The Hella Mega Tour might be eight months away but it’s never too soon to start getting hyped for the Monsters Of Pop Punk. The bill groups together three of the biggest bands of the scene for one almighty travelling show – but who’s Top of The Punk Pops on the bill?
Weezer are big fans of letting their music do the talking onstage, with frontman Rivers Cuomo typically barely saying a word during shows. Fall Out Boy aren’t much better, the occasional speech and ‘Saturday’ crowdsurf aside, but in Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day have the most excitable ring leader around. A whirlwind of woah-ohing crowd command, he’s more than happy to incite a carnival chaos with T-shirt cannons, kids joining the band onstage and plenty of goofing around. It’s an easy win for Green Day on this one.
Props to Weezer for the giant illuminated ‘W’ – but it’s not 1999 anymore. And with giant video screens and a guy in a bunny costume, Green Day make their bratty punk feel at home in stadiums. But if you want a little more bang for your buck, look to Fall Out Boy. The MANIA tour saw them floating over the audience on giant cubes and the last time they headlined Reading & Leeds, they did so on a massive video slope with multi-coloured fire and a flamethrower bass guitar. Who knows what they’ll come up with for the Hella Mega Tour. Fall Out Boy win.
All three bands refuse to succumb to nostalgia, despite how easy it might be. Fall Out Boy pretty much defined noughties emo culture with the ‘From Under The Cork Tree’ and ‘Infinity On High’ albums, while their post-hiatus material has seen them try and erase genre lines that only really exist in their world. Green Day are the oldest of the gang, and have two Actual Masterpieces in their back pocket with ‘American Idiot’ and ‘Dookie’ – 15 and 25 years later, those albums still sound dangerous, dynamic, fresh, funny and revolutionary. Sure, Weezer’s ‘Blue’ and ‘Pinkerton’ are hugely influential punk-pop/emo classics, but even they acknowledged Green Day’s influence on ‘El Scorcho’, so who are we to argue? Green Day win.
The best time to head to the bar is during the new stuff, right? The crowd doesn’t know it yet, the band are still figuring it out and it’s an uncomfortable necessity for all involved. Not with this tour.
After four questionable albums, Green Day’s ‘The Father of All…’ might sound like another misstep, but the brand new track takes the dive bar energy of their Foxboro Hot Tub side project and shows a refreshed focus.
Fall Out Boy have always been daring in their music, refusing to follow or do the expected, and every album has been a leap forward. In that context, new track ‘Dear Future Self (Hands Up)’ feels a little disappointing, like an off-cut ‘MANIA’.
On the other hand, it’s been a bizarre few years to be a Weezer fan. After proving they still had it with the ‘White Album’, the band got weird with the experimental flex of ‘Pacific Daydream’ and ‘Black’ and the wedding band covers of ‘Teal’. By the time Hella Mega rolls around, they’ll have definitely released the metal-influenced ‘Van Weezer’ and maybe dropped the easy listening of ‘Okay Human’. Weezer remain unpredictable but if what comes next is half as joyous as ‘End Of The Game’, we’re sold. Right now, Weezer have us most excited.
Rivers has spent the summer wearing a bucket hat. Green Day are wearing matching red suits in their latest promo pic. Have you seen Pete Wentz’ hair? Fall Out Boy have style and are clearly the best dressed.
Take a second to imagine just how many classic songs will be soundtracking next summer with the Hella Mega Tour. From ‘Buddy Holly’ to ‘This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race’, there are going to be so many singalongs that they’ll need to sell throat lozenges on the merch stall. If there’s one track that’s going to leave everyone hoarse though, it’s Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’. Second only to ‘Wonderwall’ as The Most Requested Song To Play On Acoustic Guitar, people are born knowing every word. Camera phones up, this will be the biggest moment of the night. Another Green Day win.
The greatest greatest hits
When they want to be, Weezer are one of the most perfect singles bands around, thanks to tracks such as ‘Pork and Beans’, ‘Beverly Hills’, ‘California Kids’ and ‘Island In The Sun’. In recent years, they’ve been indulging the crowd in hit-packed sets.
Before making the perfect arena rock record ‘American Idiot’, Green Day were already a band capable of a greatest hits. The snotty punk rock anthems of ‘When I Come Around’, ‘Basket Case’, ‘Longview’, and ‘Brain Stew’ are just the tip of the iceberg. Of course the many, many hits from ‘American Idiot’ are going to go off but their post ‘American Idiot’ output also contains plenty of gold. ‘Bang Bang’ and ‘Know Your Enemy’ are made to get an entire stadium jumping while ‘Father Of All…’ feels like a lit match and a cartoon stick of dynamite.
While the other two bands have to make their older songs work in stadiums, Fall Out Boy have always sounded at home on the biggest of stages. From ‘Dance, Dance’ onwards, every FOB song has felt bigger, more confident and more hungry for the masses. With a slick, dynamic and tested collection of stadium-ready bangers ready to go, ‘Immortals’, ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’, ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down’, ‘The Last Of The Real Ones’, Fall Out Boy’s greatest hits are undeniable. It’s a photo finish but Fall Out Boy take it.
The overall winner
A quick bit of maths here says Fall Out Boy and Green Day are tied on three each. But you know who the real winners are? Anyone who gets tickets to this tour, and the sheer majesty of pop punk in general. Hella, hella mega.