Pop-punk is making a triumphant return to the mainstream. If it ever left.
With rising rock bands such as My Chemical Romance, Avenged Sevenfold and The Used, the most popular rock band to hit the TRL charts has to be Fall Out Boy. After doing endless touring for support of their new album, From Under A Cork Tree [Island Records], the quartet has decided to team up with Nintendo as the headlining act for the highly successful Nintendo Fusion Tour. Supporting bands included Motion City Soundtrack, The Starting Line, Boys Night Out and Panic! At The Disco.
The sold-out Nintendo Fusion Tour’s audience was somewhat of a disappointment. Since Fall Out Boy’s number one hit, “Sugar, Were Goin’ Down,” it seems that most of the true fans (lower to middle class kids in the suburbs) couldn’t buy tickets in time.
Unfortunately, St. Louis’ The Pageant on November 13th was flooded with jocks, preps, and the popular kids that rule our high schools—most likely the type of kids that used to pick on these very band members when they were in high school, if we’re to believe the premise of Fall Out Boy’s “Dance Dance” video. Although the irony is obvious, the bands seemed to ignore the fact of who their audience were.
Nintendo filled the whole left side of the Pageant’s room with Gamecubes and DS’s (dual screens). All the systems had the latest titles for the show, including the new highly anticipated Zelda game that will be released later this year.
The first band to perform was Panic! At The Disco. Discovered by Fall Out Boy bassist, Peter Wentz (and currently signed to his new label Decaydance Records), their sound resembled Fall Out Boy’s--but with a new-wave twist. Most of the crowd was really getting into the whole vibe from the only band on the tour that was somewhat unique. Panic! played accordions, electronics, and pianos in their short, limited set. As this newbie singer, Brendon Urie, strutted the stage like he’d been an experienced rock star for years, the crowd went nuts. During the middle of their set the band played a little trick on the audience, as they started to play the opening bass line to Fall Out Boy’s “Dance, Dance.” Little girls who were too short to see the stage instantly started screaming. Panic! At The Disco are going to be the next big thing, so do yourself a favor and pick up their album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (Which actually sold out after the concert).
Boys Night Out was a disappointment. This talented band lacked the passion of the other bands performing. They were the heaviest band on the tour, and also the most lyrically advanced, with tunes darker and more personal then the rest on the line up for Nintendo Fusion. The crowd failed to pay attention, clinging only to the poppy, catchy, hooks that Boys Night Out don’t serve up in their music. If more of the true Fall Out Boy fans would have been able to purchase tickets, Boys Night Out would have had a better night of it. Having said that, if the real Fall Out Boy fans were able to attend the concert, Boys Night Out’s performance would’ve also been more energetic.
The rising band, Motion City Soundtrack, was spectacular. Singer Justin Pierre surprisingly has an extremely high voice (much like the singer from Coheed And Cambria). This can be a turn off for many listeners, but the quintet put all their focus in the show and Pierre’s vocals was not once irritating. The keyboardist stood out the most with his stage antics. He wobbled his keyboard around, banged his head, and even did a handstand on the keyboard stand. The audience cheered as if he were a trapeze act in the circus. Motion City Soundtrack teased the audience by playing a snippet of “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.” This was the worst part of their set. Even though it was a joke, their performance was too good to interrupt. Unfortunately if you didn’t like the band before you saw them live, you still won’t like their studio recordings. Maybe theirs was just magic in the air that night. If you ever have a chance to see Motion City Soundtrack live, do yourself a favor and go.
The Starting Line was the last opening act to perform for the pretentious Fall Out Boy crowd. These kids that had only heard Fall Out Boy from TRL seemed to enjoy The Starting Line the most out of the opening bands; and The Starting Line, more pop then punk, tried their best to impress.
The Starting Line’s lyrics were perfect for anyone who worships The O.C. The band kept trying to slow their songs down to try to form their mediocre art into an epic piece. Their attempt was unsuccessful, but the audience didn’t mind because the Starting Line still put all their talent into their performance. Much like an art teacher, I’m grading them on effort, not on quality.
The backdrop changed for the first time when Fall Out Boy came out dressed like they just came from their prep school graduation. From the moment singer/principal songwriter, Peter Wentz, took the stage, the crowd went nuts. Everyone started jumping and the people in the front were crushed. Some kids were even having little dance offs like in Fall Out Boy’s new video “Dance Dance.” The pit never stood still once while Fall Out Boy was on. Even when Peter Wentz was just talking in the mic, the crowd went ballistic. Fall Out Boy seems like a lively bunch of kids that used to dream of being the biggest band in the world. Guitarist Joseph Trohman didn’t stand still throughout the show. He jumped, spun, and ran around the stage with Peter. Patrick Stump’s voice was almost pitch-perfect with the records. He had to sing Peter’s part for “Sophomore Slump Or Come Back Of The Year,” but he did a fine job. Peter’s vocals sound more innocent then Patrick’s, but he was able to clean up for Peter’s line, “The best part I believe is the lie.” The least noticeable band member was drummer Andrew Hurley. Although he was doing an exceptional job keeping the beat, you couldn’t even see him well from the balcony (which was open to kids, for a change).
While watching Fall Out Boy perform, you get the sense that they’re not just in a band for the money, but for the fun of playing music. Even though some fans may see them as sell outs since being on MTV (Also Peter Wentz’s clothing line, Clandestine Industries), the band clearly has fun playing. The set was split into two acts. During a brief intermission, (the lights didn’t even turn on) some roadie came onstage and just asked how everyone liked the concert. Nothing extravagant.
About three minutes later, Fall Out Boy came back in a new set of clothes, dressed more comfortably than before. The crowd didn’t calm down one bit during the intermission, up on all fours and screaming as if N’Sync reunited. Before the beginning of the band’s latest hit single “Dance, Dance” Peter demanded that the whole crowd should hug the person closest to them. The love was spread throughout the Pageant that night, and when Fall Out Boy finally left the stage, the crowd didn’t seem disappointed that their were no encores. Everyone was just happy to have seen the band in person at the sold-out show.
Fall Out Boy are one of the best live acts out there today, and The Nintendo Fusion Tour was one of the best concerts to attend. After all, if you didn’t enjoy a band’s performance, you could just go and play video games ‘til the next band came on. Fall Out Boy’s live performances are unforgettable, and they are one of the hardest working major label bands today. They’ll be back at The Pageant again for 105.7 The Point’s Ho-Ho Show on Dec. 20th. If by chance, you get the opportunity to see Fall Out Boy live, I can’t recommend enough attending one of their shows.
Photo of Fall Out Boy by Michael Mofsen