Fall Out Boy / The Academy Is... - Manchester Apollo - 23.5.06

After Panic! At The Disco blew them off stage every single date of their January double-header tour, there was a sense that The Academy Is... would be the perennial underdogs, but following at atrocious set from the Hush Sound (a band so bad that Pete Wentz had to get his little peter out to promote the bands debut album) TAI deliver a set which on every single level pisses all over Fall Out Boy.

William, then of no penis fame, now of distinctly visible bulge, has always looked up to the likes of Jagger and Morrisson with his snake hip shimmy rock theatrics. Despite having problems with the mic throughout the set when it completely falls apart instead of throwing a  diva sized strop he simply walks to the front of the stage, holds his hand out to the audience and lets them take over. On the live stage TAI have always excelled in the performances stakes and bring the album to live which sadly fails on the basis that it's a little to clean and a little too polished. As with last time "Skeptics & True Believers" is the stand out track, but opener "Attention", the rock shuck of "Black Mambo" and the bands title track "Almost Here" don't fail to deliver.

The Academy is delivered a towering victory which is more than we can say for Fall Out Boy. Of late Pete Wentz has been receiving more attention for everything but his own bands music. When private pictures got hacked into from his sidekick he revealed he had as big a cock as he did a mouthy way with one liners. The fact that he still had Morrissey posters adorning his wall when he's pushing 30 only added to the intriguing of the Wentz. Basically it could only have been more interesting is it was Morrissey taking pictures of himself with Morrissey posters hanging on the wall. Throw in the fact he also discovered and signed the hottest band on the planet in Panic! At The Disco and you have an amazing story.

Tonight's whole gig can be summed up by a overheard conversation between 2 teenagers in the toilets between The Academy is and Fall Out Boy as they argue about whether Fall Out Boy are actually a decent band, but both concur on the fact that Wentz has done more for the scene than anyone else in the past 2 years. It's something Wentz goes on to mention later "We're all family and this is what Fall Out Boy, Gym Class Heroes, The Academy Is, The Hush Sound....and that little known band Panic! At The Disco are all about".

Some has said that those who lost Busted when Charlie Simpson went on to do Fightstar full time have moved on to Fall Out Boy and essentially what you get with FOB is a an amazing live show let down by a lack of quality tunes. Choreographed jumps, costume changes and speeches written to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Live as well it's much more of a band effort than a one man show - singer Patrick Stump is dressed as Libertine, Joe Trohman never stops moving and well Andy Hurley is just a drummer.

Singles "Sugar We're Goin' Down" and "Dance Dance" are the obvious highlights and while the rest of the set creates a moshing frenzy, musically it falls down as being a little one dimensional.

Fall Out Boy have a devoted fanbase that will stick by them, but whereas last album "From Under The Cork Tree" snuck upon those outside the rock scene and won them over this time the world will be watching them and it could just be a case of Wentz's protégé's Panic! At The Disco stealing their thunder.

Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride www.karenmcbride.com

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