all time low 2013@ o2 Academy Newcastle, February 10 2013

When you boast a lead singer with the baby-faced looks of Justin Bieber and the silky smooth moves of Justin Timberlake – and you’re playing to a crowd that wouldn’t look out of place in the Year 10 classroom – you’re always going to be a big hit.

As The Summer Set opened with their new single, Fuck U Over, lead singer Brian Dales delivered more of a pop star performance than a rock star’s masterclass. With no guitar to hinder his movement as he bopped and jigged around the stage like this was his big chance to impress. Going down on one knee to sing, he proved to be every photographer’s dream and every poster salesman’s easy sell. 

Just like every ladies’ man in any chick-flick ever produced, he told the crowd exactly what they wanted to hear. “You are all beautiful, let’s have some fun with this,” said the well-drilled Dales before cajoling the crowd with a well-timed ‘I can barely hear you at all’ – his Arizona drawl coming through thick against the Geordie yell.

Finishing with Chelsea, a typical pop-punk love song, he implored the unfortunates sitting down to ‘Get on your feet – this isn’t a movie!’. Earning himself a few disapproving stares from the security at least Dales showed his dangerous side.

Come the business hours on Newcastle’s high streets and the underwear salesmen will be doing a roaring trade – such was the extent of the bra throwing that took place from the outset and throughout the All Time Low set.

Guitarist Jack Barakat’s microphone stand looked more like a display piece at an underground lingerie shop – and every piece of underwear that was thrown his way was greeted with the same boyish wide-eyed amazement.

Opening their set with Somewhere In Neverland, the band’s light show looked like hundreds of laser sights pointed towards the crowd. If the lights were the laser sights and the songs were bullets, nobody was safe as they punched home with such ferocity that a number of unfortunate fans had to be helped out of the venue by their friends.

Barakat is a livewire on set – the band’s energetic nucleus – and there doesn’t seem to be anything that he won’t do. Pausing before Jasey Rae, the half blonde-half brunette put on a wig – that looked eerily like lead singers Alex Gaskarth’s own mop – before doing the running man whilst playing.

In between times Gaskarth’s encouraged the crowd with a wild ‘Where are you crazy motherfuckers? I wanna see a mosh pit’. Barakat’s increasingly erratic antics – he started off by tumbling across the stage and finished off by shadow-boxing the back of his singer’s head – imply carnage and an utter disregard for normality.

But All Time Low did show a genuine moment of compassion and one that suggests a deep rooted care for their fans.

After seeing a girl in the crowd go down Gaskarth stopped the gig, asked the crowd to give her some room, directed a member of staff to the girl and then only resumed when she had been declared fit to continue. He topped it all off by throwing bottles of water into the crowd.

Finishing with Dear Maria, Count Me In, All Time Low showed why they are  endearingly popular nationwide. Of course, Barakat did his own thing, this time getting lifted up by the bouncer so he could get to the crowd before taking a picture of himself with one lucky fan’s phone.

But that seems to be one of the reasons for this band’s continued success: a livewire performance mixed in with real care and compassion for their fans, with a healthy dose of unpredictability to boot.

Russell Hughes