Fall Out Boy

A Pete Wentz and co. gig that really is torture...London Dungeon (October 23)

“This way please,” drones a zombie in blood-stained robes with huge Horrors hair and nasty-looking gnashers, while leading NME through dimly-lit corridors into a cobweb-strewn torture chamber. Surely penning a few negative words about the last Fall Out Boy album doesn’t merit this? Thankfully not. They may have played Wembley Arena last night but today we’re here with around 80 hysterical competition winners, crammed into a tiny room to, ostensibly, “celebrate” the release of fifth album ‘Folie A Deux’.

In general, these affairs, usually attended by marketing-obsessed chimps, reek of corporate power (and hey, Pete Wentz himself ain’t no stranger to The Suit). So it’s a pleasant surprise to find that the only iffy smell is the one emanating rather pungently from various members of the undead, who join the moshpit just as FOB arrive – over an hour late, but to a nonetheless ecstatic response – and crack straight into ‘Thnks Fr The Mmrs’. The sound is muffled and the band barely fit on to the miniscule stage, which is somewhat inhibiting Wentz’s penchant for jump twirls. The whole thing could have been horrendously cheesy, but as the band unleash an oldies-ridden set, it becomes a lot more difficult to be cynical than it doubtless was last night. Tracks such as ‘Homesick At Space Camp’, ‘Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy’, ‘Dead On Arrival’ and ‘Chicago Is So Two Years Ago’ rattle the dungeon’s walls, as the chosen few literally fall on to the band, screaming along to every word, knocking skulls out of the way to crowdsurf and hoisting themselves up on chains dangling from the ceiling. It’s cartoonishly surreal stuff. At one point during ‘Dance, Dance’ a lumbering ghoul jigs with a giant bone to our left, while fans hover round a rather menacing-looking torture device to our right. The band, too, are on playful form, laughing and joking, relishing the rare intimacy of their surroundings… maybe remembering what it’s like to be in a punk band.

Then, after an airing of new single ‘I Don’t Care’, frontman Patrick Stump dons a pair of furry teddy bear ears chucked at his feet and Wentz beckons people even closer for ‘Saturday’. He ends the performance in the flailing arms of the front row, filling the dungeon with screams of a higher pitch than it is probably used to. Somehow, it seems a fitting finale.

Camilla Pia