Review: Fall Out Boy – Electric Brixton, 11/01/2018
When Fall Out Boy announced three intimate European shows, it was clear that they were going to sell out fast. Tickets to their show at Electric Brixton were snapped up within seconds of going on sale, hardcore fans desperate to see the Chicago quartet at their first UK show since they co-headlined Reading festival in 2016.
The excitement was palpable in the 1,800 capacity venue, the constant hum of voices building to an impatient roar as the band’s 8:30pm stage time came and went. As the clock ticked closer towards 9pm the crowd grew restless, but the extended wait didn’t dent the response they received. The four-piece sauntered onto the stage and the audience instantly erupted into movement, chanting the words to The Phoenix at the top of their lungs as they started warming up their dancing shoes.
With the release of seventh full-length album MANIA rapidly approaching it seemed obvious for the band to focus on their new material, but they played six songs from their back catalogue – including an unexpected appearance of Hum Hallelujah – before bassist Pete Wentz approached the microphone to make the first in a series of speeches centred around the recording process and meaning behind the songs on their new album.
Online, the overriding response to the band’s new songs has ranged from disinterest to downright hatred. However, the crowd in attendance at Electric Brixton embraced the tracks from MANIA. It was as though the album had been out for months as people chanted along to every word of The Last of the Real Ones and Champion. There was even an effort made to sing along to Wilson (Expensive Mistake), the video for which was released on the afternoon that this show took place.
The biggest surprise of the evening was the stripped back piano-driven version of Young and Menace, which frontman Patrick Stump performed alone. Ordinarily, the song is stuffed to the brim with synths and dubstep-esque remixes of Stump’s vocals, so it was a shock when he transformed into a human mixing machine and recreated the chorus to a tee. One of the complaints levelled at Fall Out Boy’s new material is that it won’t work in a live environment, but in just a couple of minutes Stump silenced anyone who questioned them. Don’t believe it’s possible? Just watch this video:
Patrick Stump performing that over-produced chorus vocally is a moment I’ll never forget.
Fall Out Boy are still experiencing this level of success thanks to their willingness to take risks. Taking a hiatus when everyone else pushed themselves to burnout, returning with a far more mainstream style… Not many bands would take chances like those, but they’ve both paid off in the case of Fall Out Boy. Despite the cry of “sell outs!” being thrown in their faces, the members seem happier than ever before. Drummer Andy Hurley enthusiastically stood up and chanted at multiple points throughout the night, while guitarist Joe Trohman – always a closed book – seemed far more relaxed playing on a smaller stage.
It’s impossible to accuse the band of forgetting their roots, particularly with breakout single Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy still pride of place towards the end of the setlist. Even though they’re a chart-topping, festival-headlining behemoth, Stump still looked ridiculously pleased when an unaccompanied crowd yelled every word of the chorus back to them.
Even if you dislike Fall Out Boy’s new material, you won’t leave one of their shows feeling disappointed. Each song catapults you into a different era – most noticeable during the triple-hitter of Sugar, We’re Goin Down, Centuries and Save Rock and Roll – and you’re reminded of exactly why you fell in love with the band continually throughout the evening. Yes, Fall Out Boy have changed, but they’re still the same people who released Take This To Your Grave. At a small show like this, that’s more apparent than ever. Development in a band is a good thing: it makes you all the more grateful for the music that came before, and Fall Out Boy boast an extensive and highly varied back catalogue.
Sugar, We’re Goin Down
Save Rock and Roll
The Last of the Real Ones
Young and Menace
American Beauty/American Psycho
Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)
I Don’t Care
This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
Hold Me Tight or Don’t
Thnks Fr th Mmrs
Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy
My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ’em Up)
Fall Out Boy return to the UK for an arena tour in March, before heading back to Europe in April. If you’re not convinced by the songs on MANIA, get a ticket for the sheer joy you’ll experience singing along to Dance, Dance and Thnks Fr th Mmrs surrounded by thousands of other fans.