Fall Out Boy
Philadelphia, PA • November 7, 2008
With the release of their third album on Island/Def Jam approaching, Fall Out Boy have set out to play a number of smaller clubs instead of the larger venues they played the last time they took to the road. The band’s Philly show found them at North Star, a decent-sized bar that has seen its fair share of local and national bands grace its stage.
On the night of the show, the crowd lined up early to get the best standing room spot possible. Blue Collar, a Philadelphia-based pop-rock band that has a rather dedicated allegiance, was selected as the sole opening band for the show. The band, which has won recognition from Howard Stern and has played with the like of Breaking Benjamin, played for about 45 minutes to an impatient crowd whose thirst would not be quenched until a certain Chicago band took the stage. Having seen them before, it was easy to see that Blue Collar was not intimidated by the whole fiasco. Their set was pumped with energy, while their lead singer tried to capture the audience’s attention, if only for a short moment.
Fall Out Boy’s choice to play such an intimate venue was refreshing after their last show in the area was a nearly sold-out stadium complex. While the floor was crammed with fans and their parents, the balcony offered a bit more relief and an overhead view of the band. As the quartet took the stage, shrieks pierced the air. The band began their set, playing favorites from their last several releases. Each of the individual’s performances were impressive; there was a slight artistic sloppiness, where every move and every spoken word in between sets revealed four distinct personalities that fit perfectly together. Andy fiercely pounded on the drum kit, while his demeanor was focused and calm. Joe stood to stage left, allowing room on the tiny stage for him to spin and jump around as much as he desired, allowing his body to go along with the beat. Patrick broke out of his usual shy personality, carrying a lot of stage banter. His vocals were impeccable, sounding even better than they do recorded. And of course, there was Pete Wentz, infamous for a lot of his offstage antics and charm, on bass, his playing style a combination of spontaneity and passion that works for him.
It was an audience pick, with songs being decided by the utterly unbiased “Duck Duck Goose.” Fans opted to ask for a lot of older material from what may be their most recognized album to date, Take This to Your Grave. The band played along very well, refusing to play few songs from their catalog, which they attributed to Prop 8 being passed. Fans sang along to every word, clutching one another as favorite after favorite track was sung. “I Don’t Care” was perhaps the only ‘to do’ on the impromptu set list, with the lights going out and Pete’s bass lighting up every time the chorus hit. It was impressive, without being overdone and added just the right touch to the low-key show.
Whatever the reasoning for their change in thinking — to go from large venues with elaborate settings and pyrotechnics to smaller stages with barely enough room for the four and their equipment — it worked. The focus wasn’t on the band, the clothes or the backdrops; it was all about the music and it was refreshing to see the band go back to that mentality.