All Time Low simply irresistible JBL Live at Pier 97 NYC 5-23-15 w/ Issues, Tonight Alive, & State Champs

Out of Baltimore, MD, All Time Low rose from the underground scene to become one of Pop Punk’s leading acts. Initially begun back in 2003, the band released their full-length debut The Party Scene in 2005, but it was not until 2009’s Nothing Personal when they would received their biggest commercial success, garnished by a a number one position in US Rock charts. Following up with Dirty Works in 2011 and Don’t Panic in 2012, they continued their dominance in an impressive fashion achieving Top 5 positions in US Rock charts for each.  Now in 2015, the band returned with their sixth studio album, Future Hearts, on April 7th, and in support of the album announced the Future Hearts tour across North America through May 24th when they finished off in their home city. Bringing along Issues, Tonight Alive, as well as State Champs, the tour was filled with diversity, so when the time came for JBL Live at Pier 97 in New York City to host the show on Saturday May 23rd, fans welcomed it with open arms. A relatively new venue, opening during last Summer concert season, the beautiful backdrop of the Hudson was a fitting visual as the sun hung overhead, about to set for a warm night of music and fun.

New York’s very own Pop Punk band, State Champs, were first on the bill, ready to up the crowd. Coming together in 2010, State Champs consist of vocalist Derek DiScanio, guitarist/vocalist Tyler Szalkowski, bassist/vocalist Ryan Scott Graham, guitarist Tony “Rival” Diaz, and drummer Evan Ambrosio. Releasing their EP Acoustic Things in 2014, State Champs proudly announced the completion of their sophomore LP to be released under their record label Pure Noise Records, with a yet to be announced release date.

Opening up the show with their single “Remedy,” the tuneful song reminded the crowd that Summer had finally arrived. DiScanio’s vocals and acoustic guitar playing during the heartfelt song “If I’m Lucky” prompted the sea of fans to sway their arms in the air from side to side, all while singing along with DiScanio. The rest of State Champs’ set included songs off their 2013 LP The Finer Things such as “Nothing’s Wrong,” “Prepare To Be Noticed,” “Hard To Please,” “Easy Enough,” “Simple Existence,” and a surprise encore with “Elevated.” The latter brought on a rush of crowd-surfers that bombarded security. Graham kept the final song smooth while he performed spin-kicking moves and stomps during breakdowns. They continue to tour abroad with 5 Seconds of Summer’s Rock Out With Your Socks Out Tour set to take off in Australia and New Zealand on June 18th, and will return stateside in July with Hit the Lights.

The energetic and rising Pop/Punk band Tonight Alive brought the heat from Sydney, Australia to also join the All Time Low: The Future Hearts Tour and electrified Pier 97’s stage as the sun set brightly upon it. Put together sometime in 2008, the band led by vocalist Jenna McDougall have already released two successful studio albums with 2011’s What Are You So Scared Of? and 2013’s The Other Side, and new work on the way sometime in 2015 after traveling to the US to work on it with renowned producer David Bendeth. Along with bassist Cam Adler, drummer Matt Best, as well as guitarists Whakaio Taahi and Jake Hardy, Tonight Alive are one of the hottest Alternative Rock acts coming. Following two successful North American runs with The Used in the earlier part of 2014, and Mayday Parade in later part of the year, these Australians are back with more energized performances to offer up.

Sitting on the edge of the Hudson River, Pier 97 provided the perfect setting for Tonight Alive’s music and performance. McDougall skipped onto the stage with a cheshire cat smile as her deep green hair whipped with the breeze of the Hudson River. Sporting a backwards baseball cap and yellow flag football t-shirt, a sea of young girls shouted and cheered as McDougall kicked off Tonight Alive’s set with their single “Lonely Girl.” The song’s chorus soon saw multiple fans being lifted above for crowd-surfing. McDougall made sure to share the mic with fans who sang along loudly to other Tonight Alive songs that evening such as “The Ocean,” “Listening,” “Wasting Away,” “The Fire,” and “What Are You So Scared Of?” McDougall’s personality truly shines on stage, not just as a performer who simply sings her parts on stage; she connects with the audience with genuine and bright-eyed contact and a contagious smile, which showed fans her gratitude to perform for them. Adler kept the energy high, spinning from stage left to the right while supporting McDougall’s performance.  Tonight Alive joined fans in jumping up and down during breakdowns as fans waved their arms from side to side, some throwing their horns up. With heavy, rhythmic guitar riffs and catchy, melodic vocals, Tonight Alive performed the final song of their set that fans anxiously waited to hear, “The Edge,”  famously known for appearing on 2014’s The Amazing Spider-man 2 Soundtrack.  While the band will concentrate on working on their new album for now, hopes are they will return to the road to support the new music soon after its release.

