Fall Out Boy tours coast to coast in a day

February 7, 2007


Playing three shows in less than 24 hours is an impressive feat under the best circumstances -- especially when the morning gig is in New York, the afternoon show is in Chicago and the evening performance is on a rooftop in Los Angeles.

If you factor in Tuesday's weather, it was an even better trick. But Chicago pop-punk heroes Fall Out Boy weren't about to let a little snow and some frigid temperatures deter them from celebrating the release of their fourth album, "From Infinity on High," the follow-up to 2005's 3 million-selling smash, "From Under the Cork Tree," and one of the most anticipated releases of 2007.

The quartet, which formed in suburban Wilmette in 2000 and honed its smart but pummeling pop-punk sound in the local underground, has come a long way from its humble roots, with MTV now following it from coast to coast. But the considerable hype and platinum filigree were nowhere in evidence as the foursome played the midday gig on its 24-hour national tour at the House of Blues, which was packed with teenage contest winners (many of whom had clearly cut class to be there).

The show started an hour late, but things could have been much worse: Bassist-lyricist Pete Wentz said the group's flight was almost rerouted to Dallas. "But we made it, and we're just going to play a little bit faster ... just cram in a bunch of songs before we have to run to the airport" to head to the West Coast, he said.

Indeed, Wentz, singer Patrick Stump, guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andrew Hurley powered through one galloping rocker after another, barely pausing in between to breathe, and focusing largely on material from their first three discs, seemingly unconcerned with selling the new album that was the ostensible purpose for their expensive stunt.

When the group finally got around to unveiling some of its ambitious new material, it provided the best moments of the 45-minute set, including the inspiring "Thriller," about how a great rock single can save your life; the rollicking, hipster-dissing "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race," and the jagged, dance-influenced "The Take Over, the Breaks Over."

Dismiss them as plastic punk poseurs or teenybopper-pandering sell-outs, if you will. But for my money, Fall Out Boy provided ample evidence that the excitement is justified, and that despite their stratospheric success, they haven't "gone Hollywood."

The only question that remained: Would they actually make it to California from snowbound Chicago for the last show of their whirlwind day?

Fall Out Boy returns to Chicago on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, for a show with the Hush Sound, Dirty and Powerspace at Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Tickets go on sale at noon Saturday at the Metro box office, all Ticketmaster locations (312-559-1212) and www.ticketmaster.com.