When I set out for the Sun National Bank Center on Friday night to photograph the House Party tour, I anticipated a crazy performance from A Day To Remember – but I definitely didn’t expect them to set the venue on fire. Literally. However, as the hardcore influenced pop-punk band hailing from Florida has proven time and time again, they make their best comebacks when faced with adversity in the music industry. After engaging in exhausting legal battles with their label for the past several months, the band let all their anger out on stage as vocalist McKinnon stomped across the stage and reminded their fans exactly what the band is about: standing tall and never giving up, no matter what anybody says.
The night started out with South Jersey’s very own veterans in the pop punk music scene, The Wonder Years, a band that prides itself on staying positive at all times. Frontman Dan “Soupy” Campbell took the time in between songs to look out into the crowd and deliver his traditional speech about how important it is to keep up a positive mindset – something that resonated with the crowd of 7,000 kids staring eagerly up at the band, singing along to every song that they performed in their discography, including “Passing Through A Screen Door” and “Came Out Swinging.”
Next up was Pierce The Veil, a self-christened “Mexicore” act hailing from the southern coast of California. Entwining their Hispanic roots into a more modernized hardcore sound, PTV is a band that consistently delivers electrifying performances, with this show being no exception. Their set was cut short by time constraints, but they managed to keep up a fast-paced and soaring energy through “Bulls In The Bronx” and “Hell Above”. And although vocalist Vic Fuentes announced to the crowd that it would be their first time that night performing “Stained Glass Eyes and Colorful Tears”, it wasn’t until guitarist Tony Perry began to strum the opening notes to “A Match Into Water” that fans really started to get emotional – and rightfully so, considering vocalist Fuentes told the backstory of the song, which was dedicated to his ex-girlfriend’s grueling battle with breast cancer.
All Time Low bounded to the stage soon after in a frenzy of their typical antics and sexual innuendos, cracking jokes in between performing new tracks off of their last full-length release “Don’t Panic” and old fan favorites like “Dear Maria, Count Me In”. Guitarist Jack Barakat fed off the crowd’s energy as he leapt from monitor to monitor, practically tumbling into the audience at several points throughout the band’s performance. Vocalist Alex Gaskarth invited Vic Fuentes back out to the stage to croon on the band’s newly released single, “A Love Like War”, which Fuentes collaborated with the band. (The music video generated more than one million views since its debut on YouTube a few weeks prior.) By the time the band wrapped up their quick set, it was clear that they were the ones with the grip on the younger teen demographic for the evening as girls continued to fling their neon colored bras onto the stage in their wake.
And of course, seeing as how ADTR is not a band that likes to be overshadowed, it was five minutes into their set when the fire began on stage – though it was all part of their theatrical plan to incorporate the theme of the “house party” into their set. Performing on a constructed backdrop that turned the stage into a simulated suburban home, vocalist Jeremy McKinnon roared the vocals to “The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle” and “The Downfall Of Us All” out at the audience as both guitarists performed their solos from the rooftop. Slowing down the pace only for a few minutes to perform their acoustic track “You Had Me At Hello” live for the first time, the set picked right back up for the encore, with the band bringing dozens of fans on stage to dance along as they brought the party to a close with a firestorm coming down from the rafters above the stage – something that can only be described as a metaphorical wager of war on anyone who ever doubted ADTR’s ability to captivate an audience.
You can pick up A Day To Remember’s full-length record “Common Courtesy” in stores and on iTunes now.
All photos taken by Emily Tantuccio