I've been to many concerts in my young life already, but never one quite like that which I experienced at Louisville's Expo Five, where All Time Low headlined the "Rise and Fall of My Pants" tour. Between the most unique venue I've ever attended and the copious amounts of ear candy coming from every direction, I am calling my October 28th one of the most memorable days of my life. Granted, the headliner of the event was a longtime favorite of mine, but the evening delivered an even more fulfilling experience than I had anticipated.
I arrived early to a massive crowd waiting outside the metal hangar that is the "Expo Dome." As I waited for a few moments outside, I quickly realized that my t-shirt and hoodie should have been accompanied by perhaps another layer or even a sock cap, as it was easily the coldest evening we've seen since early spring. With hundreds of fans waiting outside, scantily clad in the frigid fall weather (when you're from California, upper 40's is frigid), you know the bill for the evening must be pretty good.
I entered with the meet and greet group to mingle with Baltimore punk band, All Time Low. Like the evening's forecast, the guys were extremely cool. Band members gladly signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans. I talked candidly with band front men Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat. They said they were able to enjoy a movie after getting into town, catching the 1:00 showing of Money Ball at Baxter Avenue Theatres and were looking forward to playing this show since they hadn't gotten to play in Kentucky in a couple of years.
Kicking off the night's musical menagerie were some up and coming talents - Louisville's own Talk of Spring and Think Harder as well as a young band from Leitchfield, KY, Sounds Taken. Think Harder was an impressive group that played some of their own hits as well as some covers, like My Chemical Romance's “Teenagers.” Sounds Taken is a band that is showing that age is indeed just a number. The band is cranking out some real head bangers fresh out of high school, like "Paranoia" and "The Human Condition." I fully expect great things from all of these bands in the near future.
As for the main attractions, Paradise Fears got it rolling hot out of the gate with some hits of their own as well as some fun covers to get the crowd warmed up, including Bowling for Soup’s “Stacy’s Mom” and an impressive rap cover of Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass.” At one point in their set, lead singer Sam Miller was giving shout-outs to members of the band’s crew when he said,
“…and shout out to whoever has to vacuum these carpeted ceilings later tonight, that must be difficult.”
Sam was of course referencing the white, blown insulation on the ceiling of the Expo Dome which helps to create what is some of the best live-band acoustics I’ve ever heard.
Following Paradise Fears was He is We. The Seattle-based indie-pop band played a quick set that was peppered with some voice troubles from lead singer Rachel Taylor, but was still very impressive.
The packed Expo Dome received a jolt of energy from The Ready Set. Jordan Witzigreuter threw his head of rock hair all around the stage to his popular singles like “Love Like Woe” and “Young Forever.” Besides All Time Low’s, The Ready Set was my favorite set of the night. It was one full of crowd-jumping, great vocals and amazing energy.
Finally, All Time Low made their grand entrance to a man in a kind of yodeling outfit, playing a plastic flute to the tune of 20th Century Fox’s movie intro sequence – brilliant. Their first song was “Forget About It” off of their latest album from Interscope Records, Dirty Work. The band played a huge set from their grocery list of hits, performing everything from veteran fan favorites like “Six Feet Under the Stars,” “Poppin’ Champagne,” and “Stay Awake,” to newer hits like “Time Bomb” and “Weightless.”
Even if you disregard the typical party concert fare, like the throwing of undergarments onto the stage and occasional concrete-eating mosh pit fail, All Time Low’s set was full of surprises from start to finish. At one point Jack Barakat streaked across stage in a Bumble Bee helmet from Transformers and in another he took a girl’s iPhone from the crowd and narrated as he perused through her photo gallery.
There were numerous laughable and exciting moments of the night, but none were as impressive as when lead singer Alex Gaskarth climbed the 12-foot scaffolding on the side of the stage during the band’s encore and sang the end of “Dear Maria, Count Me In” from the rafters of the Expo Dome.
On an impressive side note, Dear Maria is ATL’s most successful single, having been Certified Gold through digital sales without ever even being played on the radio.
Come the conclusion of the show, All Time Low expressed its deep gratitude for the awesome Kentucky crowd. The band says this tour will be their last American tour for some time, but that they will indeed return. “Until next time,” exclaimed Alex.
As for Expo Five, here is a list of their upcoming shows:
November 9 – Owl City with Days Difference
November 19 – Born of Osiris with Veil of Maya and Carnifex
December 1 – Asking Alexandria with Black Veil Brides
For more info on the venue and upcoming shows, visit their website a expofive.com.
Photos courtesy of: Michael Windle