Things took a turn for the metal at Jingle Jam 2017.
I’m a metal kid at heart, and I’ve been to the five most intensely brutal shows of my entire life in 2017. There were times when I thought that I had peaked, that the experiences could never be topped in terms of sheer ferocity. Then I went to the Fall Out Boy show last night at Express Live…
Things started off innocently enough at the 2017 edition of WNCI’s annual Jingle Jam, with sets by up-and-comers MAX and Why Don’t We warming up the sold-out audience. The place was as packed as I’ve ever seen it, and honestly, I don’t think most of the crowd needed any help warming up as it seemed like everyone who wasn’t a pre-teen or a parent of a pre-teen had done a fair amount of boozy eggnog pregaming. There were reindeer antler headbands and ugly sweaters aplenty, and the capacity crowd was certainly buzzing but no one got too out of hand before 8:30 on a frigid Thursday night. It was just festive AF.
Fashion model turned pop sensation Dua Lipa (you know her from that Pixel 2 commercial) delivered a short but firey set, cranking out a handful of dance tracks that will help propel her to super-stardom very soon if the planets align correctly. She’s hit town a few times in the last year, opening for Troye Sivan and Bruno Mars (I’ve raved about her on this site before) and her voice was as vivacious as ever. She belted a few hits from her self-titled debut album including “I Could Be The One”, “Blow Your Mind”, and her collaboration with Martin Garrix, “Scared To Be Lonely”, all with the perfect combination of Tove Lo-sass and Sia-squeak. Closer “New Rules” got the biggest response but the crowd was still tepid for its massive size. Dua, you deserve better.
As the crowd packed in tighter for the headliners, it was obvious things were getting a bit tense. Opening with 2005 megahit “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down”, Fall Out Boy came out swinging and the crowd did too. The beer began to slosh and the sloshed began to bounce, and it wasn’t long before all Hell broke loose.
To their credit, the band tried to keep things under control, with celebrity/bassist/early 2000’s bad boy Pete Wentz stopping the action for the first time just three songs into the show. He had the crowd part to allow security in, removing fighters, drunks, and a few people who were just woefully unprepared for the chaos. To be fair, I was too.
When they were playing, the band sounded tight, though a bit uninterested. It was their last show of the year and they seemed ready to just go home to their families, but the audience provided more than enough energy to make up for it. Singer Patrick Stump was having the best time, and his soaring, soulful vocals are still impeccable nearly two decades into their career. Wentz, who has evolved from guy-liner poster boy to nearly identical twin of Mac from It’s Always Sunny…, just wanted people to have a good time, but the hormones were raging and the venue seemed to be on the brink of a riot.
Fall Out Boy brought out tracks from throughout their lengthy run in the music biz, including brand-new hits from their upcoming record, Mania, and classics from before their pop-transition including a particularly stomping version of 2008’s “I Don’t Care.” But with the frequent stops to deal with the chaos, they could never get into a comfortable swing and it seemed like they were ready to wrap things up ASAP. The band opted to not even leave the stage before their encore in an attempt to keep things from erupting, but it was too late. Fights broke out left and right, drunks threw bottles and punches, and security worked overtime to cart out the broken and bleeding.
As the cops stormed in before their final song, I decided it was time to make my exit. I carefully stepped over the literal trails of blood, sneaking past teenage girls bawling their brains out and holding their open head wounds. Outside, ambulances and police vehicles surrounded the venue, lights and sirens blaring, and I was glad I made it out alive. I honestly don’t know how things finally wrapped up, but I know I saw Slayer in the same place six months ago and it paled in comparison.
So here’s to Fall Out Boy, Columbus’ most metal show of 2017.