Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy at Band on the Wall review | One small venue, one giant tribute to the emo staple’s catalogue

★★★★☆
Fall Out Boy have fine-tuned lyrical intimacy to an art; renowned for their heart-on-sleeve verses and diary entry anthems, the emo staples have well and truly proved they can “write it better than you ever felt it”.

Five years on from 2018’s MANIA, Fall Out Boy are crashing back into our lives, with new album So Much (for) Stardust set for release next week – and they’re celebrating in style, with a pair of tiny UK shows. 

Honouring the intimate connection their sound has forged over the years, the shows are the perfect way to lure the people back; there’s truly no better way to experience a fresh Fall Out Boy anthem than in a sweaty club, the perfect setting to “sing until your lungs give out”.

The venue chosen this week couldn’t be more perfectly suited to the occasion; Manchester’s 340-capacity Band On The Wall is packed out, the lucky fans buzzing with giddy excitement. With an arena tour in October, there’s a sense of disbelief, every mind aware of the total treat the evening is sure to be.

Fall Out Boy

Photo: Kevin Winter

And suddenly, that tension is lifted. ‘Love From The Other Side’ washes over the room in a wave, announcing Fall Out Boy’s triumphant arrival. The crowd immediately howl in appreciation, accepting the newer track as if they were an old friend, every word already stitched into hearts. ‘The Phoenix’ only cranks the energy up a notch, enthused bouncing and excitable moshing taking control of the crowd, before an even wilder response tumbles out of everyone for ‘Sugar We’re Going Down’.

The magic of the evening is emphasised by the magnificent setlist; in honour of the tiny venue, Fall Out Boy delve back into the archives. It’s a modern-day basement show, with deep cuts galore.

Special tracks come in the form of ‘Calm Before The Storm’, the heartwrenching euphoria of ‘Hum Hallelujah’, as well as some Folie à Deux appreciation as the magnificent ‘Headfirst Slide into Coopertown on a Bad Bet’ makes an appearance (the first time it’s seen the light of day in over a decade), and fans absolutely thrum with joy, lyrics pouring out like their lives depend on it. 

Ultimately, the evening serves as a sharp reminder of how all-killer-no-filler Fall Out Boy’s back catalogue truly is – and that includes the newer bangers. The punch of ‘Grand Theft Autumn’ is just as euphoric as ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’, Patrick Stump able to pause and allow the masses to sing for him whenever he takes a second to catch his breath. 

Patrick Stump Fall Out Boy

Patrick Stump. Photo: Kevin Winter

The interweaving of old and new tracks is a true example of how consistent Fall Out Boy have been over the years, as well as showing how quickly the So Much (for) Stardust tracks have already made their impact. ‘Heartbreak Feels So Good’ is total bliss, a dance-a-thon of a track that has Stump stomping around the stage with gusto, as a disco ball sparkles above head.

These newer tracks truly allow Stump to shine. While bassist and primary wordsmith Pete Wentz has usually taken on the role as pseudo-frontman over the years, his confidence charming the masses, Stump takes on a stronger air of showmanship on the newer tracks. 

Wentz does of course take primary responsibility when it comes to chatting to the crowd, but there’s a reason why. There’s something about the way he presents himself that has fans in a chokehold, desperate to giggle along as he chats about his love of the Manchester music scene, or jokes about Ethan Hawke’s inspirational influence on the new album. And he loves every moment, stepping back from the microphone with a cheeky grin between songs and rubbing his hands in anticipation for the next banger to drop.

The set draws to a close with two tracks that perfectly summarise who Fall Out Boy are. There’s the gargantuan sound and cries of immortality with ‘Centuries’, while ‘Saturday’ oozes that diehard, boy-next-door relatability. It’s a mission statement of cementing themselves in the history books, all-the-while maintaining their intimate, emo authenticity.

Pete Wentz Fall Out Boy

Pete Wentz. Photo: Kevin Winter

As the guys roll off stage, one thing is clear. Whilst Fall Out Boy will no doubt continue to grow in magnitude, they’re always going to respect their core appeal. The evening has honoured their roots, yet still shown they have room to grow. 

So Much (for) Stardust may not be a carbon copy of their emo past, but that emo authenticity, that diary-entry earnesty, is set to stay. Fall Out Boy are carving a bold, brash and prominent future, and the fans are here to ride the wave with them. Long live the car crash hearts. 


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