“If you hate All Time Low, you’re having a really bad night,” cracked the band’s lead singer Alex Gaskarth, who co-hosted last night’s second annual Alternative Press Music Awards with lead guitarist Jack Barakat.
The Baltimore pop-punk act was the evening’s big winners. They kicked off the show with a medley of punk classics by Nirvana, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, Blink-182, and Fall Out Boy before closing with their own “Something’s Gotta Give.”
From there they went on to take home three awards for best drummer (Rian Dawson), best bassist (Zack Merrick) and most dedicated fans. Meanwhile Gaskarth and Barakat did a game, fairly amusing job as the festivities’ gonzo emcees, a role handled adroitly by Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus last year.
Hoppus actually made an appearance in several sad, hopefully forgettable skits featuring him playing with stuffed animals. Fortunately the over five thousand assembled Clevelanders weren’t there for the jokes but the rock, and couldn’t have been better served by Fred Flintstone’s quarry.
The four-and-a-half hour awards show was again broadcast live on AXS-TV, and featured a dozen well-known punk, hard rock and indie performers interspersed with the award presentations. At least half the performances featured a special guest offering some cool collaborations cross-pollinating younger and older artists.
These included Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) joining Halestorm for Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike,” MXPX’s Mike Herrera pairing with Simple Plan for his band’s hit “Responsibility,” and best vocalist winner Hayley Williams (Paramore) teaming with New Found Glory for a new duet version of “Vicious Love,” which is being added to a re-released version of NFG’s 2014 album Resurrection. (They released a video for the song earlier in the day.)
Two performances particularly stood out. After winning the Vanguard Award, Rob Zombie joined Scranton’s Motionless in White for a screaming cover of White Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ’65.” While receiving his award, Zombie offered the evening’s best acceptance speech. The fifty-year old musician/writer/director recalled the very first review he ever got in Alternative Press. According to Zombie it read, “This is the worst band ever. Ignore this band.” He went on to thank AP and the fans, “for ignoring the review.”
The best performance of the night belonged to Sum 41, playing their first shows in three years, since the departure of original drummer Steve Jocz. The Canadian pop-punk quartet had many in the audience out of their seats and singing along to a medley of hits that included “Still Waiting,” “In Too Deep,” and “Fat Lip.” Then Darryl McDaniels (Run-D.M.C.) came on stage for a blistering version of “King of Rock” that truly ruled.
Other noteworthy performances included Panic at the Disco’s cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Clad in a bright red blazer, consummate showman Brendon Urie really delivered on the song, with a sizeable assist from the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. The 115-piece orchestra was back for its second straight year, accompanying some of the performers and contributing interstitial music.
Alternative Press is celebrating its 30th year of print publication, making them a dinosaur that’s survived only by nimbly staying in step with youth culture. Naturally several up-and-coming acts were honored.
Three-year old Atlanta metalcore sextet Issues won artist of the year on the strength of last year’s chart-topping self-titled album. Rise Records labelmates, PVRIS (pronounced “Paris”) took home breakthrough band for last year’s debut, White Noise, and four-year old Gandhi-inspired California melodic hardcore act Being As An Ocean won best underground band.
There were a couple sad notes sounded. The recipient of the Icon Award, the Los Angeles quartet X, noted that guitarist Billy Zoom’s fighting bladder cancer and provided an address to donate. Album of the year winners for the self-titled album, Black Veil Brides used their moment at the mic to honor their guitar tech Chris Holley who passed away in June.
Several international winners couldn’t make it, including Australia’s 5 Seconds of Summer (best fandom), Manchester, England’s The 1975 (best international band), and U.K. metalcore titans, Bring Me the Horizon, which won best video for “Drown.”
The remaining awards were snagged by scene vets. Pierce the Veil -- who showcased new song “The Divine Zero” during their confetti-strewn performance -- won best guitarist (Tony Perry). A Day To Remember had a dozen years to build the road muscles that earned them best live band, while Florida’s Sleeping With Sirens won song of the year (presented by Epitaph) for their hit “Kick Me” off their March Epitaph debut Madness.
On a final, charitable note, Taking Back Sunday won the Philanthropic Artist Award for their work on behalf of the American Cancer Society.
AP’s second award show at Quickens Arena wasn’t as picturesque as last summer’s show on the shores of Lake Erie in the shadow of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While the performances weren’t necessarily better, the sound was, and the overall evening came off decidedly smoother absent the long lulls and longwinded speeches that occasionally detracted from last year’s show.
Weezer finished the night dueting with Mariel Loveland (Candy Hearts Band) on the punchy “Go Away” off last year’s Everything Will Be Alright, followed by an evening closing rendition of “Buddy Holly."