As a lover of live music and a long time Panic! at the Disco fan who has a very silly crush on Brendon Urie, (for the past 10 years) I was incredibly excited when I found out they were doing a headline London show!
Despite missing out on the pre-sale tickets and panicking (lol) that I wouldn’t get a chance to dance at their disco (I’m sorry it’s been a long day), I managed to get a pair of tickets for Lissa (Girl At The Rock Show) and I, on their only UK date this mini tour.
Panic! were playing at Brixton Academy, which is a great venue, with a capacity of just under 5,000 people. Every gig I’ve been to at this place has always been a lot of fun (including Paramore, Billy Talent, New Found Glory and Alexisonfire to name a few), and I’m a big fan of the sloped floor – makes it a whole lot easier to see the stage when you’re squished somewhere between the sound desk and a sweaty teenagers armpit.
The band line-up has changed so much since they first started 10 years or so ago, with session musicians/past members filling in when they play live. Urie, the lead singer and songwriter is actually the last remaining original member and ultimately is the Panic! brand… If he left, I think the emo/pop-punk/myspace world could grind to a halt… But let’s not think about that right now because I’m getting a little emotional.
In the past, Urie has had a whole lot of stick for his live vocal performances, with people saying his vocals aren’t very good live (to put it politely), and although he isn’t always note perfect, the atmosphere Urie creates with his on-stage charm, charisma, and sass, is always electric, especially with his trademark, theatrical style, that features as many high pitched mid-song wails he can fit in!
The set list for this show was a whole mixture of old and new, beginning with one of their newest tracks ‘Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time’ from their newest album. The song starts with a recognisable and catchy guitar riff – instantly making the crowd go wild, and also features the line “I’m not as think as you drunk I am” which my angsty teenage self used to love saying after drinking one “alcopop” at a beach party back in the day, therefore this song is great and Urie is a lyrical genius (in my opinion).
Urie was clearly a little taken back by how full the venue was and how loud the crowd were. His vocals were a little shaky on this first song but he soon got into the swing of it and was back to his confident (mostly in tune) vocals.
Their second studio album, ‘Pretty. Odd’ was slightly unfortunate in my opinion, and from the people I’ve spoken to, it seems they lost a lot of fans at the time because of it. The second album simply wasn’t good enough to follow up from their debut album ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’. I’m pretty sure Urie is aware of this, as their set only featured one track from the second album, called ‘Nine In The Afternoon’, which he changed up the staging for by playing piano which encouraged a sing-a-long type vibe, and it was a lot of fun!
I always enjoy it when bands cover another artists song during a live show, and Panic! didn’t disappoint. Urie’s rendition of ‘Bohemiam Rhapsody’ (Queen) leading into ‘Oh You Pretty Things’ (David Bowie) was quite epic. (Can I also just say, whether you’re a Bowie fan or not, Panic! made the lovely decision to contribute 100% of the profit from their merch sales that evening to Cancer Research UK in memory of David Bowie.)
My friends and I used to listen to the first album ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ religiously during our early teen years to the point that it was pretty much the soundtrack to our lives (alongside Paramore, of course), and to this day when I hear the first few notes of ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ I am transported back to my teen years and memories come flooding back. This gig was no different and I (as well as the rest of the crowd) went wild.
‘Panic! At The Disco’ crowd @ O2 Academy Brixton
“Bands normally leave the stage and do the humble brag before the encore, but we don’t wanna do that, we want to use this time to stay and play more songs for you!” – Brendon Urie.
After announcing the above, rather triumphantly (and to the crowds delight), they broke out into their “encore” playing ‘This is Gospel’ (one of the main singles from the fourth album ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!’) into one of their newest tracks ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’. The second song fittingly featuring the lyrics “I’m taking back the crown” – you know what, I think Urie is doing just that – this album is the “grown up” answer to ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ and I’ve already listened to it more times than I can remember.
For me, Panic! is all about nostalgia and memories – whenever I see them I have an amazing evening and feel like I’ve gone back in time. The majority of their songs are well written electro-pop-punk and the only disappointment for me at this gig is that they didn’t play ‘Hurricane’ (I challenge anyone to not want to dance whilst listening to this song) from the second album ‘Vices & Virtues’.
Just before I go, I feel like I need to tell y’all that I worked with the awesome Zeitgeist Agency PR team at Reading Festival in August last year. Not only did I get to accompany photographers into the press pit meaning I got to watch the first 3 songs up close (and have Aimi from Zeitgeist to thank big time for letting me tag along with her), I also met the delightful human that is Brendon Urie in the press tent and it was really special. Here’s a picture of us looking cute and stuff.
The new album ‘Death Of A Bachelor’ came out on 15th January and is available to stream on Spotify or buy on iTunes. Have any of you listened to it? If you have which is your favourite song? I love all the singles they released ahead of the album, but out of the ones I hadn’t heard I think ‘Crazy=Genius’ is pretty glorious!
If you want to see Panic! live this year, you’re in luck! They’re headling Slam Dunk festivals on Sat 28th (North), Sun 29th (Midlands), and Mon 30th (South) of May, 2016 – perhaps I’ll see you at one of them?
All photos my own unless otherwise stated.
Queer & Curvy Cat Lady 💘 Another lifestyle blog, but with a colourful & alternative edge. Covering all kinds of subjects inc. Vegan & Cruelty-Free living, Self Love & Body Positivity, LGBTQ+, Travel & Adventure... To name a few. Usually found cuddling animals, visiting restaurants with plant-based options, singing my heart out at gigs, or covered in glitter in a festival field.