LIVE: All Time Low / SWMRS / Waterparks @ Corn Exchange, Edinburgh

By Kathryn Black

All Time Low have been around for a long time. A really long time. Over more than a decade, the pop punk to pop rockers have released a multitude of albums, probably without you even realising, and have continued to win over new fans with their signature brand of radio-friendly, emotional cliché laden music. Bringing a little magic to a soulless venue in Edinburgh (think conferences rather than crowd-surfing), All Time Low showed us how to headline a show: with enthusiasm, storytelling and a sincere love for their audience.

Openers Waterparks were adored by 10% of the audience and ignored by the rest. Our previous thoughts on the record were confirmed as accurate and their squeaky-clean pop punk contrasted with potty-mouthed lead singer Awsten Knight’s incessant swearing, despite the teenage audience. Not to sound grumpy, but sometimes less is more and in this case the album is better than the live show.

Here’s a thought: what must it be like to come from Oakland, California and play a gig in a venue next to an Asda and a Chinese buffet? SWMRS seem out of place both location and line-up wise, but they play with the ferocity and energy of the finest punk bands. Lead singer Cole Becker had the crowd engaged from the first swish of his long blue-tinted hair and, although not many of the audience knew of them to start with, they certainly gained some new admirers.

Following a fairly long break to set up their impressive light rig, All Time Low were obviously the well-established headline act from the second they strutted on to the stage. Confident but not cocky, cheeky but endearing, they took control of the audience and treated fans to the breadth of their back catalogue. In the spirit of pop fans watching their favourite boyband, bras were thrown at the stage, notes were passed to the front, and declarations of love were screamed.

It’s easy to stick your nose up at the bands of your youth when you’re an older, “serious” music fan but there was no place for snobbery at the ATL show. With songs like ‘Six Feet Under The Stars’ able to transport you back to the memories of seeing the band play smaller venues in 2008, and ‘Weightless’ just as much of a rousing, hopeful anthem as ever, it’s difficult not to fall in love with All Time Low all over again.

From the electronically enhanced ‘Dirty Laundry’ to the faultless ‘Kicking & Screaming’, they really could do no wrong. ‘Something’s Gotta Give’, complete with inflatable beach balls, raised the element of fun (not that it needed any help initially) and the effect of ‘Guts’ on a couple of thousand teenagers was obvious as they sang along with Alex Gaskarth, “Is this what it feels like? Finding out / That I’ve got the guts / To say anything.”

And that’s what makes All Time Low so special. Sure, they’re too cheesy for most. Yes, some of their songs sound incredibly similar. But, most importantly, it’s not often you hear such a volume of audience singalongs in a venue so relatively small. There’s something about the way the likes of ‘Therapy’, to which a pair of young friends held their hands together in the air whilst they sang along in unison, brought an audience both old and young together.