By: Sarah Rowan, Editor-in-Chief
Enter the world of 15-year-old Sarah Rowan. More specifically, enter my bedroom.
On the back wall, there’s a bright red poster emblazoned with the words, “POP PUNK WILL NEVER DIE,” written like a battle cry from a field of teenagers prepared to fight to the death for tickets to next summer’s Warped Tour.
There’s a cork board that proudly displays tickets from all of the previous concerts I’d attended.
And, on the wall right next to my bed is my pride and joy. My reason for breathing. My heart and soul.
My very own All Time Low Don’t Panic limited edition print poster.
Oh, yes. That was me. I had jumped straight off the One Direction bandwagon into a pile of pop punk passion, and I was proud of it.
The year was 2012, and I had just entered my sophomore year of high school. Little did I know that just two years later, pop punk would die, for me at least.
I don’t know why I stopped listening, or why I stopped waiting in front of my computer to be the first one to snag the beloved (BAND NAME HERE)’s concert tickets. I didn’t hate the music. The concerts were always really fun.
I guess it sorta just happened, and I just moved on.
However, at the end of July, I was offered tickets to a show at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, if I wouldn’t mind covering the show. Here’s the catch: it was an All Time Low concert.
As soon as I saw the email, the punk in me started to stir. And then the stirring got stronger and stronger, until I replied, “I’d be really interested in covering the show,” while simultaneously experiencing flashbacks to my first circle pit in 2013.
I hadn’t kept up with any of All Time Low’s stuff since high school, but I can tell you that when I say I loved them, I loved them. I was excited to see them for the first time since I was 16, and the opening bands (The Wrecks, Waterparks and SWMRS), all seemed pretty cool, too.
The show was on a Wednesday night, and my friend offered to drive. Rams Head was my very first All Time Low concert venue, way back in 2012, and it was cool being there again.
The Wrecks and Waterparks were great openers. My friend and I remarked that Waterparks’ Awsten Knight looks vaguely like 30 Seconds to Mars lead singer Jared Leto — which was funny, because she and I bonded heavily over 30STM (and Jared Leto) when we were in middle school.
While I would totally, completely, 10/10 recommend seeing these guys, to me, SWMRS stole the opening show.
SWMRS is freakin’ cool. Being totally honest, their sound isn’t really one I’d normally enjoy, but their on-stage presence made up for it. We were already pretty stoked to see them, because Joey Armstrong is in the band — if that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s son.
I really didn’t know that much about SWMRS before the concert, but I came out with a decent understanding of their dedication to their Northern California roots, especially from listening to their song “Drive North,” whose chorus is literally “I hate Los Angeles! (Hate LA!).”
But man, when All Time Low came out on stage, all proverbial hell broke loose. In an almost out-of-body experience, I felt my pop punk soul break free as I stretched my hands out to catch Jack Barakat’s guitar picks as they fell from the stage like candy.
I screamed, I laughed, I cried. Every five minutes I leaned down to my friend to yell “THIS IS FREAKIN’ AWESOME.”
Just like old times, right?
So, I guess the moral of the story is that pop punk never died. It was just hibernating for a little while, waiting for me to inevitably rediscover it one day.