Getting to the top wasn’t easy for Fall Out Boy, going on hiatus in 2009 was probably the best thing they could’ve done as a band. Each member got to discover who they were individually, after growing up within the public eye as one unit. They returned to the scene again in 2013 full of fresh ideas that were modern and with the times but also had the classic FOB sound. In 2018 and seven albums in, they’re more confident than ever and with a back catalogue that spans 15 years, fans from each era have something to look forward to tonight.
Opening act Max, a New York native brings some big apple cool to the Welsh capital. With vocals that are reminiscent of Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco fame, he goes down very well with the Cardiff crowd. Performing as himself and as a part of a group ‘Party Pupils’ with his DJ Ryan, he sets the crowd alight with covers of Outkast’s Ms Jackson and Ginuwine’s classic Pony. Basement Party is a fantastic hype track but the standout song of the set was Light’s Down Low; a track that Max stated he proposed to his wife to. After this blistering half an hour set, the Welsh mob are hysterical and ready for more.
Luckily for the crowd the main support act in Against The Current are ready for world domination. Running With The Wild Things is a great crowd pleaser that everybody already knows and can let loose and have a good ol’ bop to. A little self-indulgence on ATC’s part, they decide to play a couple of new songs tonight; Strangers Again and Voices- the latter of the two a certified banger on first listen. However the band only have one album and a couple of EP’s to their name, therefore their setlists have been very similar for the past few years- so this tour was the perfect opportunity to showcase new material for album 2. The only thing lacking within ATC’s set was a little more energy, this was simply because opener Max brought so much excitement and good vibes that it made ATC look a little lacklustre.
Beginning with the rousing The Phoenix, this 8000 strong crowd know they’re in for a treat tonight as pyro explodes from the first notes of the song. A catwalk parts the room like Moses and Fall Out Boy waste no time in using it to see all their fans from the front row to the very back. Irresistible and Hum Hallelujah soar around the room whilst the first big hitter of the night is dropped; Sugar We’re Goin’ Down. The setlist so far has covered four different albums in four songs which is a smart move for any band with longevity; you can please the fans that have been there from the start plus the newer ones who may have only discovered the band since their comeback 5 years ago.
After donning a hat with the Tesco logo on it , Pete Wentz speaks to the crowd about change and how it is important for everyone to go through as the band speed into Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea from their latest release Mania. Some reviews stated the album was “too modern” for the band and some listeners thought they had even lost their roots. Aside from this negativity around the release, when played live the track went down super well- converting a lot of the sceptics to the newer material. A piano graces the stage for Save Rock And Roll (minus Sir Elton John), the number is stirring and anthemic and has become a real message of what the band believe in. Last Of The Real Ones sounds as good live as it does on the album and as the band leaves the stage, the keys and a lone Patrick Stump stay out for a beautiful stripped back version of Young And Menace.
Rising from under the stage on a drum kit, the animal that is Andy Hurley powers through an epic drum solo, finishing by accompanying the backing track of Song 2 by Blur, this energises the Welsh crowd more and they get hysterical as the rest of the band joins him at the back of the room. Towering above the arena on two separate risers, the legendary drum fill of Dance Dance begins. This song has been the soundtrack of life to so many people in the room having grown up with the band and it definitely receives the best reaction of the night so far. New track Wilson (Expensive Mistakes) gets great feedback from the crowd and so far there has been unlimited dancing from the crowd and it doesn’t stop during Thnks Fr Th Mmrs. The band descend and as they return to the main stage, a video on the back of the screen shows the Llamas (the current mascots for the band during this Mania era) making jokes at the bands expense, they leave the screen and appear on the stage, with hands (paws?) full of t-shirts to throw out to the crowd.
The only song from the Folie A Deux album played tonight is I Don’t Care, the huge tune is bellowed back to the band and the singalongs continue with This Aint A Scene. This is a real triumphant show so far from the Chicago natives and you can tell that even 15 years in they’re still enjoying playing the older songs but it’s the newer offerings that visibly excite the four band members. HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T has the greatest reaction from the newer songs by far but it’s the legendary Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy that steals the heart of the crowd. The FOB fans “national anthem” sounds huge and there isn’t a mouth in the room not singing along to this emo classic. Champion is a great track to end the main section of their set, the energy in the room is palpable and the fans are desperate for more.
Obviously the band return for an encore but they spoil the fans in the room by playing four tracks to finish their set instead of the usual one or two. Thriller, the opener from the Infinity On High album sustains the dynamics of the room and Uma Thurman gives everyone the opportunity to do their best twist dance moves along to the Pulp Fiction vibes of the track. There’s more literal fire and fury during My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) and as they close the show with their classic finisher Saturday, Pete Wentz throws his bass away and launches himself into the crowd for the latter section of the song.
Impressing everyone with their extensive back catalogue, Fall Out Boy could’ve played far more than the 23 songs that they did. Picking the highlights from their illustrious career, the band are getting better with every release and each year they develop their style and musicality. The creative forces around the band are superb and the live show evolves each time it reaches the UK shores, the added visuals for each song are well thought through and its certain that come August bank holiday weekend, this band will perform one of the classic Reading and Leeds Festival headline shows of all time.