Fall Out Boy: Astoria, London Monday, Jan 30

With stalker fans including Son Of Dork, Fall Out Boy have finally hit our shores

Strange times are afoot. Not so long ago emo inadvertently strangled itself on its own po-facedness – but in 2006, the year when all known laws of pop and rock twisted back and collapsed in on themselves – the genre that long pants forgot is back, back, back! Thanks in part to a new breed of angsty Americans – led by the likes of Panic! At The Disco and Nightmare Of You (who support tonight) – emo has staked a charm offensive that looks increasingly likely to win the war.


The most popular of these bands is Fall Out Boy, and with new single ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down’ devouring radio stations worldwide, the invasion has begun to gather force. Tonight, the Astoria witnesses scenes of absolute pandemonium, a venue rammed to the rafters with a new undead army of pretty kids with issues going absolutely bananas for that emo sound. Like AFI with cheekbones, or Manic Street Preachers shorn of their glam-metal tastes, Fall Out Boy are singing the sorrow of a new blank generation.


And, like the Manics, they share a unique division of labour. Pete Wentz, the band’s muscular bass player doubles as their lyricist and ideological cult leader, while singer Patrick Stump looks after the music and giving voice to Wentz’s lyrical thought. Not that you would have found Richey excitedly proclaiming their imminent breakthrough hit as being about “the friction in my jeans”, but this is how ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down’ is ushered forth three songs in. “It’s all a bit Son Of Dork, isn’t it?” reckons one ideological hardcore soldier stood next to NME, and true to form, James Bourne’s teenyrockers are sat in the most prominent seats in the house. But Fall Out Boy don’t see pop as the enemy, rather as the battering ram for emotional glory.


A glossy show to be sure, but ask any one of those kids losing it downstairs whether this was 4 Real and they’d pass you the butterknife and score the cuts themselves. It’s bludgeoning hard, yet blessed with a sense of mischief that allows song titles like ‘Champagne For My Real Friends And Real Pain For My Sham Friends’ and ‘I Fucked A Member Of Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Lousy Song’.


It finishes quite spectacularly, with Pete executing the finest axe move in a show that has set lofty new standards in stage buffoonery. Flinging his bass mid-song only for a craftily-positioned guitar tech to catch it and seamlessly join in with the song, it leaves Pete to ascend to full-blown messiah status and lunge forwards, Christ-like into the crowd.


Dan Martin