Concert Review

Fall Out Boy, Machine Gun Kelly and Every Time I Die give Pittsburgh a mixed bag of goods on the M A N I A Tour

Parents who were coerced or even excited to take their children to see Fall Out Boy’s 2018 M A N I A Tour may have gotten more than they bargained for and so did the rest of the audience.  All three acts are distinctly different genres, vastly different approaches, and are worlds apart from where they currently stand in music history.

Show openers Every Time I Die hail from Buffalo, NY and have been a stalwart Warped Tour metalcore act.  ETID have been at it since 1998 and have established a large fan base among followers of their respective genre.  A lot of audience members may have been asking how such a hardcore act could get on a bill with big boys Fall Out Boy.  Singer, Keith Buckley explained their presence after the third song, “I’m sure a lot of you are confused and a little distressed, but we’ve been friends with Fall Out Boy for a long time and they brought us along.”

It’s hard to read minds but when the boys came out swinging and jumping, and ripping it up combined with lyrics such as from We’rewolf, “Which one of you sons of bitches is gonna make me feel alive?  Which one of you motherfuckers is gonna get inside my heart?” it is safe to assume most were stunned.  And they should have been because ETID was, as is typical, amazing, energetic, and wildly talented.  There are many reasons the band has made it for so long and their high energy octane output would be at the top of the list.  Add to this the countless stories from fans of how cool, receptive, and grateful the guys are, and part of the winning formula is revealed.

The two guitar approach of Keith’s brother Jordan Buckley and part-time pro-wrestler Andy Williams creates a layered wall of sound that attacks as harshly as the lyrics.  Of course, drummer Clayton Holyoak and bassist Stephen Micciche are no slouches either, putting that pounding rhythm section to use as the bottom end of a well-oiled machine.  If you sadly missed these guys this week or even missed Andy wrestle at the inaugural Blackcraft Wrestling iPPV match here in Pittsburgh, don’t fret.  ETID will return Dec. 12 at Mr. Smalls with Turnstile and Vein while Andy will be performing and wrestling Dec 15 in Buffalo with their 13th annual ‘Tid The Season event.  ETID will play along with Eighteen Visions, Pup, Reggie and the Full Effect, Frank Iero and the Patience, Knocked Loose, Vein, and Bungler.  Afterward will be over ten pro wrestling matches via the Blackcraft Wrestling league (started by Pittsburgher Bobby Schubenski, co-owner of Blackcraft Cult Clothing Co.).

Photos ©2018 AWelding

 

Machine Gun Kelly happened to make more news in the days leading up to the Pittsburgh date than ever before due to his very public feud with Eminem.  According to complex.com, “Back in 2012, Machine Gun Kelly tweeted about Eminem’s daughter Hailie, referring to her as “hot as fuck.” Understandably, the comment caused controversy due to her only being 16 at the time he posted the tweet, and now Em has seen fit to diss MGK on his new album Kamikaze.”  Then, “Less than a week after Eminem took aim at Machine Gun Kelly on his surprise album Kamikaze, the latter has fired back at his former idol with the diss track “Rap Devil” (billboard.com).  So, of course, MGK is hot right now for several reasons and according to his fans, part of that is due to his talent.

One thing is certain, MGK is a high energy output performer.  What is debatable is if he will be a ‘here today, gone later today’ rapper de jour.  After witnessing his seemingly heartfelt performance it is truly difficult to judge.  He can rap, but he definitely gets some electronic help when singing, but so do many.  He certainly has a talent for pissing people off and that has a lot to do with his offstage behavior which as far as his actions offstage in Pittsburgh includes being very unprofessional.  Maybe time will mature MGK in multiple ways and then again maybe it will put him in the trash heap of 15-minute fame names.

When MGK came out in a very garish pink trenchcoat emblazoned with ‘Opening Ceremony Est. 2012’, he did so with massive fervor as he sang “Bad Motherfucker”, which is a bit of a catchy tune and then went straight into “Loco” with its subpar bars/lyricism. His song “Home” brought lots of smiles from the rapper due to crowd response, even though he hails from cross-border rival Cleveland.  Around this time a homemade looking sign appeared stating “Rap Devil” and MGK’s response was, “The real Slim can’t stand up,” very borderline blasphemy to a man who was once an idol.

The question must be asked if all this hype will be good for MGK or bad.  Is all publicity good publicity?  Taking on a rap legend may not have been the smartest or classiest move (an apology and acknowledgment of understanding Em’s ire being the obvious way to be the better man) but then again no one has accused MGK of possessing this quality.

photos ©2018 AWeldingphoto

The real fireworks (literally) hit the stage when Fall Out Boy seemingly appeared from under the stage and launched into “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes”.  It is a testament to having class, talent, and professionalism that FOB have risen out of Chicago back in 2005 when “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” was on everyone’s lips, MTV, and ears that they have survived to still play the big arenas like PPG.  Providing energy with high-level production FOB kept it rolling with “The Phoenix” and “Irresistible” as bassist Pete Wentz took a page out of Nikki Sixx’s book and shot massive balls of flame from his bass’s headstock as pyro reached for the sky behind the band.  Following that they hit their stride with the aforementioned hit, “Sugar,…” as huge cannons shot confetti into the air complete with massive booms.

The band continued to play their genre mix of alt-pop- emo rock with the giant screen behind them that started with a hazy liquid smoke and went on to feature scenes from Big Hero Six, a Uma Thurman montage, some middle finger frivolity, and talking llamas.  Yes, talking llamas. Confusing certainly, especially when proclaiming, “I don’t think this show is suitable for children”.  But entertainment is in the eye of the beholder and the audience did not seem to care and just proceeded to dance and sing to the band’s history of work.  FOB are veteran enough to know how to play that up, sometimes through their huge catwalk interaction, and other times when that catwalk led to risers taking them high into the Penguins home base.  In short, the twenty plus song set was a fervor of fan-fueled fun ending with the 2013 encore of the hit song “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” and the audience going home getting their monies worth.

All photos AWelding ©2018

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