Better Than: Pretending like you don’t have a small place in your heart for Fall Out Boy and their contemporaries, or that you don’t majorly appreciate 2006’s big musical comeback this year.
During the From Under the Cork Tree era, Fall Out Boy had been convinced that they had found the cure to growing older. It’s even a lyric in “I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy…,” the second song in a set last night at Terminal 5 that illustrated a career full of rich and precisely layered sounds, much more diverse than the band has ever been credited for. The song reflects a moment when FOB ruled a scene without much dispute and paved a path for vicious kids just like them to sing about hearts, lies, and friends.
At that time, Wentz, Stump, Hurley, and Trohman had not found the cure. They were fairly far from it. It took a couple more albums, some tabloid fare, a hiatus, and, most importantly, several more years of growing up for the boys to find something better than a cure. They found a way to cope.
With 2013’s Save Rock and Roll, the band brought to life the ethics of a near-desperate fervor that frames their style within a tight package of refreshingly modern and subtly catchy hooks and lyrics. The album enveloped a sound the band pushed towards ever since the bug of mainstream success bit them and placed them on a platform much bigger than sweaty Chicago punk clubs. They gained confidence and began embracing their pop sensibilities. In turn, they tapped into the pop world, but were still able to deliver angst-ridden, wallowing lyrics that are hard to write off as “emo” just because of how damn relatable they are.
With the newest release, Fall Out Boy passed a test many never thought they could. They became more than just a band that creates songs perfect for greasy teens in Clandestine Industries t-shirts who quote the lyrics in their Livejournal posts tagged with the moods “angsty” or “melancholy.” With similar words in a touched-up sound, the band found a way to not only grow up but create a refreshed space for them in today’s scene without disillusioning the believers that never died.
At T5, the boys’ performance mirrored that growth. The same desperate fervor they once carried as a badge on their sleeves in both sound and disposition on stage has become merely a comforting aura. Having seen them once before during the Folie à deux era, it was hard not to notice how less frantic their movements were while performing. Some moments, like the double-hand-lick-salute Wentz made famous in the “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” music video (which had also repeatedly grossed out my grandma whenever I would play the video on our TV) felt like mere muscle memory and a brief nod to the past. They’re older now. They don’t need to be a frantic energy moving the audience because their name and songs alone do all the work for them. The fans stuck around, and that should and seemed to be enough security for Fall Out Boy.
The set itself was an assembly line of hits with a couple of early deep cuts. Weaving through albums, singer Patrick Stump acted as fearless leader with his soulful voice. His best moment was when he gave Elton John himself some fierce competition with his take on the legend’s contributions to the song “Save Rock and Roll.” Stump hit Sir Elton’s signature deep warble, and it didn’t even sound like an imitation.
Before jumping into “Alone Together,” one of many standout tracks off of Save Rock and Roll, Pete Wentz stated that “punk rock never leaves you alone.” Judging by a crowd that sang and sweated to a string of musical punches that began with “Grand Theft Autumn” towards the end of the set and a dedication of the night’s show to a friend and fan named Eric who recently passed away and was honored with a slew of blue wrists bands thrown towards the stage during show closer “Saturday,” Wentz had been only partially right. The music brought the people together, but it was the community and scene they helped build that never actually left them alone.
Critical Bias: I only trust pop punk bands that come from Illinois.
Overheard: “I kind of want to throw my bra at Pete Wentz.”
Random Notebook Dump: Was the heat on in Terminal 5? Even people who didn’t brave the pit or more concentrated areas seemed to be drippin’ some serious mosh sweat sans moshing.
I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”
Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes
This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
Where Did the Party Go
Tell that Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today
What a Catch, Donnie
Homesick at Space Camp
Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy
Sugar, We’re Goin Down
I Don’t Care
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)
Save Rock and Roll
Thnks fr th Mmrs