Fall Out Boy
with Hawthorne Heights, All American Rejects
Tampa, FL • April 27, 2006
“Black Clouds and Underdogs” the tour is called, but since when can a platinum selling band of pin-up stars be considered “underdogs?” It’s a different generation, with a different language of labels — a pop band is called punk because they have tattoos (one of the New Kids on the Block had tattoos, too — were they punk?), and teenage concert hysteria comes out not in tears and fainting but in mosh pits and crowd surfing. Fall Out Boy has become a phenomenon, but let’s get one thing straight — they are not a punk band.
The trip to the big show — which also featured All American Rejects, Hawthorne Heights, From First to Last, and October Fall — required a last-minute change of course when days before it was announced that the tour had been relocated from the St. Pete Times Forum to the USF Sundome. Unfortunately, this meant that upon arrival all the ticket-holders had to line up at will-call to get their original tickets refunded and purchase new ones. What this resulted in was a lot of pissed-off parents and kids who waited in line for for more than an hour (in most cases), while the show had already begun inside, to be forced to purchase new seats that often weren’t nearly as good as their original ones. This must have been the “black cloud” portion of the tour.
I arrived inside just in time for Hawthorne Heights’ set. The Victory Records band was the first headlining band of the night and, by the audience’s reaction (especially during the crowd-pleasing “Saying Sorry”), they could have played for twice as long as their 30 allotted minutes. Dressed all in white, their look was striking and their sound was more aggressive than the acts to follow. Vocalist JT Woodruff displayed confidence that he didn’t appear to have just one year prior when they were just a nobody band opening for Sum 41. This confidence was reflected not only in the quality of his performance, but in his overall presence on the large stage.
All American Rejects made an attempt at a grand entrance, with frontman Tyson Ritter appearing under the cover of a sort of silver sheet. The entrance quickly became laughable when he dropped the cloak to reveal the first of several ass crack shots of the night. The band ran through several catchy singles, like the irritatingly contagious “Swing Swing,” and offered the crowd a hint of homoeroticism in the interaction between Ritter and guitarist Nick Wheeler. The two took turns kneeling in front of the other during solos — very Bowie/Ronson-esque.
The big Fall Out Boy entrance was preceded by a short film poking fun at Pete Wentz’s now infamous nude cell phone photos debacle. When the four boys from Chicago stepped into the spotlights all ill feelings about venue changes and seat exchanges seemed to vanish from the minds of the 6,000 in attendance.
The stage was dominated by the rockstar runarounds of guitarist Joseph Trohman and TeenBeat poster boy Pete Wentz. Bassist and lyricist Wentz took it upon himself to do all of the talking onstage, allowing shyer vocalist Patrick Stump to hide in his shadow between numbers. It is a dynamic the band seems to have agreed upon, going all the way back to their inception in 2000.
“Fall Out Boy does not endorse Racists, Sexists, or Homophobes. So if you are a Racist, a Sexist or a Homophobe- please return our merchandise and leave our show!” is one of Wentz’s numerous positive preaches to the young crowd.
Plunging through a somewhat predictable set of big MTV hits (“Sugar We’re Going Down,” “Dance Dance,” “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More ‘Touch Me'”), a spontaneous moment illuminated when The Academy Is… vocalist William Beckett made a surprise appearance during one song.
With a giant stage to do their twists and jumps upon and including the cliche-yet-always-impressive bursts of pyrotechnics, Fall Out Boy are officially an Arena band… at least until the next big trend comes along.
Fall Out Boy: www.falloutboyrock.com