Fall Out Boy – Leeds Met Uni

By paul

Having never been to one of the Millennium Square gigs that have increasingly been put on in Leeds over the last 12 months, I can safely report back that the venue actually holds a gig pretty well. There’s plenty of space for the 7,000 kids to enjoy their day, while enough bars and food outlets can be squeezed in to keep queues down low. In that respect, the organisation of it all went very well indeed, far better than other festivals I have been to in recent years.

But there’s one thing a promoter cannot legislate for – and that’s the weather. And although a dark, cold day can be compensated for by bringing the rock, if the wind is a-gusting you’ve no chance – as this gig proved. As soon as any music eminated from the PA system, the wind took it away from the back of the venue and closer to Bradford than Leeds, spoiling the sound for anyone who wasn’t stood less than 10 rows back in front of the stage. As a result, many of the bands sounded worse than they probably should have done, leading to the immense feeling of boredom as muffled band followed muffled band.

I only caught the last two songs of HELLOGOODBYE, but their synth-pop sound suffered in the wind, leaving the vocals about the only thing you could hear. The dressed-up characters at the end proved one of the day’s highlights though. (6) THE HUSH SOUND are pretty fun on record, using Greta’s sweet vocals as a secret weapon. But sadly they come across as a bit lost on a big stage and, following the days recurring theme, their sound simply gets lost as soon as they start playing. The older tracks get a warmer response than the newer ones, but on the day THS are boring and insepid. I have a feeling they’d be better in a smaller venue. (4)

CAPDOWN, for me, were rthe biggest disappointment of the day. I’ve never been a huge fan, but over the eyars my respect for them has grown a lot. However, for some reason the band have slowed down all their older songs, losing the urgency that originally set them apart from the pack. And the new songs? Well they just don’t sound like Capdown at all, which again comes across as a bit pointless because the band are themselves and sound like no-one else. However, just two songs in and I’m left wondering if Hundred Reasons have come on early because the sound is very generic indeed. Again the band suffer from the wind carrying the sound, but after five songs I’ve had enough and queue for some food. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt as I didn’t know the new songs, but in my eyes the new version of ‘Ska Wars’ was a disappointment. (4)

Ditto HUNDRED REASONS. Again I’ve never been a huge fan, but they may have been a little out of place on a bill like this. The older songs inspire the days first singalong, but the newer tracks don’t stand out at all. Another band that came across as boring, again I think I managed to stomach a few songs before the ice-cream van became more appealing. (4)

THURSDAY are the days first great performance. Mixing new songs with a greatest hits selection, Geoff Rickley’s boys are the first band to really get to grips with the sound issues and the size of the stage. ‘Understanding In A Car Crash’ sounds immense, while new single ‘5, 4, 3…’ also gets a warm reception. It says a lot when the fifth band of the day are the first to get the juices flowing…(8)

I like THE ACADEMY IS… on record. I quite liked them when I saw them in a smaller venue earlier this year too. But their enthusiasm and energy isn’t transformed on the bigger stage and I’m not sure why. William Beckett is the campest frontman around, looking like a cross between Gerard Way and Russell Brand, but even his hip-shaking and pelvic thrusting cannot inspre a rather quiet and cold crowd into life. ‘Attention‘ and ‘Checkmarks’ sound better than the rest, but having seen the band before I know they’re capable of better. And if ‘The Fever’ is what we can expect from full-length number two, then TAI are on the verge of a break through…(6)

Everyone loves FALL OUT BOY. There are kids, students and even parents in the crowd and all are singing along by the time FOB bounce onto the stage. Patrick’s voice is ropey during the first few songs, but it sorts itself out by song four. All the ‘hits’ are included and there are more spin kicks and stage jumps than at a Kiss concert. To be honest, it’s typical Fall Out Boy fare with the biggest drum riser you’ve ever seen. The problem is, with the bass non-existant in the mix the sound is even weaker than most bands on the day, so not even Pete Wentz’s constant backing screams can beef up proceedings. Unsurprisingly ‘Dance, Dance’ and ‘Sugar We’re Going Down’ get the best responses, but although you cannot fault the band’s energy, Pete’s scripted comments between songs are cringeworthy and the band seem no more than a collection of musicians playing songs – not once does Patrick speak to the crowd, other than to sing. I’m not suggesting there are problems in camp FOB, but they look less like a band and more like a set of travelling entertainers. I like this band, don’t get me wrong, but even a fan like me was bored by the end of the set…(5)