Previously on “Fall Out Boy”: Pete Wentz began taking the stage with crap painted on his face, then decided to become a DJ. Patrick Stump thought long and hard about going solo , transformed himself into a Day-glo soul singer , then kinda-sorta retired from music. And Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley started spending a lot of time with a dude from Anthrax (special guest star Scott Ian).
Yes, it’s kind of difficult to believe it’s been more than three years since Fall Out Boy were in their death throes, closing out a rather remarkable ascent to stardom by releasing mercurial, metaphoric music videos and officially going on “hiatus.” The time since has been a rather mixed bag for everyone involved, though really, in hindsight, none of that really matters. Because, if you’re reading this, we’re sure you’re aware that Fall Out Boy are back, with a brand-new album, a big-time tour and a mission to rescue rock and roll from the creeping insurgence of EDM.
And, as has always been the case with this band, they announced their return — don’t call it a “reunion” since they never broke up — with typical aplomb: a fiery video featuring 2 Chainz and a handful of intimate, announced-at-the-last-minute shows, in their hometown of Chicago, New York City and, on Thursday night (February 7), Los Angeles.
And while you might assume that a three-year break had dampened the enthusiasm of their fanbase, you weren’t at the venerable Roxy on the Sunset Strip, where outside, the line was longer than a Fall Out Boy song title and inside, the joy reached the levels of an old-fashioned gospel revival. Friends, who seemingly hadn’t seen each other in years, embraced and shouted along to each song. Fists were pumped, crowd surfers sent tumbling towards the stage, and assorted pals from Cobra Starship and 3OH!3 partied and sang. Shoot, even the usually catatonic Kevin Smith — watching from VIP in all black — seemed genuinely impressed. At one point, he even bobbed his head to the beat.
As for Fall Out Boy, well, it quickly became apparent that they were very much enjoying the notion of just being a band again, focusing almost entirely on powering through staples likes “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy,” “Dead on Arrival” and “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More ’Touch Me’ ” (oh, how I missed typing out those titles). They kept the stage banter to a minimum — by their own standards, at least — and even the normally verbose Wentz managed to rein it in a tad, using his time on mic to thank the sold-out crowd for sticking with them, and talking up the life-saving powers of rock and roll.
Their career-spanning set opened with “Thriller” (not the MJ version, as I’m sure you’re aware), dipped into stuff like “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race,” “I Don’t Care,” “Hum Hallelujah” and reached crashing crescendos with their breakout hits “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down,” the latter of which featured impromptu guest vocals from “The Voice” champ — and former Wentz associate — Cassadee Pope, who almost got tossed by security before she managed to grab the microphone (who says “The Voice” doesn’t have cultural impact?!?)
The lone new song FOB played was comeback single “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark,” which roiled and recoiled on a lilting sample and some nifty back-line work from Wentz and Hurley. But aside from that moment, this was a throwback gig in every sense; with Wentz spinning like a top (and rocketing loogies skyward), Stump’s voice (and humor) in top form and Trohman being as sweet and surly as every, sipping on cups of beer and repeatedly urging the crowd to “back the f— up” to save fans from being crushed.
It wasn’t a reunion, it was a revival. Fall Out Boy are back, and, as their Roxy show proved, they certainly don’t show any signs of rust. Maybe they just needed some time to clear their heads, but now, with a new album and the full support of their ever-patient fans behind them, FOB seem recharged … and ready to Save Rock And Roll. The Break’s Over indeed.
Are you excited for new Fall Out Boy music? Let us know in the comments below!