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Ace in the Hole

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All Time Low
Kenan Auditorium, UNCW
602 S. College Rd.
Sept. 12th • $15-$25
www.etix.com

HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? The badassery that is All Time Low comes to UNCW’s campus next Wednesday, Sept. 12. Tickets on sale now. Courtesy photo

It takes a certain level of badassery to do a major promotional photo shoot in nothing but tighty-whities. All Time Low’s infallible ability to take nothing too seriously gained them fame and recognition early in their career. Not to mention, the tighty-whities were wildly popular amongst their female fans (myself included) who more often than not put the photo, ripped from a magazine, in their lockers to gawk at between classes. Songs like “Coffee Shop Soundtrack,” in which lead singer Alex Gaskarth breathily proclaims, “The flavor of your lips is enough to keep me here,” have kept fans swooning for more than just their lanky physiques and side-swept hair.

Before graduating high school, the Baltimore rockers burst onto the music scene with a high-energy, sugar-sweet brand of pop-punk, which resonate with emo legends Fall Out Boy and the Starting Line. The four-member outfit comprises Gaskarth, drummer Rian Dawnson, lead guitarist Jack Barakat and bassist Zack Merrick, all of whom started touring at the beginning of tenth grade with just a rented U-Haul trailer and a van. Since, they’ve built a fan base faster and stronger than many, amassing millions globally. Despite being self-proclaimed “horrible musicians,” as mentioned in an Alternative Press interview in April of 2008, All Time Low has managed to put out five records and take on many headlining tours.

Their first studio album, seven-track EP, “Put Up Or Shut Up,” released in 2006, gave fans catchy, heartfelt tracks of love, lust and angst. Tales of underage drinking and skirt-chasing fill the record with relatable songs that sound like a high-school memory. All Time Low have been called many things from generic to gay, but boring isn’t a term that applies. While the band is inspired by pop-punk standards like Blink-182, they are by no means lacking their own unique flair. With a singer like Gaskarth who takes pride in his ability to make dick jokes and the band’s knack for pranking tour-mates, All Time Low’s hijinks make up their attitude as much as making music.

After playing several shows in Europe, All Time Low will return to the U.S. and make a quick stop in Wilmington on Wednesday, September 12th to play UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium. The quartet hasn’t played Wilmington since 2008, where they landed at the now-defunct Lucky’s Pub. A lot has changed since they headlined their first tour. Up to that point, they had only released two albums.

Now, with three (including one sweet live album) under their belt, their sound has grown into something much smoother without losing its signature saccharine. “Dirty Work,” the band’s most recent release (2011) brings a little less angst and a bit more soul to the equation. With guitar riffs that echo ‘80s pop hits more than pop-punk, “Dirty Work” embodies All Time Low’s ability to evolve without losing its catchiness. Unlike previous releases, “Dirty Work” makes frequent use of synthesizer, a touch that brings to mind powerpop band Hellogoodbye. “I Feel Like Dancin’,” a collaborative writing effort of Gaskarth and Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, is a neatly packaged single ready for the masses to absorb. Hopefully, the live rendition of the track will hold up to the recording when they play UNCW next week.

Association for Campus Entertainment (ACE), the student organization at UNCW which booked All Time Low as the school’s annual fall show, has consistently brought high-profile acts to campus, including Gym Class Heroes and Jay Sean. ACE has confirmed that All Time Low will have an opening act, but as of press they had not yet announced who it will be. While the event is targeted toward students, it is open to the community.

Tickets are available at the Kenan Box Office located in Kenan Auditorium or at www.etix.com. Student tickets are $15 before the show or $18 on the day of; faculty and staff tickets are $18 early or $20 on the day of; and public tickets are $20 early or $25 on the day of. Students can follow @uncwace on Twitter for a chance to win free tickets. Doors open September 12th at 6:30 p.m and the show starts at 7 p.m.

[Ed. note: All Time Low was unreachable for interview.]

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, 910tix.com. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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