It’s annoying when one of your favourite bands rarely ever play shows in your own country, and therefore have to wait ages until you can see them. Fall Out Boy tends to be one of such bands lately, but for only three dates during October 2008, they’re rewarding us for our patience. Now big enough to play reasonably large sized arenas, the band play the Birmingham NEC Arena tonight, with a new album on the way soon enough too.
First support act You Me At Six (***) may be the youngest bunch of lads taking to the stage tonight, but their performance overlooks their youth. Despite the show being one of their biggest, if not the biggest sized crowd they’ve played in front of to date, the Surrey five-piece hold their own, playing pop-punk anthems-to-be like ‘Gossip’, and ‘If I Were In Your Shoes’. It’s evident that the crowd are very familiar with the boys though, with most of their songs being sung back to them, and with their debut album only hitting the shops a few weeks previous to tonight. Who’d have thought just over a year ago they were playing shows in small clubs across the country.
Sticking to a strictly pop-punk approach for the bill on the UK leg of this tour, Boys Like Girls (***) are next to take to the stage. Their overwhelming charismatic nature is one that entertains visually as much as the band do musically, with various members running about in every other direction onstage at some point during the set. When they’re not running about, they’re standing on various stage platforms and then jumping off. If that wasn’t enough, frontman Martin Johnson is constantly substituting his guitar duties so that he can hold the microphone in his hand and walk about whilst singing, and is also constantly throwing guitar picks into the crowd mid-song. The crowd scream and go crazy when they play their biggest hit, ‘The Great Escape’, treating them much like the next Busted or McFly.
Though the support acts were great, they only warmed-up the audience for the 80 minute long Fall Out Boy (****) set they were yet to endure. The band come on to a barrage of screams and applause before kicking into set opener ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’, and as soon as they do the whole arena is jumping about, singing along, or getting involved in the party in way or another. As any good band would, Fall Out Boy start the party as they intend to end it, with a set containing many of their big chart-invading hits, such as ‘This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race’, ‘Grand Theft Autumn (Where Is Your Boy?)’, and ‘Dance, Dance’. The boys even throw in a cheeky surprise of a short cover of Estelle‘s award-winning single ‘American Boy’ before shifting right into their own award-winning effort ‘Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down’. Due to the fact that the boys are big enough now to fill arenas the size of the Birmingham NEC, they can also splash their cash on a few visual luxuries in their shows, such as the bright flashing lights on their guitars during their latest single ‘I Don’t Care’, getting a good “wooh” and “ahh” from the crowd here and there. Aswell as a damn good show, Fall Out Boy also have a few serious messages to get out there, with bassist (and spokesperson for the band) Pete Wentz wishing US troops home safely, and also getting a word out for Invisible Children, a charity the band have brought along with them set in Uganda. Not one to take the spotlight away from himself, Pete Wentz also decides to drop the bass for the end of set closer ‘Saturday’ and grab the mircrophone before throwing himself around the stage and rolling along the floor like a madman screaming his lungs out.
Fall Out Boy seem to make rare appearances to this side of the pond, but when they do they shouldn’t be missed out on.
Written by Zach Redrup