Fall Out Boy w/ Blackbear and Jaden Smith
KeyArena, Seattle, WA

While pop-punk hit its prime around 2005—and has pretty much faded out since—most of the genre’s stars have been left in the past. But Fall Out Boy, part of the ‘emo trinity,’ has refused to be left with their angsty early 2000’s work, and only continued to thrive since.

Opening the night was Jaden Smith, with a sound on the other end of the spectrum. Loud trap-rap backed by aesthetically pleasing music video clips, Smith’s set had the crowd hyped up and ready to go.

Bringing in a significant number of his own fans for the night, Blackbear’s merch was happily sported by probably a quarter of the crowd. Initially a little popular for “idfc” and blowing up with “do re mi” on his latest release, Digital Druglord, Bear’s been selling out every show and growing his fanbase quickly in anticipation of his next album.

His set featured a good handful of his older bops from earlier EP’s along with the newer tracks that have been blasted on every Spotify playlist lately. He’s charismatic and adorable, and Bear’s set, though also very different from FOB’s, was a perfect way to really get the night rolling.

Dramatically straightened bangs gelled back, and fedoras replaced with dad hats, Fall Out Boy’s look may have changed a bit over the years, but they aren’t letting their legacy be confined to the pop-punk explosion from which they came and are still playing arena shows years later. At first it seemed like they might only have a couple of songs that everyone would know, with the rest being awkward fillers that only the most hardcore fans would be familiar with. It became clear pretty quickly, however, that wasn’t the case.

With just a few minutes until they were set to play, one of the biggest mysteries was the fact that there was no drum kit on stage, and no crew running back and forth trying to set one up. Quickly though, a countdown began on the screen covering the back of the stage, ending with “please turn off and put away cell phones” flashing onscreen. The room erupted as the band ran on stage, drummer Andy Hurley dramatically rising from the floor, playing “The Phoenix,” the band’s opening track.

The set really can’t be described as anything less than a full-on production. With pyrotechnics right away in the first song, quickly followed by confetti streamers, and band members running up and down the runway mid-song, there was so much going on visually that it was incredible to watch.

This was put on display again as lead singer Patrick Stump sat down alone on stage for a piano rendition of “Young and Menace.” Just as that finished, Hurley rose up on a platform once again, but this time in the middle of the arena, playing his drum solo backed by Kendrick Lamar and other popular tracks. As the rest of the band took their places, they played “Dance, Dance,” “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” and a few others raised up almost eye-to-eye with second tier viewers.

Besides the wild production factor of the night, the sound was also really well done. The setlist spread their hits out enough to keep the audience engaged, but they also have so many that it didn’t really matter. The majority of FOB’s songs were ones everyone seemed to have forgotten they knew, even if it was simply from hearing them on the radio over the last few years. They’ve been around and making music for a long time, and that clearly showed in their talented performance, perfectly curated to make a night that left fans in awe.

Review by Lulu Dawson
Photos by David Endicott

Fall Out Boy