All Time Low hit the House of Blues with Yellowcard

A review of All Time Low & Yellowcard at the House of Blues on May 6, 2011

, Contributing Writer

Pop-punk favorites All Time Low hit the House of Blues on Friday as part of their “Dirty Work Tour” with Yellowcard and Hey Monday. It was the second to last night of the spring outing, but the bands were none the worse after a month on the road. Together, they rocked a favorable set to the sold out crowd of mostly teenagers.

All Time Low rocked a 90-minute set, almost as long as the three preceding bands combined, that culled mostly from songs off of their 2009 smash hit Nothing Personal, including “Damned if I Do Ya (Damned if I Don’t)” and “Sick Little Games.” They also broke out their brand new single, “I Feel like Dancin’”, which worked especially well in the live setting.

The concert had the presumption of being a punk show; certainly All Time Low and predecessors Yellowcard wanted the audience to think so on some level. But although they tried to get circle pits going (even shouting directions to move in a counter-clockwise fashion) the vibe of the show and the audience at-large was more teen pop than punk (think Miley Cyrus without quite as much wide-eyed euphoria). This was probably owed to the make-up of the audience; similar to a crowd at the zoo on a Sunday afternoon. Even so, very few trips to zoo would be as stress free and easy-going as Friday’s show. This wasn’t a PG show, though. All Time Low lead guitarist Jack Bakarat spent much of the night collecting bras thrown on stage and piling them on his mic. As he noted after catching one particular bra, “Hey, a pokemon bra. Gotta catch ‘em all”.

A spontaneous “Go Bruins!” chant erupted during the second half of the set (for much of the night the Bruins game was played on TVs near the bar) after they scored to go up 2-1 in the 3rd period. The chants began again after they sealed the win, which coincided with All Time Low’s break before the encore. As lead singer Ryan Key jokingly noted to his band-mates, “I like how they don’t even care that they’re at an All Time Low show right now”. Even they couldn’t quite contend with the Bruins. That said, All Time Low did manage to find a good balance between delivery typical rock show tomfoolery while also catering and rocking to the captive crowd.

In the primary support slot was Yellowcard. Coming off a two year hiatus, the band dedicated most of their 40-minute set to greatest hits and fan favorites. They ran through songs off Ocean Boulevard and Light and Sounds, the albums that made them one of the more popular and recognizable power-pop bands of the mid 2000s. “Lights and Sounds”, “Light up the Sky”, “Believe” and “Only One” were all given special focus, and placing most of these songs in the back half of the set gave the show a lot of momentum moving forward to All Time Low’s headlining set.

The pop-rockers, who evoke a Coldplay circa X&Y like vibe, are known for differentiating their sound via violinist Sean Mackin. On this particular night, however, the violin was barely audible on a number of songs. On certain songs, like “Believe”, the violin did come in audibly over the fray, with a repeating circular hook, that gave the song some pop.

Hey Monday, led by Cassidy Butler on vocals and played their brand of Power-pop. Hey Monday played for a little under 30 minutes and mostly moved through songs off of their 2008 album Hold on Tight. Butler’s strong vocals powered the band through set highlights “Arizona” and “Wondergirl,” the latter of which was an acoustic ballad.

Early arrivals were treated to a quick set from openers Summer Set.

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