With lines wrapped around the block like a coiled hose, fans waited patiently to get to their seats to see Fall Out Boy at The Oncenter in Syracuse, NY on Sunday night. This diverse crowd filed in with no issues other than the few expected grumbles due to the wait. However, security quickly took care of each attendee getting them to their 7,000 seats as soon as possible without missing a beat.
A multi-generational crowd quickly forgot all disparity as the first band PRVIS began its fog laden set. The stage was set in low light and much smoke and fog, encompassing Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, Alex Babinski, Brian MacDonald, and Justin Nace (touring member), who make up PVRIS (pronounced Paris) . Although the scene was dreary and mysterious, the music was electric and full of energy and light.
With a newly released single “You and I,” Gunnulfsen captures your attention with strong vocals and melodic emotions. This techno meets rock is a perfect blend of musicianship to produce a unique sound all their own. It won’t be long before you will be hearing more about this band. They captured the attention of NYS Music.
As the fog began to lift off the stage, up next was AWOLNATION, an electronic rock band, consisting of Aaron Bruno on vocals and guitar, Kenny Carkeet, on keyboards, backing vocals, and rhythm guitar, Isaac Carpenter on drums, percussion, backing vocals, Marc Walloch on bass guitar and backing vocals, and newcomer Zach Irons on lead guitar and vocals.
The band’s electronic techno rock sound filled the arena under a cloak of darkness. A parade of silhouettes graced the stage for the majority of its songs. Reminiscent of a earlier techno sound from the 80’s but mixed with a flavor of today’s rock, Bruno delivered the energy filled lyrics to a hyped up crowd stirring up a bees nest of frenzy. Best known for their top ten rock single, “Sail” and cover of “I’m on Fire” in the film 50 Shades of Gray, AWOLNATION delivers an eclectic mix of music pleasing to many.
As the lights went out for a brief intermission to set up for Fall Out Boy (FOB), the cloak draped stage curtain fell to the ground, a cage was shifted off to the left of the stage, and from the sky fell a million tiny bubbles as the members of Fall Out Boy took their respective places. The crowd erupted into screams and cheers and from that minute forward the energy in that arena was contagious and spread like a wild fire. The V shaped stage encapsulated those lucky enough to be in the pit, while the rest of the arena was entertained by the band as they played every inch of the stage, the front platforms, and were gigantically projected on the above jumbotron.
Right off the bat, FOB launched into “Irresistible,” a song they also recorded with Demi Lovato. As heads bobbed to the beat and hands waved back and forth in the air, they followed with an earlier hit “We’re Going Down,” as the already incited crowd danced and sang along with every word. This momentum continued throughout the entire set, including the more acoustic piano numbers. Ending with their signature “Saturday,” front man Patrick Stump was hoisted above the crowd allowing those in the pit to become a hands on part of the show.
The production for this show was outstanding. The videography that played in the background was aesthetically as pleasing as the music it accompanied, and whether it was the streamers exploding into the crowd, or the gigantic balloon balls being volleyed around the arena, this interactive production engaged the audience, keeping it on its feet the entire night.
Being labeled emo, softcore punk, punk rock, indie rock, pop rock, or alternative rock over the years, it is apparent that this band had the right idea to take a few years off to decompress. These guys have proven that music is more than the roller-coaster ride they were on or a genre they would be pigeonholed into. The constant touring and in-studio work created a momentum for their careers, but the constant push to produce doesn’t always make for a best case scenario for creativity. Taking time off, they were able to regroup. Once the decision was made to regroup, they knew what they wanted, the roles they wanted to play, and the music came from that new place. This was not the same FOB as in 2009. Like their lives, their music evolved to become who they had grown into as they returned to the studio, new and more mature. Their audience has evolved too. It’s obvious their new music is exactly what they want to hear. This is proof that artists should write and perform for themselves because audiences relate to feeling behind the music not what is currently popular or the sound the labels push for.
As the show played on, I couldn’t help but be totally impressed with lead vocalist, Patrick Stump. His voice has the strongest roundest vocals that resonate within you, and he had me hooked when they rolled out the piano. Being partial to guitar, Joe Trohman, shredded leaving me just as impressed. The energy provided by drummer/percussionist Andy Hurley reminds me of one of my most beloved characters “Animal,” as he is truly an animal on the drums, putting every ounce of himself into each beat. The tats just sealed my fan girl crush. Finally, bassist Pete Wentz took the award for nicest guy Sunday night as he took the time to hand a pick directly to a young fan dancing close by in the aisles with his mother and sister. The smile that came across his face was priceless and something he’ll never forget; in addition to winning the respect of this mother and journalist.
In fact this entire band is unique as it takes the time to engage with its audience. There is no looking out into the crowd, or at the tops of the heads of those in front of them. These guys make eye contact with those in the audience. That personal touch creates a personal experience not only the audience but you can see the band feeding off of it. That is great showmanship, and wins accolades and referrals to anyone on the fence about buying a ticket to see these young men. This is a show to be recommended. You will not be disappointed.
PVRIS Setlist: White Noise, St. Patrick, Smoke, Fire, You and I, My House
AWOLNATION Setlist: Soul Wars, Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf), Not Your Fault, Windows, Kill Your Heroes, Woman Woman (Guitar Solo), I Am (Extended Outro), Drum and Guitar Solo, Burn It Down, Sail
Fall Out Boy SetList: Irresistible, Sugar, We’re Goin Down, Phoenix, Hum Hallelujah, Alone Together, “The Take Over, the Breaks Over”, The Kids Aren’t Alright, This Ain’t a Scene-It’s an Arms Race, Novocaine, Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes, Save Rock and Roll, Fourth of July, Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy, Uma Thurman, Dance, Dance, American Beauty/American Psycho, Jet Pack Blue, I Don’t Care, Thnks fr th Mmrs, Centuries, Encore: My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up), Saturday