[Nariece Sanderson | Contributing Writer]
Over ten years since Panic! At The Disco’s jaw-dropping debut, the band has been through a few changes. After the departure of the penultimate original band member back in 2013, last man standing, Brendon Urie, decided that the show must go on. Fast forward to 2016, and we have seen the band climb to bigger venues and newer musical heights. Embracing the work and style of Frank Sinatra, Brendon gloriously introduces Panic! to a new chapter to the band’s musical evolution. To celebrate the new release of album The Death of A Bachelor, they do what every great band should: sell out a night at London’s Brixton Academy.
Panic! At The Disco saunter onto the stage and hit things off with an abrupt start. Their live debut of a track “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” could pass as an older classic as the crowd belts lyrics alongside Urie, before plunging into the driven chirpiness of “Vegas Lights”. The stage layout is stripped back and reserved; a simple backdrop emblazoned with the band logo hangs, not detracting from the party atmosphere of the gig. All suited and booted, it would appear that the band’s main focus is no longer the frilly theatrics of their previous endeavours. However, a splendid silver suit jacket proves that Urie’s new incarnation is a one of vintage taste and modern swagger. After the upbeat mania of “LA Devotee” we see the band jump back in time for some electro-poppunk joy. “Time To Dance” encourages a familiar excitement and unmistakable nostalgia amongst the audience, before the band change gear and head on to a more recent sound.
Brendon Urie proves a man of many talents this evening as he jumps from drum kit, to piano, to electric guitar. His voice is a glorious tool, spanning from the ability to produce strikingly eye-watering high notes to silky tones richer than your favourite chocolate bar. Not a note out of place, Panic!’s influences certainly sink in, the Sinatra effect delivering luxury alongside glamour. Behind a grand piano, Urie hammers out an elegant rendition of “Nine In The Afternoon” before announcing that the merchandise proceeds of the evening would be going to Cancer Research. Only two days after the death of David Bowie, it seems fitting that Panic! would pay respectful tribute to a legend in the town of his birth. But of course, this subtle rendition of “Oh! You Pretty Things” would come after the intense melodrama of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Although this tackling of Queen proves truly impressive, it may be a little superfluous. After all, we’re here for Panic!’s own stellar back catalogue, not a borrowed six-minute rock epic.
Regardless, tonight Brendon Urie truly shines, mingling some groovy moves with his wide scope of musical talent. He seems incredibly grateful to be on stage, proclaiming an honest love of the band’s fan base. Although the Panic! At The Disco have been through some changes, the chemistry is all there, revealed through some inter-song chuckles and the band’s quality showmanship. The set proves a strong mixture of the band’s back catalogue, and with the coming of even more new music, it seems like this could be the glittering end for some of Panic!’s older gems. As the sweet final notes of “Lying Is The Most Fun […]” fade into the evening, the crowd are met with the refreshing champagne slap-in-the-face of “Victorious”, before tonight’s party comes to a close with “This is Gospel” and another new hit, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.
Yes, this new dawn may be “the end of eras” for some Panic! fans, but judging from this evening’s performance; things will only get more exciting in this band’s career. Panic! At The Disco have set Brixton alight once again with feel-good fun, perhaps much desired after the sad departure of a cultural icon. Yet, one thing is for sure: tonight they are “Victorious”.