Every so often, a special feeling fills the air with anticipation and excitement of seeing one of the greatest bands that we former emo kids all loved since the days of Take This To Your Grave and the now famed From Under The Cork Tree. It’s inspiring to see that Fall Out Boy has continued to carve their own path to be in a position where thousands turn out to sing every word in unison right back at them.
Cardiff was in for a treat, and I couldn’t wait to tick off another one on the bucket list.
As the seemingly endless space of the Motorpoint Arena continued to fill, first up was MAX. With a performance about as shiny as his jacket, it was never going to end well. Joined on stage by a guy I can only describe as ‘the one Goldie Lookin’ Chain didn’t even want’, this was never going to end well. I could see the appeal to a degree however – with a legion of young teens at your beck and call in an already over-saturated scene of clone like artists to shift awful alt-pop with that hint of ‘Can I please just be Skrillex already’, MAX will continue to milk the cow until its dead and buried. ‘Party’ officially killed off any form of redemption, starting a trend that started with ripping off Daft Punk and ending with Ed Sheeran. It’s a damn shame, as Maxwell Schneider has an incredible vocal range. With originality in his material could come so much more from the Hell’s Kitchen, New York native.
Next up in a very much welcomed refreshing change of pace, Against The Current come out to a huge ovation from the Cardiff crowd.
With a set full of crowd pleasing, non-offensive set of pop rock in the vein of artists such as Paramore, Against The Current sound like a band that with some tweaking here and there in terms of confidence and the stage presence that comes packaged within, they could go onto bigger things in their own right.
It certainly takes a certain type of artist to premier a new song to a crowd the size of the Motorpoint Arena; however it goes to show the confidence and belief in their material in the hope that it’s accepted en mass. A personal highlight of the set came in the form of ‘Gravity’ – Chrissy Costanza’s piercing vocals mixed with a beautiful musical ensemble of raw emotion, most notably an outstanding performance from drummer William Ferri. Definitely a step up straight from Poughkeepsie’s own.
Finally, it’s the time we’ve all been waiting for, the main event of the evening – Fall Out Boy. The LED screen adorning the back of the stage lights up, as one by one the boys take to the stage. A roar from the crowd deafens as the unmistakable chords of The Phoenix blast out, accompanied by an incredible pyrotechnic display, flames emitting from the stage as the room heats up.
Every song in the set is matched with a near perfect video in the background, evoking the true message of every chord played and every lyric sung. Sugar We’re Going Down is met with every single 20 something in the arena literally losing their minds, blazing through the set until a change of pace when Patrick Stump takes to the piano for an utterly mesmerising solo under a single spotlight, flashlights and lighters out in force, waving from side to side as Stump pours his heart out – it’s here that if you didn’t get it already that FOB still clearly love the music that they produce.
As if that wasn’t already enough, the stage suddenly fades to black, until Andy Hurley rises from the middle of the arena – rising above the barriers on an elevated platform for a blistering drum solo, revealing his inner death metal fan with blast beats that In Flames would be proud of.
The rest of the band then join Andy on another podium, Pete Wentz adorned in a hi-vis jacket that he may or may have not given back to security after (who knows?). Dance Dance, Wilson and Thnks fr th Mmrs are smashed out above our heads, the boys heading back to the stage to break out into I Don’t Care, ending the set with Champion. There’s been a bit of controversy in papers such as The S*n for their use of Princess Diana’s life and eventual death in a video tribute throughout the song, but it was poignant. The message was clear, if we as a nation can live through the death of the only royal both nationalists and republicans loved, we can continue to fight the good fight. It’s something that I hope FOB continues to do, we need more hope, not hate.
Obviously that wasn’t the end, and after the crowd chanting for their return, Fall Out Boy returned to the stage once more. Ending the night with Saturday, the heavens opened as the arena filled with confetti, the last chord played and the screen turning to blue.
But hey… maybe it was all just a dream?
(All photos credit to the wonderful Helen Messenger)