It took just five years for Fall Out Boy to go from being unfashionable emo leftovers to arena rock toasts of the town. The Chicago band’s split, or, more accurately, slightly longer break between albums, allowed them to return in 2013 with a souped-up sound, free from the baggage of leading a scene that no longer exists. Their sixth album is out on Monday, and an autumn arena tour has just been announced.
This was the follow-up to the comeback, which was also launched in a small London venue two years ago. Here the only spectacles were heartthrob bassist Pete Wentz’s daring leather tunic and two coffee table-sized platforms from which he and singer Patrick Stump could punch the air.
Their muscular songs easily filled the intimate room despite the quartet running on less than full power. Guitarist Joe Trohman was absent arranging his mother’s funeral, replaced by guitar tech Josh Newton. The latest material continued the shift from alternative rock towards loud, unabashed pop. Centuries sampled one of the catchiest songs of all time, Suzanne Vega’s Tom’s Diner, while the new album’s title track, American Beauty/American Psycho, galloped along to great effect. Both stayed just on the right side of being annoying.
Stump, formerly an awkward frontman, shimmied with flair and goaded the willing crowd to sing along to their early single, Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy. It was still Wentz who handled the banter and launched himself into the throng at the end.
They both seem to be enjoying the job again, and now possess even more giant choruses. These are weighty songs that are built for arenas, and now that the launch party is out of the way, that’s exactly where they’ll be.
Also Oct 11, SSE Arena, Wembley (0844 815 0815,ssearena.co.uk)