“There is no better time to be an All-American Reject.” I couldn’t agree more.

As a college student, there is no better phrase than “free concert”; especially when it comes to being able to see a well-known band for free. Luckily, I attend one such school where they have a free concert every year for our spring festival – and this year, the band was good. Better than good; if you were in middle school in the 2000’s, it was pretty much your fifth-grade self’s dream. On Sunday, April 24th, 2016 I had the privilege of getting to see the band All American Rejects perform live, for free, and even was lucky enough to get to be in the front row. From lovers of punk rock to She’s the Man fans to people who simply love good music, this was a great day to be a reject.

The groups set list could not have been coordinated any better. It was perfectly spaced out; placing their most popular songs in between the slew of songs that, though are still very good and very well liked, may not be as crowd killing as some of their more noteworthy pieces. The placement of these songs was crucial to keeping the hype and the morale of the crowd up, for there is nothing worse than being at a concert and knowing none of the words to a song and having to attempt to mumble your way through it (a position I have been in multiple times). No, instead they made sure to place their classics at just the right spots to keep the energy up and the crowd engaged. Starting right off the bat with “Dirty Little Secret”, they had the crowd in their hands right from the start, positioning songs like “Swing Swing” and “In the End”, and finishing it off strong with “Move Along” and an encore performance of “Gives You Hell”.  The progression was perfect, and, for longtime fans or newcomers, there’s nothing better than being able to jam out to the songs that helped define the 2000’s pop punk sound.

One of the great things about this kind of show is the intimacy factor. Taking place on our campus quad, the show was not a massive production, but rather was a modest enough venue where it really gave the chance for the band to interact with the audience. From specifically pointing out to people in the crowd, to laughing as they watched one of the people on the many blow-up obstacles courses fall; one really had the sense that the band was able to take notice of you, and that your presence was really felt. From guitar pics to drum sticks and water bottles being thrown into the crowd – the overall experience went far beyond just listening to music, but also grew into a fully interactive spectacle. This all then comes about a week later when the band just announced that they would be one of the big names going on tour this summer with Blink-182, along with the likes of All Time Low, and A Day to Remember.  So, in all honesty, there really is no better time to be an All-American Reject.