Patrick Stump at The Metro, 11.11.11.

You may not know him by name, but you’ll know him by voice. After a short hiatus in the past years, Fall Out Boy’s frontman, Patrick Stump, has returned to the music scene, and is stronger than ever. After major weight loss and some soul searching, Stump has returned to the pop music scene with arguably the strongest voice in music today. Taking up cues from artists such as Prince and Michael Jackson, and pulling a Billy Corgan-esque move and writing and playing every note, word, and riff, Stump has become a force to be reckoned with.

Yes, you heard right, every clap, every instrument, down to the trumpet and drums, were all written and performed by Stump himself. Well, this is quite impossible to do live, so enter the live band. Consisting of a saxophonist, a bass player, drummer, and Chicago guitarist Michael Day, Patrick Stump’s live show rivals that of any Fall Out Boy show ever seen. Even better, unless you were told so, you’d think that these artists were part of his normal band. The chemistry is so strong on stage and so together, that you’d be hard pressed to find a boy band that could even pull of half of what they do.

The Metro itself is an institution in the Chicago music scene. Made famous by such bands as The Smashing Pumpkins and Alkaline Trio, The Metro celebrates 30 years of music next year. It is also just the right size to house up and coming artists, giving you an intimate feel without being crushed like sardines inside.

Playing alongside Stump were Mark Rose and Rockie Fresh. I was unable to make it to see Rose’s set, but Rockie Fresh’s set was very fresh, no pun intended. There was no talk of sex or drugs or alcohol, which seems to be the norm among rap artists these days. His lyrics are inspiring, fun, and simple, and his voice is smooth. He brings a refreshing energy to the face, and isn’t too “hard”- he doesn’t feel threatening or tough- as most rap artists do. Being a Chicago native, the crowd welcomed him with open arms and the energy in the room was amazing. Which all built up to one thing….

Patrick Stump. At 27 this Chicago suburb native has accomplished more than people twice his age. Starting in 2001 with Fall Out Boy, Stump was quickly noted for his musical talent, as well as his voice. Every note sung feels so genuine that it’s almost as if he were singing only to you. Stump has left no stone unturned on this tour, and it was evident that the crowd was more than anxious.

“Patrick, Patrick, Patrick,” the crowd chanted as the lights lowered. It was a scene from 6 years ago- Fall Out Boy filling stadiums with 20-40,000, everyone chanting their names- and yet this felt bigger, almost unreal. When Patrick entered the stage it was pure electricity. He was jumping and singing so much that only one minute in he was already drenched in sweat, but the smile on his face was bigger than the moon. The crowds sang along; even the mothers and fathers sang along to every song.

Playing songs back to back left the crowd in full on party mode, dancing, singing, and clapping along to each song. “I must say, hearing the crowd chant my name, has left me feeling intoxicated,” Stump said, prior to playing a crowd favorite, “Run Dry (X Heart X FIngers)”. With his guitarist pumping up the crowd, there wasn’t one body in that whole room not moving.

It was a brand new experience for fans and Stump alike- it’s been nearly a decade since Fall Out Boy was at such an early level to experience a small show such as this. “I’m playing at The Metro, mom,” Stump said to his family in the balcony. And, for the fans, we felt it, too.

Stump really showed his versatility when he played Phil Collins “In The Air Tonight”. And, he got to play that famed drum solo himself, so it’s not all too bad. What sealed the deal was playing “This City,” which is, of course, about his hometown of Chicago. Stump was truly in his element and immersed in his music, and even jumped out to the crowd to finish off the last few breaths of the song.

But what really make Patrick Stump America’s Sweetheart is what he did after the show. In 30 degree weather, when the rest of the artists and his family went home, Stump stayed for two and a half hours afterward, outside, in the cold and wind that is Chicago, just to meet and take pictures with every last fan that was waiting for him outside. In this day and age, what other celebrity would nearly freeze to death just to greet every person with a hug and engage them in conversation? No one. Stump is and has been one of a kind.

Patrick Stump in the kind of person that we wish all celebrities to be: kind, honest, passionate, and, most of all, human. Ten years later he is still going strong, this time on his own, but for the better none the less. Stump seems to have found his voice in branching out into this solo project, and his vocal range and abilities is truly nothing short of amazing.

Soul Punk is now available in stores and on iTunes, and Truant Wave is available for digital download on iTunes.

Songs to check out: “Allie”, “Explode”, “Coast (It’s Gonna Get Better)”, “Everybody Wants Somebody”, “Mad At Nothing”, and, for some tongue in cheek humor, try “Bad Side of 25.”

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