All Time Low’s Basement Noise Stream Gave Wake Up, Sunshine The Live Party It Deserves
Like so, so many artists this year, All Time Low have found themselves stuck in the unfortunate position of releasing a (genuinely brilliant) new record, but not being able to tour it. And it bloody sucks. This much is made clear by the band during the opening introduction to the first of their five Basement Noise livestreams, with frontman Alex Gaskarth explaining, “We are here because we can’t go on tour right now, and that is unusual…”
Joined by his bandmates – guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick and drummer Rian Dawson – at an undisclosed location in Nashville, Alex continues that the Baltimore pop-punks began to figure out “the next best thing” in these strange times. And, after quarantining in a house together, taking various COVID-19 tests and precautions, and, er, actually learning how to play Wake Up, Sunshine in full, the moment has arrived to finally give album number eight the live celebration it truly deserves.
“We’re able to step inside some rooms together and film a performance – which, right now at this juncture, feels really important to do, to share with you guys the most important aspect of the record: which is seeing us do it live,” Alex continues. “That’s kind of always the most important part of every record we make.”
As the stream then seamlessly cuts to the live performance and the vocalist/guitarist kicks off opener Some Kind Of Disaster, what’s immediately clear about the Basement Noise series is just how professional it both looks and sounds. From the background WU,S logo and sideways lightshow dreamily illuminating the quartet, to the crisp quality of every single note, this is so much more than your average online set.
And after blasting through Sleeping In and Getaway Green in slick style, it starts to feel like a proper All Time Low show, too, with Alex and Jack’s trademark onstage banter coming to the fore. Then, during the exhilarating Melancholy Kaleidoscope (an album highlight and now live standout, too), the frontman starts letting his inner showman out, telling the cameras: “I don’t care where you are, I don’t care what you’re doing… even if it’s weird to sing along in your room, sing with me right now!”
If Basement Noise was this and this alone for 15 songs, it’d already be wicked enough. But All Time Low take things to the next level as they cut away after several choice tracks (Melancholy Kaleidoscope, Monsters, Favourite Place and Summer Daze) to unpack the performance as it plays out. “There are some songs when you look at your setlist and you see it – for me, at least, as a drummer – and you’re like, ‘Oh no!’” laughs Rian of Melancholy… “And this one being fourth I was like, ‘Okay, I should be warmed up…’ and I remember when we got to it I was like, ‘Nope!’” It’s a sweet human touch that brings you even closer to the band.
Far from looking rusty at any points, though, the multiple camera angles in the venue actually emphasise just how well rehearsed All Time Low are. From Alex grabbing hold of the camera and flawlessly rapping blackbear’s cameo on Monsters, to the on-point musicianship of the swaggering January Gloom (Season, Pt. 1) and pop-punk perfection of Clumsy, it’s a full-throttle set from a band still at their prime almost two decades into their career. Not only that, but these closer shots within the confines of a smaller venue bring an added layer of intimacy, letting your imagination run wild and making it easier than ever to envision crowdsurfing over the barrier and having an almighty sing-along in person when the time is finally right again.
With four more Basement Noise streams to come over the next couple of months – the secret setlists of which are all to be individually selected by the band – this isn’t the last we’ll see of All Time Low in a virtual capacity in 2020. And Wake Up, Sunshine in its entirety was a hell of a way to get the party started…
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