All Time Low’s Future Hearts Tour kicked off at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, MA on April 15 with support from Issues, Tonight Alive and State Champs. The crowd showed up early and packed into the venue quickly, excited for the night to start. With four outstanding bands the night was certainly set to be a night to remember.
State Champs took the stage first, with a strong stage presence, confidence and enthusiasm unmatched by most openers. In 8 songs they managed to do what many bands cannot do with a headlining set. They got the entire crowd engaged and off their feet, regardless of whether or not they were familiar with State Champs from the start of “Remedy”, their opening song. They are a band that gives the same energy and passion whether they’re playing hometown venue Bogies in Albany which holds 400 people at the very most and that would not be comfortable, at all, or an arena tour with All Time Low in a venue that can hold well over 6,000 people. Everyone puts their heart into their performances each time, and it shows, which is likely why attendees are able to connect. Catchy choruses and incredible on stage energy also draw in new fans for State Champs at every show they play. Attendees who have never heard or seen State Champs live before will be just as engaged as fans because their songs are welcoming with infectious energy. They had the attention of everyone in the arena and gave fans a reason to come out early.
At points of their set it seemed as if everyone in the arena was singing along, particularly during the acoustic performance of “If I’m Lucky” off of their most recent release on Pure Noise Records The Acoustic Things (2014). The rest of their setlist consisted of a mix of songs off their first full length, The Finer Things (2013). Among the songs played were fan favorites “Prepare to be Noticed”, “Deadly Conversation” and “Simple Existence”, all of which elicit a strong reaction from the crowd where ever State Champs play. As someone who has covered State Champs five times in the past year or so it is incredible to see how much they have grown. Their fan base has expanded exponentially in the last year, and rightfully so. They are going to continuing growing and it is very exciting to think about where they will be in another year! They just announced they will be supporting 5 Seconds of Summer on their Australian Tour.
Tonight Alive took the stage next with a very passionate performance. They too are a band that puts on a fantastic set each and every time they take the stage, regardless of where they are or the size of the crowd. It is evident they take great pride in what they do and want to make every show special for fans. Tonight Alive as toured along some great bands, including their Mayday Parade tour last fall, but this is certainly one of the biggest tours they’ve done in quiet some time and they most certainly are capitalizing on the larger crowd and the new audience. They kicked their set off with “Lonely Girl” from their 2013 full-length release The Other Side. It is a fiery song that always elicits a crowd sing along and gets everyone involved which is why it has become a staple song for Tonight Alive. It was the perfect song to kick off a set because it set the tone for what was to follow. They also played other fan favorite songs off of The Other Side including “The Fire” and “Don’t Wish”.
When “Listening” started there was a new energy in the room, everyone was involved and everyone was passionately screaming along. It is an extremely relatable song, which makes it an obvious fan favorite. The crowd sing-along carried on into “The Other Side” because it too is a very popular, highly relatable song. Frontwoman Jenna McDougall seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the crowd’s reaction and passion when screaming the lyrics to every word alongside her. “What Are You So Scared Of” is yet another fan favorite that always resonates well with attendees. Prior to the song McDougall had the crowd join her in chanting “From this day forward I refuse to live in fear of someone else’s judgment” which was incredibly powerful to be a part of for everyone in attendance. Moments like these emphasize the importance of music and how it brings people together from all different parts of life in a positive and uplifting way. McDougall gave many young fans in the audience a strong role model and positive message that day that really seemed to resonate strongly with them. After the positive message the energy and crowd involvement continued for “What Are You So Scared Of” and their closing song “The Edge”. Be sure to keep an eye out for Tonight Alive and catch them on the rest of this tour and going forward!
