Tuesday, March 3, 2015
(Photograph by - Teresa Pham)

It was February 2009, and Fall Out Boy were in Australia to promote their latest album ‘Folie A Deux’. Slow, tired, and completely out of steam, they put on one of the most underwhelming, embarrassing sets Acer Arena had ever seen. It was disappointing to see from one of my favourite bands, and hints were given that they were unlikely to return… And thus, just a weeks later, Fall Out Boy announced their hiatus. Four years later, they’re back and better than ever, and their return to Australia is stamped with shining seals of approval, making their 2015 appearance an especially exciting one. Having missed out on their 2013 Save Rock And Roll tour, I’m beyond excited for these shows. I’ve travelled to Melbourne just to see them at Soundwave, and having witnessed perfection there, I’m bursting at the seams with eagerness for their Sydney sidewave.

But before Fall Out Boy take to the stage at the UNSW Roundhouse, we’re being “treated” to an intimate thirty minutes with Emily’s Army. I say “treated” with quotation marks because - with no disrespect to the band or their fans, of course - they’re fucking terrible. Joey Armstrong is fantastic on drums, as expected, but everything else about their set just *screams* mediocrity. If I wasn’t reviewing this show, believe me, I would not be inside the venue right now.

Thankfully, the Scottish lads in Twin Atlantic are able to bring the night on steady ground with a fun, poppy set that rings in a hefty chunk of their latest album ‘Great Divide’. Impossible not to dance to, and interspersed with formidable crowd interaction, their set is thirty minutes of pure, unadulterated fun.

Opening with ‘The Phoenix’, the men of the hour rush out onstage to an explosion of joyful cheers and piercing screams. As always, their stage presence is unforgivingly brash. Patrick soulfully swaggers his way about the stage as he loses himself in verse, while Pete is a volcanic ball of bouncy vigour. They’re bouncy, they’re fun, and while Patrick isn’t too keen on saying much, Pete’s banter never fails to make us smile. In terms of setlist, Fall Out Boy deliver a rearranged carbon copy of their Soundwave array, albeit with one surprise. In substitution of their Big Hero 6 theme ‘Immortals’, the quartet decide to bust out one of their all-time classics, and a rarity amongst their recent setlists - ‘Thriller’. Things are just about as memorable as you could expect, the tune garnering an endless stream of praise and dedicated singing along.

Whereas their new album American Beauty/American Psycho is a pop-centric affair, Fall Out Boy play cuts from the record with a heavier, more punk influenced vibe. The title track sounds less like an 80’s power pop anthem and more like a fist pumping pop-punk song; ‘The Kids Are Alright’ is a lot sweeter and more impactful when there’s a higher focus on guitars, and ‘Centuries’ becomes bearable, as opposed to its piss-poor studio counterpart. Perhaps most admirable is the fact that Fall Out Boy can play one song from Infinity On High, one from American Beauty/American Psycho and then one from Folie A Deux, and there isn’t any clash in style. They can effortlessly jump from era to era, and not one thing about it sounds jarring.

Without doubt, the highlight of the set is their encore. Opening with ‘Centuries’, Fall Out Boy showcase their new style; where they currently sit on the staircase. They move quickly into ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’, giving a nod to what is arguably their biggest hit. Finally, they round things out with ‘Saturday’, taking us all the way back to 2003 and giving us a goofy-smile-inducing reminder of where all this crazy, pseudo-maniacal pop-rock madness began. Overall, they played an incredible show - one I’m glad I waited for… One I’m going to be proud to remember. 

(Review by Matt Doria [@DEEninetysix] )

Photographer - Teresa Pham