New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Fall Out Boy’s latest MSG performance proves that punk rock is not dead

Fall Out Boy’s sold-out weekend at Madison Square Garden demonstrated a revival for the punk genre.
Fall Out Boy performed at Madison Square Garden on March 22. (Courtesy photo by Rich Fury)

Hundreds of punk-rock fans brought out their eyeliner and Dr. Martens at Madison Square Garden on Friday night to relive the glory days at the Fall Out Boy’s latest concert performance. Leather jackets were draped over shoulders, flannels were tied around waists and attendees passed out pink paper circles for a fan project.

FOB, arguably one of the most popular punk bands of the 21st century, performed two sold-out shows at MSG. The band climbed the ladder of fame with its 2003 debut album “Take This to Your Grave” and, most recently, “So Much (For) Stardust” last year. Still, FOB is arguably best-known for hits like “Centuries,” “Dance, Dance” and “Thnks fr th Mmrs.”

“Because they surpassed the amount of time that a legitimate rock band’s been available — because they’ve been a band for 22 years — they’ve surpassed the span of older fans and newer fans,” Rachel, who attended an MSG show and has listened to FOB since 2015, said. “You can revamp new genres all the time. People who say that rock has been dead, like there’s always been rock and people just can’t find artists. They’re there, you just need to find them.”

The punk-rock aesthetic has seen a revival on social media platforms TikTok and other social media platforms, with viral videos from users like Tarayummy. It’s now a trend online to wear thick eyeliner and have patchwork tattoo sleeves. “Kesha Core” is in, rather than a clean-girl look. Dark red lipstick is being embraced and more subtle makeup is being rejected for eyebrow piercings.

Rock music returns as a political commentary as well, with Green Day revamping the song “American Idiot” on New Year’s Eve, changing “I’m not a part of a redneck agenda” to “I’m not a part of the MAGA agenda.” The punk-rock genre is heavily defined by protest tracks and lyrics are oftentimes used as political commentary meant to elevate governmental criticism among the masses.

FOB followed suit, most recently by working with Billy Joel to make an updated version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” covering notable events and individuals from 1989 to 2023 instead of 1949 to 1989. They sing “More war in Afghanistan / Cubs go all the way again / Obama, Spielberg / Explosion, Lebanon / Unabomber, Bobbitt, John / Bombing, Boston Marathon” instead of Joel’s “Joseph Stalin, Malenkov / Nasser and Prokofiev / Rockefeller, Campanella / Communist Bloc” as a way to modernize the iconic song.

As opposed to the original fall of punk music because of an unwelcoming atmosphere, the FOB show attendants surpassed generations. Parents screamed hand in hand with their kids, and older rockers jammed in their seats with weathered leather jackets.

A person recording a concert with a Ninendo DS.
A person in the audience recorded “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” with a Nintendo DS, (Julia Diorio for WSN)

The revival of trends is natural within the music industry, yet it stands as a testament to time that punk rock continues to persist. FOB is just another band that is evidence of rock music acting as a vessel for political discourse and emotional compassion through lyricism for angsty college kids.

FOB lyricist Pete Wentz attached a flamethrower to his bass and lit things on fire during the show. The band’s Patrick Stump sang a cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” while parents sang to their children who had no idea what was happening.

Punk rock has influenced revolution in every aspect it could, and it continues to do so now — whether that be through new bands, revival tours or using a Nintendo DS to record “Sugar, We’re Goin Down.”

“The shit you make is important,” Wentz said to the crowd during the MSG show. “Don’t forget that.”

Contact Julia Diorio at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Julia Diorio
Julia Diorio, Music Editor
Julia Diorio is a sophomore studying journalism at CAS. When not reminiscing about 2000s pop-punk music, she can normally be found drinking copious amounts of Dunkin' iced coffee, curating hyper-specific Spotify playlists or struggling with the NYT crossword. Find her variations of all-black outfits and dog pictures on Instagram @juliadiorio_. Send song suggestions to [email protected].

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    MichaelannMar 28, 2024 at 10:08 am

    My amazing niece, I love reading your pieces because you are a super awesome journalist…you’re destined for great things….terrific article ♥️