As direct support, Atlanta, GA based Metalcore band Issues were up next. Rising in the ranks since inception in 2012, Issues has a group of seasoned musicians with former Woe is Me vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn leading the way along with guitarist AJ Rebollo, bassist Skyler Acord, and drummer Josh Manuel. Mixing a plethora of styles ranging from Hip Hop, to Rock, and Metal, Issues has toured with Vans Warped Tour and even headlined the Journeys Noise Tour in 2014. Stilling soaring high with their chart-topping, self-titled debut album via Rise Records, 2015 looks to be another big year for the band.

Taking ownership of the stage with a Pokemon themed drum kit and amps, Issues’ set began with the Pokemon theme song played on the overhead speakers, generating boisterous laughing and cheering from fans. Once the theme concluded, Issues ran up on stage to truly begin their set with “Life of a Nine.” Changing up the mood for fans with a sound that was heavier than the other performances that evening, including clean and unclean vocals provided by Carter and Bohn, mid-set opened up a circle pit for the single “Never Lose Your Flames.” In fact, not one person in the crowd stood in place during Issues’ performance as all constantly jumped up and down to the band’s intense breakdowns and high-energy songs. Acord joined in on the crowds constant motion with high kicks across the stage and hair tossing in a frenzy. Other songs performed included “Sad Ghost,” “Mad At Myself,” “Disappear,” and “Hooligans,” all music from their debut album. Issues will now take some time off to continue work on their sophomore album, but will make appearances with New Found Glory June 17th, a trip to Hawaii June 19th, and trip to Aftershock Festival October 25th.

The time had come for the Future Hearts Tour headliners All Time Low, and New York City was completely locked in, ready to go. Marking the band’s first return to the Big Apple since their two-night stint at Best Buy Theater in April 2013, the two year break only added to the anticipation among the fans in the crowd who wondered what would be in store this time around. A matter of fact, All Time Low could not contain their fans’ euphoria and fervor, as there was nothing but screaming and hooting from the crowd moments before they began.

Without lead vocalist/guitarist Alex Gaskarth saying one word, the mood was instantly at a peak as cell phones were held high with lights on and waved side to side for “Satellite.” During the band’s second song, “The Irony of Choking on a Lifesaver,” a storm of ladies bra’s were flung from the crowd, aiming for the stage and the guys of All Time Low. Joining in on the fun, guitarist Jack Barakat happily gathered the under garments to hang them on his mic stand. Between songs, Gaskarth and Barakat interacted with fans, offering racy jokes, short stories, and a few words about their new album Future Hearts, having fans relishing and hanging on every word spoken.

Moving right along, All Time Low performed songs from the new album as well as older songs such as “Lost in Stereo”, “Stella,” “Six Feet Under the Stars,” “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t),” and “Runaways.” Adding a dynamic to the set, Gaskarth played the first verse of 2009’s title track, “Nothing Personal,” acoustically before the entire band joined in as they went into “Therapy,” newbie “Missing You,” and “The Reckless and the Brave.” Bringing out Tonight Alive’s McDougall to assist in “A Love Like War,” it proved to be magical as everyone enthralled themselves in the melodic powerhouse track. Jamming out the catchy “Backseat Serenade,” Gaskarth’s voice continued to sky high and kept fans in the audience screaming.

Keeping their show full of surprises, the band then selected fans from the crowd to join them on stage during the track “Time Bomb.” Nearly fainting from excitement, the chosen few got up on stage and jumped up and down in unison beside the guys of All Time Low under the blinking strobe lighting before the main set ended with their newest single “Something’s Gotta Give.” Enticed by amplified cheers, All Time Low graciously returned for an encore that featured a cool cover of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Theme Song),”  Green Day’s “American Idiot,” Blink-182’s “All The Small Things,” and concluded with 2006’s “Jasey Rae” before signature hit “Dear Maria, Count Me.”

Overall, All Time Low were the ball of emotional energy all their fans expected and more. Their fun unmistakable tunes were the perfect way to spend a Summer’s night outdoors and jump start a new season.  The band now set their eyes on a European dates through the end of the Summer. Needless to say, the Future Hearts tour stop in New York City kicked off the Summer festivities for JBL Love at Pier 97 in NYC, providing a night many will soon not forget.





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