San Diego, a city known for its laid-back vibes and stunning scenery, found itself awash in musical euphoria last week. Baltimore pop-punk group All Time Low was joined by Gym Class Heroes, Grayscale, and Lauran Hibberd as they played a sold out show at The Observatory venue located in the North Park neighborhood.
The evening kicked off with the sensational Lauran Hibberd, a singer-songwriter hailing all the way from the Isle of Wight in the UK. The three-piece band, which included drummer James Porter and bassist Jess Baker, wasted no time making an impression with their high energy. But before diving into her set, Hibberd couldn’t help but comment on the apparent attractiveness of San Diego locals. “I’ve only been in San Diego for 3 hours, but everyone here is so good looking… how is that possible?” she mused, setting the tone for a night that was as charming as it was electrifying. Her songs touched upon themes of young romance and the human condition, and the audience seemed to relate as they cheered and danced along.
Hollaback Girl (Gwen Stefani cover)
That Was a Joke
I Suck At Grieving
Up next was Grayscale, a five-member ensemble from Philadelphia. Formed in 2011, the group currently features lead vocalist Collin Walsh, lead guitarist Andrew Kyne, rhythm guitarist Dallas Molster, and drummer Nick Veno. Their performance was nothing short of a visual spectacle, with beautiful rainbow lighting and atmospheric fog setting the mood. One song in particular, “Dirty Bombs” off of their 2021 album Umbra, stood out as an emotional crescendo that had the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Not Afraid To Die
Babylon (Say It to My Face)
The anticipation for Gym Class Heroes was palpable, and the band delivered on all fronts. Forming in 1997 when lead singer Travie McCoy met drummer Matt McGinley during their high school gym class, the group also includes guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo and bassist Ralfy Valencia. The audience was captivated right from the moment McCoy hobbled onto the stage with a limp. “You may have noticed I walked out here with a limp. I’m not trying to be cool; it’s those damn Lime scooters you’ve got here on the west coast!” he quipped as everyone laughed.
During “Stereo Hearts,” a sea of hands formed hearts in the air, evoking a sense of unity and connection. McCoy then shared a relatable anecdote, asking, “anyone else addicted to Amazon during COVID?” and recounting the collective weirdness of the past 3 years as so many people were stuck indoors. As the entire venue illuminated with the glow of cell phone screens, the band launched into “Billionaire,” with the crowd’s singing nearly drowning out the band itself. They went on to cover a mix of Gym Class Heroes and Travie McCoy songs, sending concertgoers through waves of nostalgia and funky energy.
Kid Nothing and the Never-Ending Naked Nightmare
Peace Sign/Index Down
Billionaire (Travie McCoy song)
Loved Me Back to Life (Travie McCoy song)
Ass Back Home
Stop It (Travie McCoy song)
As the lights dimmed, Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On,” played over the speakers while the screen showed a boom box tuning between songs. It cycled through sound bites of past All Time Low songs as the much-anticipated headliner burst onto the stage with exuberance. The foursome, made up of lead singer Alex Gaskarth, guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson, formed in Baltimore, Maryland in 2003 and has been consistently delivering successful pop-punk albums and touring ever since.
The band began with a trio of hits from their earlier albums, “Lost In Stereo,” “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t),” and “Six Feet Under The Stars,” which are always crowd-pleasers.
“This is the hometown of my favorite band, Blink-182… so every time we’re here,” said Barakat, and Gaskarth chimed in, “We shed 182 tears… in tribute!” The jokes were not in short supply this evening.
Lauran Hibberd joined All Time Low to sing Pale Waves’ part of “PMA,” creating a unique and unforgettable collaboration on stage. The stage production throughout the night was nothing short of epic, featuring layers of moving lights, music video playback, live video feeds, and a stunning array of colors and logos.
In true All Time Low fashion, the band described one of their songs as “the horniest song we’ve ever written,” leading to laughter from the audience as they played “New Religion” from their latest album. The setlist was a perfect blend of classic hits and newer tracks, keeping fans of all ages satisfied. They also mentioned that San Diego was the first tour date to sell out, and thanked the crowd for their dedication.
One of the night’s lighter moments came when the crowd began passing around a red balloon. Gaskarth noticed and asked for it, and a security guard handed it over. The balloon was promptly popped, much to the dismay of the audience. Barakat quickly pointed out a smaller blue balloon bouncing through the room and jokingly “protected” it from harm.
As the night drew to a close, All Time Low invited the audience to select a song through a QR code vote. A retro video game-style graphic showed the votes counting, and “Last Young Renegade” was the winner. The band joked that the same song is chosen almost every night and they may need to remove it from the setlist. They wrapped up the evening with an encore of “Sleepwalking” and their most popular song “Dear Maria, Count Me In” as the crowd passionately sang, danced, and moshed along.
Lost in Stereo
Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)
Six Feet Under the Stars
Tell Me I’m Alive
Fake As Hell
Dark Side of Your Room
The Way You Miss Me
The Sound of Letting Go
Last Young Renegade
Dear Maria, Count Me In