LIVE REVIEW: All Time Low/Issues/Tonight Alive/State Champs – Columbus, OH – 5/13/15

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When the Future Hearts tour lineup was announced, there was an immediate flow of positive feedback. Every band on the roster was a strong fit, including one that stuck out just a bit from the genre of the overall tour. The tour consisted of All Time Low, Issues, Tonight Alive and State Champs. When the tour rolled through Columbus, Ohio, at the LC Pavilion (which is an outdoor venue), the sun was out shining, while the weather was a tad muggy. It felt as if it was a miniature Warped Tour, and who could hate that? It was a perfect way to kick off summer.

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State Champs took the stage and opened with “Remedy,” getting everyone moving. Since the start of last year, SC have grown at such a rapid pace, and it was a great sight to see everyone singing along to every word. They know how to work a crowd unlike so many others and response back was just what they wanted, and probably even more than expected. It didn’t take long for the crowd surfers to get up to the front of the stage, and they didn’t stop coming at a rapid pace until SC left the stage. They played their usual upbeat, fast moving, pop punk songs like, “Nothing’s  Wrong”, “Prepare to be Noticed”, and “Deadly Conversation,” that are all from The Finer Things. A surprising song to the set list was their acoustic song, “If I’m Lucky,” that was released on their album, The Acoustic Things. Most openers don’t take the time to slow things down, seeing as they have a short set time. For SC, it fit perfectly, and the last half of the song was picked up by the full band giving it a new sound than what is featured in the audio version. They closed their set with the high-energy song, “Elevated,” and got everyone moving once again. Throughout the entire night, there were constantly people at their tent buying merch or waiting to score an autograph and photo with the band. It won’t be long for State Champs to be going out on their own headlining tour at the size of this one. Big things are to come for this group, and they showed Columbus why they are here to stay.

photo: Kane HibberdTonight Alive came out strong on their first song with “Lonely Girl.” The crowd did not respond immediately as well to this set as the one before, but by the end TA won them over. Columbus hasn’t had the exposure to TA like many other cities, and you could feel that while standing in the crowd.—the last time they played the city was in 2013. They have toured with the same set of songs for quite sometime, and it would have benefited them to have some new, upbeat music to take out on tour. Although the crowd’s reaction took a while to build, the group played a clean set. I have never heard the band members sound so in sync with one another, and Jenna’s vocals were better than ever. You can tell she has worked to get to where she is today, and it was a pleasure to be in the crowd listening to her stronger voice. They left Columbus with a solid performance, and I don’t think you can ask for much more as a touring act. Most songs performed were pulled from their most recent album, 2013’s The Other Side like, “The Fire,” “Don’t Wish,” “Listening” and the title track. They pulled an older song, “What Are You So Scared Of?” and you could find the fans that have followed TA for all this time as they loudly sang back the words. Before starting the song, Jenna took time to speak to the crowd about not being afraid to be themselves, and the stray away from judgments. It was a positive speech and it led perfectly into that track. They closed with “The Edge,” their most recent single.

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Up next were Issues. They didn’t necessarily fit in with the rest of the others, considering they play heavier music when compared to the rest of the bill. To no surprise though, many of their fans were also fans of the other acts. There were Issues T-shirts spotted all over the pit, and everyone was still just as excited. Their live show has shifted a bit if you have seen them before as they have lost DJ Ty Acord from the live lineup. While he still is working on the new music with them, he has dropped off from touring. Issues started off their set with “Life of A Nine,” and it was perceived in two different ways. There were those in the crowd that loved it, but the younger girls in the audience were definitely confused since they had never heard Issues’ music, and just kind of stared back at the band. I can only assume it is harder to win over the younger ATL fans as opposed to the older ones that are willing to listen. With that being said, Issues felt off in Columbus. The band sounded great, Michael Bohn performed very well, but Tyler Carter seemed off vocally. I have seen Issues in the past, and they just didn’t seem to be themselves that night, which was unfortunate and not as fun to watch. I want to assume it’s because of the younger girls in the front who probably were not receiving the music well, or maybe there was something else going on behind the scenes? Aside from that, the music sounded great and others in the pit had a blast. Most songs came from their self-titled debut album, including “Stingray Affliction,” “Never Lose Your Flames,” “Mad At Myself” and more. The mood become a bit emotional with the performance of “Disappear,” and it was a very heartfelt moment on and off the stage. They closed the set with one of their bigger singles, “Hooligans,” and that finally got people moving and crowd surfing at the end.

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To wrap up the night, headliners All Time Low came out and completely took over. This tour is in support of their new album, Future Hearts, and yet their setlist still incorporated a large amount of older songs, catering to both old and new fans. Their typical middle school potty humor was present, but it wouldn’t be an ATL show without it—although this was the first ATL show that I have been to where they are able to get through a huge chunk of songs with way less talking than normal.

They opened with a new song, “Satellite,” and it was a great to start off. Since that song, they moved in and out of their older albums, Don’t Panic, Dirty Work, Nothing Personal, Put Up Or Shut Up and So Wrong, It’s Right. The crowd was up and moving the whole time; when the set was slowed down to perform “Therapy,” the crowd surfing still didn’t stop. If you have been a fan of ATL for a while now, this set list is for you. Jenna McDougall came out on stage for “A Love Like War,” singing the part that is performed by Vic Fuentes on the studio version. They finished their set with “Something’s Gotta Give” and a portrait of a zombified ATL in the backdrop. Of course the crowd wouldn’t let them go, so the band came back out to perform their new single, “Kids In The Dark,” “Jasey Rae” then a classic, “Dear Maria, Count Me In.”

Once you’ve seen ATL, you almost always want to see them again—at least this has seemed the case, up until this show. The ages of the crowds at ATL shows have continued to drop, in which most cases you would assume the opposite, seeing as they have been playing for quite sometime. It is a little uncomfortable listening to the vulgar talk, while knowing there are some very young girls in the audience. Maybe the Columbus show was an exception from others on the tour, but it just felt strange. There were some classic ATL fans and those that have grown with the boys and their music, but it was just different that night. A group near me throughout the night continued yell year fairly mean things to ATL while they performed, and I just don’t see the point in that. Why pay for the ticket and not enjoy the show? The joke was on that group, because the music drowned them out and ATL made money off their tickets.