Words & pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe
I’ve always wanted to see Fall Out Boy. Ever since I smuggled my brother’s album collection from his room and listened to them on my paint splattered stereo, I’d been determined to catch the band live and in action.
Due to Arena Birmingham’s new security procedures, getting into the venue took longer than usual. So, I unfortunately missed the first support slot – MAX. However, I arrived in time to catch Against the Current – and what a set it was.
Bursting on stage to their single ‘Wasteland’, singer Chrissy Constanza weaved her way across the platform belting out track after track of pure, unaltered pop rock. Songs from their debut album In Our Bones, such as ‘Blood Like Gasoline’, went down a storm with the Arena crowd, as did their closing track ‘Gravity’. Hopefully, it won’t be long before Against the Current head out on their own UK headline tour – they’ll have gained enough fans from this run with Fall Out Boy to do so, that’s for certain.
Fall Out Boy are no strangers to theatrics and this show was no exception to that rule. As the house lights went down, and the stage lit up with a video of crashing waves and a timer, the room erupted into a cacophony of participation as fans counted down with the clock. Opening with their track ‘Phoenix’, I was expecting drama – however, as countless pyro flares went off (and I felt my skin burn from the heat) I realised I may have underestimated just how much effort the band would have put into production.
You name it, they had it. Pyrotechnics, smoke grenades, strobes, even two levitating stages by the sound desks clad in LED screens – if you haven’t heard of Fall Out Boy before, I urge you to see them play not just for the music, but for the experience. It’s rare these days for a band to put together such a strenuous, precise set, and to pull it off with seemingly effortless ease that I cannot even begin to comprehend how.
Bounding up and down the central walkway, singer Patrick Stump and bass guitarist Pete Wentz seemed to possess endless energy throughout the set – sprinting up and down continuously, only stopping to haul themselves onto the two levitating stages at the end. For all of those who had queued to hug the barriers down at the front, this must have been incredibly frustrating – however for the fans cooped up in the balconies, it was a real treat. If you can’t get to Fall Out Boy, rest assured they’ll bring their show to you.
Still riding high on their own phoenix from the flames, and a cemented return to form with MANIA – their third album since the ‘decompression’ – their set list was as varied as ever too. Newer material such as ‘Young and a Menace’, played by Stump on a grand piano, nestled in next to fan favourites such as ‘Dance Dance’ across a 23-song set that was sure to please everyone in the Arena crowd.
There was even an array of challenging and (no doubt intentionally) incendiary video screen clips – from babies swearing during ‘I Don’t Care’ to footage of Princess Diana’s life and untimely death during ‘Champion’. You could almost feel the Daily Mail journalists sharpen their Parker pens at the latter.
But as for the four lads from Illinois, on stage and at the centre of it all, Fall Out Boy pulled together a set that was both provocative and thoroughly enjoyable. And for me, bucket list – tick.
Fall Out Boy @ Arena Birmingham 27.03.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe
For more on Fall Out Boy, visit www.falloutboy.com
Against the Current – supporting Fall Out Boy @ Arena Birmingham 27.03.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe
For more on Against the Current, visit www.atcofficial.com
For more from SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.gigsandtours.com
For more on Arena Birmingham, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.arenabham.co.uk