Review: Matt and Kim w/ Fall Out Boy @ Manchester Arena

Rushing past hoards of teenagers adorned in Fall Out Boy merch and through the doors of the Manchester Arena, it occurred to me that playing support for these pop punk veterans was no mean feat.

The sentiment rang particularly true as I realised that traffic had meant we’d missed Charley Marley’s opening slot. Pangs of guilt are not conducive to a good evening.

By the time Matt and Kim took the stage, the crowd hadn’t all settled into their seats yet and the floor wasn’t full. Matt had told MM he knew that would be the case, but I couldn’t help but feel some nerves on their behalf. 

Fortunately, my own reservations were unfounded. I’d been promised that the duo would ‘demand’ the attention of the crowd and they didn’t disappoint. 

Matt and Kim might have been playing music together since 2004, but there was nothing stale or predictable about their performance. As well rehearsed as they were, there was a sense of spontaneity in what they were doing that isn’t often found in a band’s live show.  

And with a set list that featured obvious crowd-pleasers such as Now and a barrage of balloons released on those standing up against the barriers, it was evident that the couple were winning over new fans.

Music and balloons aside, it was Kim’s performance that made the set one to talk about. Matt told the audience it was time to ‘get fucking weird’ and Kim took the lead.

Kim’s energy is explosive, but it’s also unashamed. She took the stage with authority and commanded attention, putting herself front and centre while Matt played the keyboard.

This resolute confidence, which conjured up memories of a young Kathleen Hanna, turned Matt and Kim’s set from an enjoyable pre-headline act to a band that had something to say and was going to make sure that we listened.

After the balloons had been popped, the Brooklyn duo were followed by Professor Green – renamed as Professor Murder by Matt and Kim, much to Twitter’s bemusement. 

Hearing about Green’s inclusion in the line-up initially felt a little jarring, with his brand of rap music sitting in such stark comparison to anybody else taking the stage that night. 

Although Green’s stage presence didn’t possess the same raw energy as Matt and Kim’s, as evidenced by the number of phones waving in the air during Read All About It, his following extends to the Fall Out Boy crowd.

Despite there seeming to be such a disparity in genres, Green successfully hyped the crowd up for the main event, leaving an almost sold-out arena waiting in anticipation for the Chicago foursome to arrive. 

Opening with 2005’s Sugar We’re Goin’ Down and playing a mixture of both Fueled By Ramen classics and Island Records mega-hits, Fall Out Boy are a tight live act that after 14 years know exactly what their crowds want to hear. 

While Patrick Stump provided the vocals and lead guitar, it was bassist Pete Wentz who those in the front rows earnestly held up handmade signs.

It would be all too easy to disparage the teens that fawn over Fall Out Boy’s skinny jeans and side-swept hair. In the world of music, girls are all too often in the firing line. 

In fact, what is most impressive about the outfit is their staying power. Clocking in at 24, I was among the first wave of Fall Out Boy ‘fangirls’. 

Now, in 2015, there’s a new generation enjoying their simple yet effective chord progressions and arena ready choruses. This performance, hooked both their old and new audience – what better testament to their success?

Image courtesy of Abby Gillard, with thanks.

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