There was a time when you could say the words “Fall Out Boy” and the mind would instantly turn to The Simpsons. Now there’s a generation of actual adults who would struggle to get the reference.
Previously the pop punk underdogs, FOB had to fight their way up to be considered in the same league as the likes of New Found Glory and couldn’t even dream of being a Blink or Green Day. Now it’s all different. Their album ‘From Under The Cork Tree’ catapulted the four pop punkers into the major leagues with their more complex chord structures, clever – albeit indecipherable – word play, and song titles that go on for miles.
They did go off piste a bit, evolving into a new genre incorporating elements of R&B, hip hop and gospel. But the vast, vast, majority of fans went with them on that. There is still a core of “I only like the older stuff” fans, of which I would count myself, but it looks like even they are within the ranks of the thousands of people pouring into The Hydro tonight. The four year hiatus from 2009 has been forgotten by all factions of fans as Fall Out Boy seem to have come back from it stronger after finding the current signature sound that’s proven inimitable.
The opener for tonight hit the stage earlier than anticipated but still had a respectable audience as fans rush to secure their spot at the barrier for their heroes headlining. Nothing, Nowhere. – a band whose name I struggle to get the right way round – is an interesting choice for the tour. He has been signed to Decaydance (Pete Wentz’ label) and has remixed FOB tracks along with having Pete cameo on one of his tracks so is obviously good friends with the main act. His style is heavy music with emo hip hop over it.
It takes a little getting used to as your brain is telling you to expect one thing when the music kicks off but the vocals give you something else. For the old school like myself, it takes a lot to adjust to the new school of emo and pop punk that involves rap and hip hop production. The cynic in me suggests that a lot of these emo rappers are jumping on the bandwagon after the success Machine Gun Kelly had with his album. But when you actually listen to Nothing, Nowhere.’s lyrics you actually get that he’s a legitimate songwriter of the genre. A cover of Linkin Park’s ‘One Step Closer’ is really well done for four musicians and the first sign of the crowd really hotting up.
The main support for tonight is Pvris. This is another of these acts that’s managed to evade my overly selective choices when it comes to new music. A feeling that I’m getting used to is the regret of missing musical boats and this is no different. Imagine Chvrches but they’re rockier and have more edge. There’s the electro pop and silky vocals, but there’s heavy breakdowns and big guitars.
It makes sense for this band to support Fall Out Boy as there’s the same vibe when it comes to the the music vs the vocal melodies. Your body grooves away to the rhythm of the instruments while the vocal melody controls your neck and head in a completely different way. It’s a great feeling once you fall into it. Pvris are a band that flirts with the boundaries of electropop, power pop and alternative rock with so much precision that they never fall into either genre but instead exist on their own. I’m guessing it’s not going to be long before Pvris are back on a Glasgow stage as a headliner and it very well may be this one.
It’s either a brave move or an arrogant one to play a recording of your most recent single just before you come on stage. The updated cover of ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ plays to a crowd happy to sing along, although this is how they break the news that we’re not getting to see it played live tonight. Once the house lights dip to Ethan Hawke’s feature on the current album – ‘The Pink Seashell’ – the crowd erupt… as do the fireworks. A barrage of impressive pyro makes even the songs that you’re not into exciting and it seems to escalate with each track. Second track ‘The Phoenix’ sees jets of fire at least twelve feet high shoot up and sweep across the backdrop while Pete Wentz adds to the heat with his modified bass. I’ve been left wondering if flame throwers on guitars are cool or tacky, but how can you not love it? The front rows of the audience can now smell nothing but petrol and gunpowder.
It seems that with each track, the set changes. Curtains rise and fall and backdrops and props change. We can’t not mention the huge dog’s head that makes its appearance for ‘This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race’ which sings along with the fans while casting its gaze upon them. You could honestly hate Fall Out Boy and you would still have to be in awe at the work that’s gone into the production of this show. It beats most west end productions with pyro, fire, and even bubbles. Then there’s Pete Wentz appearing in the actual crowd (flanked by security of course).
Don’t let the fact that they’ve gone all out on the aesthetics distract from the music though. Even self confessed detractors such as myself are left satisfied by this set. We get the hits like ‘Dance, Dance’ and ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down’ but we also get the old school ‘A Little Less Sixteen Candles…’ and ‘Grand Theft Autumn’, and for the first time since 2018 we get ‘Young Volcanoes’ which was decreed by a magic 8 ball above the stage. Every song is a more energetic version of the recording and you can’t help but get swept up in the atmosphere of this show. Covers of ‘Enter Sandman’ and ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ or at least parts of them go down very well indeed and are really well done if we have to be honest. Everything here is really well done to be honest…
I sit here trying to find criticism of tonight and all I have is that Pete Wentz’ hair is too long now. If anyone can get that message to him… we prefer it shorter. If nothing else, it’s a health and safety issue with that flamethrower. Otherwise Fall Out Boy were perfect tonight and although thousands were there, even more thousands missed out.
Photos by Catching Light Photography