Fall Out Boy at Bayou Music Center, 6/7/2013

Fall Out Boy, American Fangs Bayou Music Center June 7, 2013

I was telling someone on Friday, "I get to go to Fall Out Boy tonight!" Her reaction? "Ha! Is it 2004?"

I couldn't blame her for the response. Fall Out Boy's name prompts memories of bad piercings, worse haircuts and overly dramatic kids, aka the Era of Emo. Fall Out Boy was one of the most popular bands of the era, and for good reason. Their songs were super catchy and their lyrics were undeniably relatable, whether you were an emo kid or not.

It may not be 2004, but Fall Out Boy still makes super-catchy rock songs with great lyrics. Friday night at Bayou Music Center, they played the hell out of them.

Before Fall Out Boy took the stage on Friday night, Houston's own American Fangs opened the show coming off a well-praised performance at last weekend's Free Press Summer Fest. The crowd cheered loudly when the Fangs took the stage; the first two songs were blemished with some microphone issues, but once resolved, the band sounded great. They're not the most original band I've ever heard, but I'm not sure that matters. They rock hard and put on a good show. I'm excited to keep seeing them live and to follow their career.

About a half-hour after American Fangs' formidable set, Fall Out Boy opened their show with a banging rendition of "Thriller" from Infinity on High, and the entire crowd immediately started to sing. LED screens behind the band said "SAVE ROCK AND ROLL," not only the title of their new album, but what seems to be the band's current objective. Haters are gonna hate on that, but FOB doesn't care. Based on their energy output and their collective performances, they are clearly dedicated to the goal.

They followed with "I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me" off From Under the Cork Tree, the album responsible for breaking FOB into superfame a decade ago. Listening to this song was like driving a DeLorean at 88 mph in the greatest way possible.

The lyrics say, "I've found the cure to growing older." I have. The cure is to constantly make great memories to music, and then pop the old songs in once in awhile. Instant time machine.

Except you have to get older, and FOB knows that. Take guitarist and main songwriter Pete Wentz, for example. He was once the heartthrob poster boy of emo who became one of the most reviled people in music for a brief moment, but has clearly matured from the obnoxious a-hole he used to be. Wentz knows he can't be that guy anymore; that public persona has a shelf life. No one wants to hear what a-holes have to say after awhile, and that is not what Wentz wants.

But he is a great songwriter who weaves together clever lyrics that are relatable and accessible. Wentz wants people to hear these lyrics and listen to FOB, and can't accomplish that by being obnoxious.

Wentz is still an engaging button-pusher, though. Several times in the night he goaded the crowd: once because of an audience member's attire ("Hey, cool collared shirt, bro") and several times to get them to liven up.

Throughout the entire show, it was challenging to see the stage. Not because I'm 5'2" or because of all the hands in the air, waving like they just don't care, but because of all the people attempting to take pictures and video of the show. Hey guys, maybe take one or two, but there is no need for 75 pics of a band from far away with a bunch of heads in the shot. Everyone on your Instagram thinks you are a dick.

One thing to say about Fall Out Boy is that they are not a one-note band. Sure, their music fits inside the whole pop-punk/rock/emo genre, but their songs by no means all sound the same, which cannot be said of many of the other bands that grew out of that time period.

FOB's drummer Andy Hurley, was awesome, pounding hard all night long. This guy is good shit. Guitarist Joe Trohman banged his incredible Sideshow Bob 'fro and got the fans excited a few times during the night while playing on the box.

Singer Patrick Stump was fantastic. His range is vast, but what makes him even more effective is the amount of passion he puts into every word he sings. Decorating his phrasing with trills and runs, everything he does is full of feeling.

Sometimes Wentz's vocals are more complementary to Stump's than others. The low growl on the older songs is 50/50: sometimes contrived and other times more purposeful. On "The Phoenix," from the new album, Wentz's vocals blend more organically, and show the development the band experienced during their hiatus. The song had a good backbeat and was good. Nothing monumental, but better-than-decent rock.

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Selena Dieringer
Contact: Selena Dieringer