REVIEW: FALL OUT BOY PLUS GUESTS – MANCHESTER ARENA 29/03/18 80

Opening for a band as much loved as Fall Out Boy are is never particularly easy, but with considerable flair and a lot of sparkle, opening act MAX, although currently largely unknown to UK music fans, does his best to warm up the fast-filling arena with a set filled with songs that showcase his impressive vocal range and his rather fancy dance moves that could be considered ‘stolen’ from the likes of Michael Jackson. His US smash hit “Lights Down Low” is perhaps the best received song he performs, and as time goes on, the crowd do become more receptive to his calls for them to clap or sing along. Come the end of his set, MAX, with another thank you to everyone who has come out in time to see him, exits the stage to warm, although not considerably loud applause.

Second support Against The Current fare much better and almost bounce their way on stage with an energy that doesn’t let up until the second they leave.¬†There’s an air of Paramore’s Hayley Williams about front-woman Chrissy Costanza and her powerful voice, perhaps showcased best via “Gravity”, easily soars through the air of the vast venue, captivating and entertaining those watching the band on stage. With a new album due out later this year, there are likely to be big things ahead for the trio from Poughkeepsie.

As the lights go down for the third time, a countdown appears on the big screens and as the clock ticks down, the screams and cheers of the now packed arena proceed to get louder and louder, reaching almost ear-piercing volume when Fall Out Boy make their first appearance, and kick things off with “The Phoenix”, complete with on-stage pyro. From there, it’s a case of them blasting out hit after hit, with Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz marching from one side of the stage to the other, working, as they always have, in harmony with one another, and encouraging the crowd to dance and jump.

“Sugar We’re Goin’ Down” results in the venue almost vibrating from the sound of 12,000+ people singing along to the chorus at the top of their voices, while the catwalk that splits the arena floor in two sees plenty of use from all band members aside (obviously) from drummer Andy Hurley, who parade their way down it, instruments or microphone in hand.

Taking a seat at a grand piano, Stump shows off just how good his vocal range is with a performance of “Save Rock and Roll,” during which he covers both his own role in the song as well as that of Elton John. It’s a far cry from the EDM, heavier sound to the song that most fans are used to, but it works, and goes down a treat.

While most performers tend to stick only to playing a main stage, the band then proceed to delight those seated at the back of the arena by appearing on a two-part B stage, which raises the quartet high into the air, putting Patrick and Pete in particular at almost eye level with those ‘up in the gods.’ Renditions of “Dance, Dance” and “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” work the crowd up into a frenzy, and the cheering which follows lasts until the band leave the B-stage and make their way back to the main one.

With the show quickly drawing to a close, the band maintain the high energy momentum they’re so well known for with “I Don’t Care”, soon followed by fan-favourite “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race”, while “Church” also makes its live debut. The four song encore which follows a few minutes later begins with “Uma Thurman”, but it’s the middle two tracks, “Thriller” and “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” that see the venue once again come alive, shaking with the force of those both in the seats and on the floor singing and dancing along. Closer “Saturday” meanwhile sees Pete get really up close and personal with the fans as, making his way down the catwalk, and laying his bass guitar aside, he reaches out to them as they sing – practically scream – the final few notes, just as confetti explodes from the ceiling all around them.

With such a vast catalogue of hits and an army of dedicated fans, there was little doubt tonight’s Fall Out Boy show was going to be anything less than great, and judging by the grins on the faces of the thousands in attendance as they made their way to the exits, it certainly was just that.

 

 

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REVIEW: EMILY FAYE – ‘HERE I AM’ EP 33

Championed by Rolling Stone last year and named one of their ‘Ten New Country Artists You Need To Know’, Emily Faye’s passion for music stretches far beyond the short time she’s been in the spotlight as a star in her own right. Having gone from writing songs in her bedroom and studying at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute, she’s now released her debut EP called Here I Am.

Opening with “Open Road”, the collection gets off to a great and upbeat start, thanks to Faye’s soft, almost innocent vocal perfectly being perfectly paired with a toe-tapping country rhythm. “Giving In” is much slower, but maintains the EP’s focus on Faye’s vocal talents as she delivers the tracks’ strong, emotive lyrics that hold a a hint of defiance and rebellion in them.

“Game Over” is the kind of track that deserves to be played when listeners are taking a summer’s day drive with their friends. There’s an unmistakable ‘freedom and exploration’ vibe to the song – a perfect accompaniment to the upcoming summer break – that is sure to have the piece put on repeat.

Written about being comfortable with someone; a boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, or friend, who loves you for you, no matter what, there’s a reflective, deeply emotive and connective feel to closing number “Me For Me”, and as someone who has always struggled with self-confidence, the song reminded me that I have people in my life who wouldn’t and don’t want me to change who or how I am.

The EP as a whole has a very almost old-school, traditional feel to it, making it stand out from the many other releases of recent weeks and months that have focused more on the modern music styles which dominate the charts and the industry in general. The collection is a fantastic introduction to one of the hottest names in country music right now and will certainly have fans eager to see where Emily Faye goes and what she creates with her talent next.

THE SUMMER SEASON KICKS INTO GEAR WITH THE IBIZA BURLESQUE FESTIVAL 58

As summer approaches and the festival season slowly gets into full-swing, one of the hottest upcoming events is the second annual Ibiza Burlesque festival, which takes place Friday 25th – Sunday 27th May.

Founded by singer-songwriter Sapphira, who has found the music of the white isle a lifeline during her struggles with bipolar, this years’ event, organised by the globally established company Sapphira’s Showgirls which champions self-expression and fundraises in support of mental health, includes a tribute of her debut single Money$hot as well as a special guest appearance by Billboard Top 20 and Grammy Award winning artist, Kim Cameron with DJ Halo.

Other highlights of the festival include performances from several world class artists, hailing from seven different countries, with Innocence Bliss and Jamilia Wardknott, both from the UK, and Italy’s Scarlet Lovelace among those confirmed to entertain those in attendance. There’s also a swimwear parade, a couple of pool parties and, if you fancy learning a little bit of burlesque yourself, you can take a beginner class in Sex A Peel with Sheila Starr Siani or Fantastic Fans with Sapphira.

The festival works in partnership with premium venues on the island, with the premier event – the Bass & Tease gala – taking place at the distinguished Heart Ibiza, a state-of-the-art restaurant come nightclub. From the first day to the last, the festival is set to delight and excite all those who attend.

For a full programme of events and to purchase tickets, visit the festival website.