little bit since “Stella” is not one of All Time Low’s best. But they instantly started up again with the first strum of the next song, “Jasey Rae.” Being one of their first songs written, older fans deeply appreciate this song, along with another track, “Coffeeshop Soundtrack”, which followed “Jasey Rae.” Backed by strobe lights and quickly changing colors, All Time Low quickly convinced everyone in the audience that they were in for a fun night.
The set was continued with “Let It Roll”, which was kind of a flub. Despite being slightly older, it did not impress. Thankfully “A Party Song” followed. Gaskarth gave off his guitar to a tech and started to pace the stage singing the fun lyrics. Barakat, like his usual self, kept jumping, twisting, and rolling to get the attention from the audience. He has the best stage persona. He is inspirational. One point of the song he was laying on a speaker, on his back, strumming guitar, and sticking his tongue out. How could you not love that guy? The pace chilled as All Time Low played a new song, called “Under A Paper Moon.” I was not impressed, but the surrounding All Time Low fans around me were bobbing their heads in improvement to the new beats.
The energy picked up one again with crowd favorites “Six Feet Under The Stars” and “Break Your Little Heart.” Gaskarth and Barakat did not let up on their sexual jokes as the concert progressed, surprisingly much to the audience’s delight. “Sick Little Games” started once the sexual tension rose to an extreme high. Barakat and Merrick happily jumped and spun whilst playing along to this song. The next song, “Poppin’ Champagne,” is one of All Time Low’s classics, and brought the excitement in the room extremely high. Bodies were slamming against each other in a frenzy to the catchy, favorable song. “Lost in Stereo” followed, and crowd energy did not lower one bit.
The crazed audience had to be put to a halt, as Barakat, Merrick, and Dawson departed the stage. All that was left was Gaskarth and an acoustic guitar. The strobe lights paused and for the first time during the set, everything was slow. Gaskarth made eye contact with the majority of the crowd as he spoke about how appreciative he is of his fans. Even accompanied by some fiery sexual jokes, it was clear that Gaskarth was being genuine. After a slight pause Gaskarth started a cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” It was sort of weak but it was refreshing to finally hear acoustic guitar. After a quick sing along to Katy Perry, Gaskarth started the popular “Remembering Sunday.” Lights dimmed and bodies swayed to the gentle beat of this older song. For the female part, Hey Monday’s Cassadee Pope jumped out on stage and took it on beautifully. An iPhone featuring a lighter on its screen was even seen in the audience. The whole song was magnificently done.
After Pope left the stage, Gaskarth stood for a while and gave a motivational speech. It was one of the few serious moments of the night, and it was very touching. Before he started “Therapy,” Gaskarth remarked how the song was dedicated to anyone who feels alone, anyone who feels rejected, or anyone who does not feel loved. At that moment, I held the highest respect for Alex Gaskarth because he seemed so real, so inspiring. He portrayed his care for his fans, and that he knows exactly how they are feeling, and wants them to know he is there for them. That introduction to “Therapy” was heartfelt and inspiring.
Once the rest of the band joined Gaskarth on stage to finish up “Therapy,” they all went off stage and prepared for the encore. For the second time that night, the excruciating “ALL TIME LOW! ALL TIME LOW! ALL TIME LOW!” started up again. That pain was worth it because the boys returned more spirited than ever. Kicking off with “Weightless”, Gaskarth, Barakat, and Merrick were jumping all around the stage. The strobe lights were pulsing and the energy was rising. The atmosphere was terrific and just made everyone smile and sing along to the popular All Time Low single. The last song of the night, “Dear Maria, Count Me In”, Alex Gaskarth threw his guitar in the air to his tech, and busted out the vocal chaps. He ran around stage, alongside his crazy pal Jack Barakat, and at the end of the song, simultaneously jumped into the crowd. Of course, body guards held them by their ankles to make sure fans wouldn’t carry them away, but they were still practically crowd surfing. It was the coolest artist/fan interaction I have seen come out of a band like All Time Low. After their fun in the audience, Alex and Jack joined Rian and Zack back on stage to bid their final farewell, and then departed the stage.
Be sure to catch All Time Low on the Dirty Work Tour if they stop in your city! This performance by them was one of the best I have experienced. Their charisma and genuine gratitude made the concert enjoyable and fun. Don’t miss it!