Blink-182, A Day to Remember, All Time Low play Scranton’s Montage Mountain
SCRANTON — The new-look Blink-182 stopped at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain Aug. 25, and they came armed to the teeth with talent. Opening slots were filled by All Time Low and A Day To Remember — both headline-caliber acts that have sold out venues not much smaller than Montage. But was the show worth the price of admission?
After an opening set from sought-after turntable general DJ Spider (he currently holds club residencies on both American coasts), All Time Low took the stage and played to a small but vocal contingent of fans who made their way in early. Band members Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat are celebrities within the alternative music scene — they’ve even hosted the last two iterations of the Alternative Press Music Awards, an annual event started by the eponymous alternative music magazine — but it wouldn’t be fair to attribute the crowd reaction to the two musicians’ status. ATL delivered a tight set with driving anthems, singalong choruses and even an acoustic jam.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re opening or headlining, they bring it to every single show,” said 25-year-old Milford resident Alyssa Tomaskovic. “They’re never a disappointment.”
Alyssa’s sister, 21-year-old Alex, said Aug. 25 was her ninth time seeing ATL.
“I obviously really love them,” Alex said.
As ATL’s stagehands tore down the traditional banner-and-riser set, A Day To Remember’s double video board setup was wheeled onto stage. In Weekender’s preview of the show, vocalist Jeremy McKinnon called ADTR a “production band,” and that statement rang true with the first few chords of the five-piece’s opener, “Downfall of Us All.” People ran in from either side of the stage, beach balls in-hand, and threw them to the crowd as the band began playing.
The video boards showed content themed after each song — imagery of a fighting game overtook the stage during the violently heavy “2nd Sucks,” while art reminiscent of the cover of ADTR’s new full-length”Bad Vibrations” was on display while the band blazed through the album’s first single, “Paranoia.”
As far as the band’s actual performance is concerned, McKinnon was able to transition seamlessly from his pop-punk style singing to his intense scream well, but there were times it felt like he was about to go off-rhythm, catching up to a band blazing off without him. Overall, the jam-packed 45-minute set from the self-proclaimed “heaviest pop-punk band ever” was full of energy, crowd interaction and fan favorite songs.
“‘I’m made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of’ was my favorite,” said 23-year-old Wilkes-Barre resident Mike Woolard. “I’ve seen them twice and I think it was the best I’ve seen them so far. They had so much energy and they definitely got the people hyped for Blink.”
Woolard’s observation was based on the packed lawn and amphitheatre, which was buzzing after ADTR’s set. When Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus and guitarist/vocalist Matt Skiba took the stage, the buzz erupted into outright energy as Hoppus and Skiba began trading off vocals on “Feeling This.” Skiba stepped into longtime guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge’s shoes after DeLonge and the other two-thirds of Blink-182 split ways. His ability to fit into the role was the question on fan’s minds — for some, that answer was no.
“I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I’d be,” said 33-year-old Clarks Summit resident Lauren Bevard. “Maybe that’s because I’m not really familiar with him.”
For those unfamiliar, Skiba comes to Blink-182 from another pop-punk trio — Alkaline Trio. For the most part, that band leans heavier on their “punk” portion than Blink-182 does, with Skiba slowly evolving a powerful croon from his raspy vocal roots. Shoehorning his key into classic Blink-182 songs like “Dumpweed” without changing the song at all can provide a jarring outcome, but other tracks like “Reckless Abandon” and “Carousel” sound like they were originally crafted for the vocalist.
His seasoned presence kept the band from ever feeling like a Blink-182 cover outfit, and his contributions on songs from “California” (his first with the group) and favorites like “Stay Together for the Kids” (he belted the chorus out with more gusto than DeLonge during Blink-182’s tour for 2009’s “Neighborhoods”) proved that he belongs on the same stage as his commercially-successful peers.
With commercial success comes big-time production, and Blink-182 delivered. Fireworks and a flaming four-letter word started the set, and the pyrotechnics returned throughout, including flamethrowers synced with Barker’s drumming. A large video board and light show contributed to the multi-sensory concert experience, and was supplemented by three on-stage boards that sat behind Hoppus and Skiba. As notable as it was, the production took a backseat to the band’s aforementioned stage presence. Even Barker, who was perched behind a drum kit for the duration of the band’s time on stage, was able to bleed his personality into the show.
Blink-182 wrapped their Aug. 25 show at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain with their breakthrough 1997 single “Dammit,” sending one of the last crowds of the summer concert season home with a proven hit. Fans will have to wait until next year to find out if they’ll get another chance to see the trio on another summer circuit, but the band’s booking agent will be hard-pressed to outdo the triple-threat tour of summer 2016.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
LOOK WHAT YOU MISSED
Check out our Look What You Missed photo feature from the show in the Aug. 31 edition of Weekender!