Issues were up next with a very high bar to reach from State Champs and Tonight Alive. The stage was setup and the audience was already buzzing about Issues before they took the stage because of their unique backdrop and stage set-up. Everything from their backdrop, to the drum kit, to the amps went along with their Pokemon theme which definitely created a few nostalgic moments for many in the building. They entered to the Pokemon theme song which could not have been a more perfect way to set the tone and get everyone excited. People were singing along and bouncing around before anyone took the stage. Drummer Josh Manuel took the stage to an already engaged and energetic crowd followed by the rest of his band mates. Issues always puts on a fantastic set as well, so it’s no surprise they were able to reach the bar set for them as direct support. Their music allows for everyone to get involved and jump around with the party atmosphere and phenomenal mix of clean and unclean vocals by Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn. Their voices compliment one another so perfectly that with catchy songs attendees cannot help but move around and sing along as their set goes on. Their set consisted of most of the songs fans would expect to hear however, it was disappointing that “King of Amarillo” did not make the cut.
Among the songs that did make it was opening song “Life of a Nine” from their 2014 self titled release. The majority of their set contained songs off of this release including the uplifting “Never Lose Your Flames” which always puts the crowd in a great mood and has rightfully become a staple song for the group. The ever popular “Stingray Affliction” and “Mad at Myself” were also played off of the record. Issues took on a more somber tone for a song with one of only two songs on the setlist not from their self-titled release; “Princeton Avenue” always strikes a chord with the audience as it takes a more serious tone and subject matter that is not in keeping with the normal muse for Issues’ songs. They closed out their set with “Hooligans” the only other song they played not from their self- titled release which get the crowd riled up and even more excited than they already were.
By the time All Time Low was ready to take the stage the audience certainly could not wait any longer. The excitement and anticipation for what was sure to be one of the strongest sets of the concert season could be felt all around. All Time Low had just released their album Future Hearts, which was received with great success. It debuted in the top spot in both the U.S. and the U.K. This incredible debut made the release a historic moment for both All Time Low and their record label, Hopeless Records. The albums success has not stopped there, currently it has sold over 100 thousand copies. All Time Low took the stage with one of the tracks off that record, “Satellites” and a stunning lights display, which just confirmed what everyone already knew— the night was going to be incredible and one that would stay with everyone for concerts to come. All Time Low is known for having an unforgettable stage presence and atmosphere but they outdid themselves on this tour. They stepped up from club venues into smaller arenas and raised their level of performance along with the venue change. They clearly deserve to be in the larger venues with their ability to create a unique set through their own distinct style and sense of humor and antics. It was not long into their set when the bras started raining onto the stage and as usual became props for the group, particularly lead guitarist Jack Barakat.
The 19 song set had something for everyone in it with a great mix of new songs and favorites of the past. After “Satellites” they went into a classic All Time Low song, “Lost in Stereo” off of their 2009 release, Nothing Personal. They also played other staple songs from the record including “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)”, “Weightless” and the very emotional “Therapy”. “Therapy” is a song that will likely always make the setlist because of the importance of the song to so many fans. It is always a very special and cathartic moment of the set for countless fans as touches on a more serious topic that many fans relate to. It is a break from the up-beat tempos and crazy stage antics, even though it only lasts a few minutes it is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, song in the set. There are also the staple songs off of Don’t Panic as well that found their way into the set including “Backseat Serenade”, “Somewhere in Neverland”, “The Reckless and the Brave” and of course “A Love Like War”. “A Love Like War” was performed in a very special way however, on this tour. Frontwoman Jenna McDougall joined All Time Low to do guest vocals alongside frontman Alex Gaskarth where Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil sings on the record. This show was the live debut for many songs off of Future Hearts including “Runaways”, closing song to the set “Something’s Gotta Give” and the opening song to their encore “Kids in the Dark” all three songs were extremely well received as the majority of the crowd, if not all of it, knew the words and passionately sung along. They closed out their encore with two all time fan favorites, “Jasey Rae” and of course “Dear Maria, Count Me In”. During these two songs the crowd reached it’s peak for the night with energy and excitement. The production for “Dear Maria” matched the excitement and energy in the building with an incredible light show and massive confetti cannons erupting over the crowd.
All Time Low could not have had three better supporting bands to create a tour that will be the highlight of the year for many concert goers. They kicked the tour off in the truest of All Time Low fashions with unmatched energy and showmanship. This is the tour to see if it has not come through your town already. With incredible vocals, passionate stage presence, and an overall upbeat atmosphere all four bands create the perfect experience for fans.