It seems like the Hammersmith Palais, not an over-used a rock music venue, is attempting a musical swan-song, with a flurry of bands scheduled to appear at the venue before its demise into a faceless office block/coffee shop and tonight a few thousand fans are joining in that song.
First on stage are The Pink Spiders, hailing from Nashville Tennessee, they strut and posture around stage attempting three-chord faux-punk. The crowd would have probably cheered an avant-garde jazz troupe given the levels of alcopop consumption, but the response to Pink Spiders was still muted. There are hundreds of bands up and down Britain playing the same stuff in the back rooms of pubs.
While Killswitch Engage are across town ripping people’s faces off, here there is a party atmosphere as balloons, smiles and lots of screams (some of the crowd had been waiting in the queue for over five hours) greet Fall Out Boy on their final date of this ice-breaking tour. Given how those cheeky chappies like to write essays for titles, the full setlist is a fifth of my word allocation so forgive a few abbreviations!
While the initial reception was excitable when they broke in Sugar We’re Goin Down, things really kicked off with a fairly hefty mosh pit developing, and was admiringly consistent throughout the gig. The usually squeaky clean recorded output transitioned tonight into a heavier and more chunky sound. This is usually a positive, but tonight not so, as the songs became muddied loosing some of the pop rock sound that makes the albums so enjoyable.
One exception was This Ain’t A Scene – already one of the songs of 2007 – sent everyone into a delirious frenzy. The band did tongue-in-cheekly admit to mistakes: “I think we had better practice that one a bit more!” after slopping their way through Patron Saints, but this is a warm up tour, and when the audience sing along so passionately and loudly (Grand Theft Autumn intro proving this impeccably) they grant their own forgiveness on the lads from Wilmette.
With fun-poking music videos, the onstage persona of FOB is surprising, although not goth-level serious. They focused on their performance, lead singer Patrick Stump is pretty much rooted to the spot behind his cap, leaving the dizzying antics of Pete Wentz and Joe Trohman (who pulls moves akin to the Churchill dog on speed with an afro wig) to add the movement on the stage.
In fact most of the between song banter was by Wentz, who for the last song answered the prayers of the girls on the first few rows by handing his bass to a roadie and jumping down to get all close and personal. Maybe we can all just forget about that photo now?
Fall Out Boy looked in genuinely high spirits at the reception by the English fans, and with their larger dates selling like hair dye and eye makeup they will have even bigger grins on their faces come April.