Live: The All American Rejects at the Garage

By Tom Aylott

There was a time when THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS were borderline huge, smearing themselves all over the charts and finding themselves being played in bedrooms all around the globe. A fair few years have passed, and the AAR guys want that status back. The only thing is, their new album ‘Kids In The Street’ lacks the pop punch that their previous efforts had – so getting that place back may prove a tad tricky…

Tonight is a tiny show as far as AAR shows go, and obviously the small Garage is rammed from wall to wall with teenagers eager for their long-awaited fix of the Oklahoma rockers. Bands commonly leave their hugest hits and biggest crowd pleasers until the end as a mega finale – but AAR blow their load early, unleashing ‘Dirty Little Secret’ and ‘My Paper Heart’ in the first few minutes. After such a high, of course the remaining show is going to suffer when filled with mostly brand new material that doesn’t quite match the caliber of the older stuff. The newer songs, like ‘Walk Over Me’ and ‘Beekeeper’s Daughter’, show that AAR have matured – but these new tracks are definitely ones that need time to grow on you. They need time to be appreciated. Whereas old-school classic ‘Swing Swing’ instantly hits you and gets you in that sing along mood.

Tyson Ritter’s in-between song banter is very often slurred, indicating that himself and alcohol are still good friends. Luckily this doesn’t affect the performance, which is a strong one for the most part – even though the ever evil backing track lurks around all night.

Even though they peaked way too early, AAR save a few little gems for the end. ‘Gives You Hell’ unites the crowd in a mass sing-along before fittingly closing out on ‘The Last Song’. We’re sure that next time AAR return, and the new album has had time to nestle it’s way into everyone’s minds – their shows will have much more of an impact, but tonight it’s pretty flat.