Patrick Stump has skills, and he enjoyed showing them off at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Sunday. The former and perhaps future lead singer of Fall Out Boy jumped from instrument to instrument so often it was as if he was auditioning for “America’s Got Talent.”
Stump, at 27, is instead trying out for a career without his tabloid-friendly lite-punk band, which is on hiatus, and for acceptance from fans of a different genre: lite funk.
Stump spent much of his 50-minute set testing out material from his solo debut, “Soul Punk,” a CD due to be released this fall on which he plays all the instruments and does all the singing. Most of the show had a Justin Timberlake-ish feel, and Stump’s better tunes usually aim no higher than to have a good beat so you can dance to them. He doesn’t try to hide the joy he gets from performing, and that giddiness made his occasional attempts at edginess — he tried tackling the downers of adulthood on “Bad Side of 25” and attacked greed on “Big Hype” — tough to buy into.
Stump, who lacks a sincere snarl and a criminal rap sheet, also looked to exploit the gravitas of others by throwing in classic club covers. There was Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up,” with Stump blowing what looked like a mini-trumpet. He got behind the drum kit to lead his practiced and kinetic funk quartet through a medley of dance hits, topped by Montell Jordan’s mid-1990s smash, “This Is How We Do It,” and Bel Biv Devoe’s “(That Girl Is) Poison,” which had the crowd bouncing to its highest heights. He dismissed his band and sat at a piano to croon Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” though on this night his rushed rendition wouldn’t rate any comparisons to Sinead O’Connor’s transcendent version.
Stump closed with “This City,” his newest single. Despite one of the worst lines in lyricdom (“You can take my picture and you can take my name, but you’re never gonna take my city away!” Hey, Pat: Has anybody ever really threatened to take your city away?), Stump’s neo-disco song has every chance of being a radio hit and appearing in commercials and movies for a long, long time. In fact, the chorus of “This City” is so great that if he hadn’t kept a song this catchy in his pocket during the last Fall Out Boy rehearsals, that band might be on the road right now.