Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

35° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



All Time Low showcases double-decade discography at ‘The Sound of Letting Go on Tour’

Jay Dugar / Daily Senior Staffer
All Time Low lead guitarist Jack Backarat struts his stuff during the band’s headlining show at Aragon Ballroom on Sept. 23.

When I found out Gym Class Heroes and All Time Low were playing a concert together, I knew I needed to be there — if nothing else to honor my middle school self. I studied the setlist for days, getting excited for the show. The artists and their two incredible openers did not disappoint. 

I went to the Chicago leg of All Time Low’s “The Sound of Letting Go on Tour” at Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom on Sept. 23. As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed the four-and-a-half-hour long experience, but what I didn’t expect was how interactive it ended up being. 

And, what I really didn’t expect was for the artists to be pretty funny.

The show started at 6:30 p.m. with indie artist Lauran Hibberd. To be completely honest, I did not know who she was when I walked through the door, but Hibberd anticipated that and was a good sport. She played a set of seven songs (including a cover of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” that the crowd very much enjoyed), making jokes periodically about how the crowd did not know who she was, but she was just happy to be there. 

After a short gap, the second opener, Grayscale, came on stage. Going into the show, I only knew one of their songs but the set proved incredibly enjoyable anyways. The Pennsylvania-based band opened with “Not Afraid To Die,” their single released a few weeks ago and its first new song since 2021.

As much as the crowd seemed to enjoy Lauran Hibberd and Grayscale, the energy when Gym Class Heroes came on was a level above. GCH opened its 45-minute set with “Kid Nothing and the Never-Ending Naked Nightmare,” and “Peace Sign/Index Down,” where lead singer Travie McCoy functionally taught the audience how to flip somebody off.

Gym Class Heroes lead singer Travie McCoy instructed the audience on flipping someone off during the song “Peace Sign/Index Down.” (Jay Dugar / Daily Senior Staffer)

Then came the time I’d been waiting for: All Time Low took the stage. ATL’s almost two-hour set was incredible, spanning 25 songs from nine albums across 15 years and featuring one Fall Out Boy cover.

My personal favorite songs performed were “Lost in Stereo,” “Dark Side of Your Room” and “Missing You,” (I swear, hearing that last one live would have made Jay from middle school so happy). But beyond the music, ATL put on an excellent show, having extremely high energy throughout the show and keeping the audience engaged with various interactive elements. 

For example, the 19th song in the set, “The Irony of Choking on a Lifesaver,” was selected by the audience using a QR code featured on a screen by the stage. (Of course, to maintain journalistic integrity, I did not vote … but this is the track I was hoping for). And, before playing the second song in the encore, guitarist Jack Barakat played five rounds of rock-paper-scissors with a random person in the audience. The audience member won and came on stage to press a button that “randomly” generated a song on the screen: “Coffee Shop Soundtrack.” 

A few other moments made the show even more interesting — Barakat noticed the ceiling of Aragon Ballroom painted with stars and stopped the show to ask the crowd, “Are we outside right now? Sorry, the mushrooms are kicking in.” 

A bit later in the show, Barakat was complaining about acid reflux and asked if anyone in the crowd had a Tums, taking a random pill that somebody tossed on stage. Lead singer Alex Gaskarth apologized for “getting old,” admitting (somewhat embarrassedly) that he’s 35.

All Time Low closed the first leg of its show with “Monsters,” originally featuring Demi Lovato and blackbear. But considering it hadn’t played its hit “Dear Maria, Count Me In,” yet, I knew the show wasn’t over. The performers returned a moment later for a five-track encore before closing with DMCMI and exiting the stage.

Even after making music for almost two decades and touring periodically, I was incredibly impressed with All Time Low’s performance. The performers played like seasoned experts while maintaining the excitement and fun you’d expect of rookies. I will definitely be attending its next tour, whenever it may be. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @dugar_jay

Related Stories:

The Lemon Twigs transcend time and trends with North American tour

Open Tab: PLANTA Queen redefines plant-based Japanese cuisine

Open Tab: Noodles & Company pulls together pasta dishes from across the globe

More to Discover