Live Review: Fall Out Boy, Sydney
At this point in their career, twelve years in, after a widely mourned hiatus and a return that has been anticipated by more media than had previously ever given a shit, Fall Out Boy could have easily performed a selfish set at Sydney’s Metro Theatre last night. In the country for just two shows and a few stints on morning television and radio, the once self-professed ‘Chicago soft-core’ band are here to build the hype on next month’s imperiously titled release Save Rock and Roll. But that’s where the immodesty stops, the four-piece played only a handful of tracks from their past two albums, instead they indulged in nostalgia and the songs that had soundtracked our youth. If this was a plan to have us associate last night with every youthful indiscretion that was mimicked in their first two records – and have us chase that high again when we buy record number five – then it worked.
Performing tracks chiefly from their 2003 debut album Take This To Your Grave and 2005’s From Under The Cork Tree, bassist Pete Wentz – wearing a leather man-dress and jeans – went back to his screaming era; faintly curdling the backing vocals on tracks like I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me and encore track Saturday.
“You generate a lot of heat you know”. Frontman Patrick Stump’s perspiration turned his shirt from light blue to navy before singing breakout single Dance Dance halfway through. Watching him command the set with his soaring voice, his quirky knee-jerks and wrist-swivels was to witness his homecoming. Stump’s solo career unfortunately proved an expensive non-event but despite the depth of his lungs – and the way it reached new heights with Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner – he looked more comfortable here than when he was making soul punk.
Drummer/most illustrated member Andy Hurley and guitarist/longest locked member Joe Trohman were last in the country in 2011 with supergroup The Damned Things; while side projects held these men over when FOB took a four-year breather, it was all leading back to this. Through tracks like What A Catch, Donnie and The Take Over, The Breaks Over the band carried the same brotherly fevour from their 2009 national tour. In fact, if it wasn’t for the bombast of epic sounding new single My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up), it would be hard to imagine the teaming with Sir Elton John on the upcoming LP – Courtney Love however, still makes sense.
Through Wentz’ throwaway banter, comparing the visit to a “tingly feeling in my crotch” and his teasing of Stump (“cry into your money, rich man”), he did touch on the hiatus. “People underestimate the power of belief,” he said, explaining the return was sparked by a frustration in repetitive radio and Swedish hit-making producers. “Kids sitting outside shows for hours is stronger than all that.”
Closing with their celebrated MJ cover Beat It and early track Sugar, We’re Going Down, Fall Out Boy momentarily left the thankful sweat pit before returning for two-track encore Thnks Fr th Mmrs andSaturday. Just as Wentz had done in 2009, and before that in 2007, with the help of a burly security guard, he stepped into the crowd for his vocal parts. What should have been a big finish was instead downplayed by its predictability, and frankly, because he was wearing a dress. Regardless, their Australian return was more than what was expected; Fall Out Boy unashamedly play emo-pop, and in doing so, inhabit a recent era that seems long-lost.