Review By Nathan Daniel
The second generation of ridiculously excitable 14-year-old girls gather for FALL OUT BOY’s second coming, after a long 4 year hiatus. Other than their performances in London and at Reading & Leeds last summer, this is their first real return to the UK and their first headline tour since 2008. It’s not only these, though, but hoards of fans from the first time round; those that grew up with Take This To Your Grave and Under The Cork Tree. Fall Out Boy have changed rather a lot since back then, but they’re still just as exciting and relevant tonight.
Danish-Americans NEW POLITICS play to a crowd that are largely unaware of their existence, but nevertheless, seem to be having a pretty good time. They sound upbeat, fun and just generally happy: quite unlike their namesake when relating to this country. One of the strangest things about this band though, is their distinct lack of a guitarist, with only 3 band members on stage and no sound of one anywhere else. Despite that, it doesn’t really sound like they’re missing anything. Very grateful to be here, and so are the fans after being warmed up.
Main support tonight need no introduction: it’s the Taylor Momsen show, otherwise known as THE PRETTY RECKLESS. Armed with new material from the release of their album the following day, Taylor’s voice sounds bloody flawless! She’s also much more confident and much less miserable than she was the last time I saw her a few years back; always a positive. The heavy thudding of drums and the odd guitar solo go down a treat with the fans, where they might be expected to sound a little bit out of place. A strong performance that gets the crowd ready for the main event tonight, with big hitters like ‘Make Me Wanna Die’ putting them in good voice.
FALL OUT BOY’s set is littered with classics and crowd favourites tonight, but it begins with Save Rock And Roll’s pulsating The Phoenix as the 4 of them play masked with balaclavas. This accompanies the story line of the album’s long list of music videos. Next up are absolute bangers ‘I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy…’ and ‘A Little Less Sixteen Candles…’, which are huge, huge crowd winners. Having said this, it becomes increasingly obvious throughout their set that the younger members of the audience are pretty much only there for the band’s newer material, which is disappointing. This does become a theme for the night, too: a tame crowd. Although, in reality, little more could be expected of the now much more mainstream four piece. But, this is the only downfall of the night, other than the 40+-year-old woman stood next to me that persisted to scream “I LOVE YOU PATRICK!”, or “I LOVE YOU PETE!” between every single song.
One of the real highlights of the show tonight comes around half way through when Fall Out Boy unexpectedly leave the stage, pushing their way through the crowd to the sound booth (already being aware that they were about to do this, I scrambled to the barrier of the sound desk like a little fan girl.) Patrick, Pete and Joe sitting around with their acoustic guitars on a stage of this size provides a surprising level of intimacy given that they are playing to a colossal sold out arena of nearly 15,000 people. They showcase ‘Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner’ and ‘Where Is Your Boy’ brilliantly, transporting the fans back by 12 years, following their comment that they didn’t remember the words too well.
After this, Pete leads Birmingham through the rest of the hit-laden set as Patrick remains relatively quiet; other than his amazing voice, of course. Fall Out Boy follow suit, finishing on oldie ‘Saturday’: very, very pleasing to the fans of old a wonderful throw back to their teenage years. A top performance from 4 guys that prove they are far from past their best.