Tonight is a big deal for All Time Low. A year after their run around arenas with You Me At Six, they’ve returned to London’s The O2 as headliners in their own right. Bringing fireworks, flames and their own runway with them, the band is aware that this tour could mark the start of a new chapter for All Time Low but none of that future promise gets in the way of the all-and-out delight the band find in the now. Even on the biggest stages, All Time Low are the same goofy kids they’ve always been and their wide-eyed delight is infectious.
It’s a feeling mirrored from the off. As “Where The Wild Things” is narrated across the room, Against The Current bound onto the stage and, despite the thankless task of opening the show, instantly look at home in the massive surroundings. Kicking into ‘Running With The Wild Things’, it doesn’t take long for Chrissy to march down the runway as Dan switches from right to left and back again and Will finds time to toy with his drumsticks, making the whole affair look effortless. The band have no right to sound this good, considering the time, the alien surroundings and the unfamiliar crowd but the likes of ‘Talk’, ‘Dreaming Alone’ and the recent charge of ‘Outsiders’ are made for grander things. The band sound polished but their ramshackle enthusiasm shines through. New track ‘Forget Me Now’ is even bigger, capturing the swagger of Foo Fighters’ ‘Walk’ while the band’s message, “We’ve felt like outsiders our whole lives. Being an outsider and taking an unconventional path is why we’re up here tonight. Follow your hearts guys ‘cos we’re playing the O2 right now,” resonates with the ever-expanding crowd. It’d be crass to suggest that Against The Current will be one day headlining venues like this but there’s something undeniably special about the three-piece and, given the space, they shine.
Tonight is Good Charlotte’s third show in as many years but from the opening montage of ‘A New Beginning’, it’s like the band has never been away. The likes of ‘The Anthem’ and ‘My Bloody Valentine’ still pack a punch while comeback track ‘Makeshift Love’ stands tall amongst their impressive back catalogue. Despite the weight of their history, the band still takes the time to welcome the newcomers. That sense of inclusion has always been at the heart of Good Charlotte and tonight, the underdogs are victorious.
From the promise that the band will “teach you about life and shit”, through ‘Dance Floor Anthem’s dedication to Jessie J (“We call her Jessica”) to the closing riot of ‘Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous’ alongside the demand “We want to see the biggest pop-punk mosh-pit The O2 Arena has ever seen” for forty-minutes tonight belongs to Good Charlotte.
“Alex, this might be the best night of my life,” offers Jack Barakat midway through tonight’s headline set. “No shit,” comes the reply. From the explosive opening of ‘Kids In The Dark’, the band set out to make this the greatest All Time Low show ever and eighteen songs later, there’s a good chance they’ve succeeded.
The band’s ‘Future Hearts’ album was written with the confidence, skill and desire for evenings like tonight and, brought to life, that blue-sky dreaming comes good. All Time Low sound incredible but it’s not at expense of their playground antics with Alex and Jack bouncing off one another in song and in-between. There are moments of calm set alongside the reckless chaos with an acoustic ‘Therapy’ dedicated to “anyone’s who struggled with addiction. There is a way through. There is hope,” but for the most part, it’s silly business as usual.
Over a decade in the game and All Time Low are still reaching new heights but at no point during their two hour set do the band look like they’re reaching. There’s a comfort in the grandeur of tonight. “This is a dream come true,” the band offer. As the triple-threat encore of ‘Weightless’, ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ and ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ round off the evening, it’s not one that they’re going to be waking up from anytime soon. This is All Time Low at an all time high. The outsiders have taken over The O2 and they’ve never looked more at home.