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Live review: Fall Out Boy

Life after emo?

’I can’t stop ‘til the whole world knows my name,’ howls Patrick Stump, leaping onto a monitor like a lithe rock god, ‘we’ll go down in history, remember me for centuries!’

Is that the same Stump who was, just last decade, a podgy side-kick to FOB’s heart-throb bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz and frontman of the most lop-sided emo band on the planet?

It surely is, and Stump’s frumpiness isn’t the only thing that’s been shed since FOB went on an ill-defined hiatus in 2010, in the wake of their fan-baffling fourth album_ Folie A Deux_. Since reuniting in 2013 a layer or two of grunge grit has been wiped away too, exposing the brittle boyband beneath. They’re now leaner, shinier and more in-tune with their inner pop imps; at this tiny pre-arena tour fan show the likes of Irresistible, Biblical epic Centuries and the title track from their new album American Beauty/American Psycho come on as chart-friendly as any nugget of Bastille teen-bait.

Nestled next to infectious first-period hits such as Sugar, We’re Goin Down and This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race, they highlight the fact that, like My Chemical Romance, FOB were always a band designed to ease their fans’ growing pains with sugared rock placebos, a muslin film of intellectual angst and anger laid over a well-greased radio-pop machine. It makes for a fun family night out, sure, but if they let any more of their substance dissolve then the whole world might know their name, but they risk slipping through history’s gaps.

Mark Beaumont is a music journalist with almost three decades' experience writing for publications including Classic Rock, NME, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Uncut and Melody Maker. He has written major biographies on Muse, Jay-Z, The Killers, Kanye West and Bon Iver and his debut novel [6666666666] is available on Kindle (opens in new tab).