In 5 years All Time Low has skyrocketed to the forefront of the scene, going from Baltimore high schoolers to world tour headliners in no time. Last year the band released their third full length, Nothing Personal, which had an expansive yet defined sound. The band took a step back from up tempo pop punk anthems and instead chose to take a step towards stadium-filling pop rock hits. While this transition may have alienated fans, the band still seems to draw attention and excitement from the believers. When “Weightless” was released last March, AP.net was flooded with mostly praise and love for the band. It showed the band could produce a larger sound and still be real with who they are. That was what this band has always been about, and they have never lost that. But with all the good there is always going to be the bad as well. No one is perfect and ultimately four guys can’t please everyone.
Fast forward to 2010, where the band’s album was a hit, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and taking the top spot for alternative, independent and rock album on the charts. The band has been riding an insane amount of success, but what does every successful band need? A live DVD, of course.
Finally, after seven years as a band, All Time Low has released Straight To DVD, a documentary of their lives and their rise to fame, complete with a full set from their Glamour Kills tour in late 2009. The release captures just how far the boys have come in just a short time. Separated into three segments, there is plenty of content to keep your heart at ease. First there is the feature – the meat and potatoes of the DVD if you will. It dates back to when the guys were still in high school and just beginning to get to know each other. What’s great about this is that you get their parents’ perspectives, as well as that of the bands’. Alex, Jack, Rian and Zack all document their lives from their teen years, to when they inked their deal with Hopeless records, to where they are now. Ladies and gentlemen, do not fear, for you get a whole helping of nakedness in this DVD, so much so that you may need a shower after viewing. But on a serious note, you really get insight into how the band is more than just a band, but also a family, from their tour managers, guitar techs, lighting director to even Vinnie, their merch guy. They all have a piece and a say in the band and in how things operate, which is what makes All Time Low stand out above other acts in the genre. You can sense and see that there is something genuine in them that isn’t common in the modern scene.
The second part of the DVD is the full set shot in New York. While the set list dates back to Put Up or Shut Up, it favors So Wrong it’s Right and forward, it doesn’t contain any material from the The Party Scene days. Aside from the nostalgia, the set offers a wide array of songs, highlighting the various aspects of the band. Throw in a few guest appearances from the likes of Travis Clark (We The Kings), Juliet Sims (Automatic Loveletter) and Andrew Goldstein (Friday Night Boys) and you have a exuberant gathering of friends. Alex and company sound as good as ever. Vocally he’s like wine, getting increasingly better with time. Add some on-stage banter – yes, the kind that Blink-182 was known for – and an insane crowd, and you have one of the biggest shows in the band’s career. Visually the DVD looks stellar, especially through a high definition television with HDMI. Every inch of the show is crystal clear, and is a keepsake for any All Time Low fan.
The final section of the DVD is short, but sweet. It closes with outtakes from the feature, leaving you with some solid candid clips of the guys as they mess around during their daily lives. When it’s over you realize you got your money’s worth and really, that is all you can ask for.
Whether or not you still believe in the band or follow what they do, they are here for all the right reasons. They worked their asses off to get where they are and if you can’t respect that, then there isn’t any real hope for working musicians these days. All the hate in the world isn’t going to change these guys one bit. They have taken the scene by storm for a reason and it’s not just because of their looks. Call them pop, call them punk, call them anything, but don’t call them passionless. They may not be the next Blink-182 or the next Fall Out Boy, but then again, they aren’t trying to be. They realize this and so do those other bands that they are constantly compared to, so why can’t everyone else? All Time Low are as genuine as they come and it shows, especially on this DVD. Straight To DVD may be tongue in cheek, but it’s real, and that’s something you have to respect.