Brendon Urie and Co pump up the pomp, hammering home a set that will see them explode into a new stratosphere upon the release of album number five.
For many, Panic! At the Disco’s only UK show in Brixton is the first of the year, and what a way it is to kick off 2016. After an all-too-fleeting visit to the David Bowie mural-turned-memorial opposite Brixton tube station to pay respects, the throng descends upon the O2 Academy, where the atmosphere is filled with a feverish excitement. It is indeed, time to dance.
Charley Marley takes to the stage at Brixton
First up to get the crowd going is Charley Marley, a rising star signed to Pete Wentz’s DCD2 label. The cheeky Londoner has the early attendees bouncing up and down in no time with a hyped up mix of ska and dance, which thankfully isn’t half as bad as it sounds on paper. The two tracks he’s released so far, Wonka Bar and Bad Things With Jamaicans boom across the academy and Charley has enough tricks up his sleeve to keep the crowd thoroughly entertained throughout the set.
That said, it could have been anyone supporting tonight and those in attendance wouldn’t have had their eagerness dampened. As soon as the giant Panic! At The Disco banner is dropped, the screams rise to fever pitch and the imminent arrival of Panic! becomes almost too much to handle.
It takes a lot of gusto to open a set in front of 5,000 people with a song that’s only been out in the public arena for a few days, but with such a devoted fan base it pays off in dividends for P!ATD as everyone goes berserk for Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time.
With its Rock Lobster sample, huge sing-along chorus and everything in between, it’s a triumphant start and things only get wilder as they hammer into Vegas Lights and newbie LA Devotee.
Brendon Urie is, as always, the consummate front man with his flashy blazer, gravity defying quiff and a voice unlike any other. Those of us who were besotted with the band from when their first demos appeared on Myspace over a decade ago are treated with Time To Dance early on; which still sounds as vital as it did when we were having fringe-offs and rearranging our Top 8s.
Far from a nostalgia trip, the show proves Panic! are only growing stronger as they mature, with tracks like Hallelujah being sang by every voice in the house. In fact, a total of five new tracks – a quarter of the set – are played and the majority of the crowd seem to know every word. Their classy blend of electronics, guitar and bucketloads of theatre has secured their position as one of the most revered bands around. Urie is a back flipping, hot-stepping sight to behold throughout and his multi-instrumental talent somehow doesn’t seem fair as he flits between all manner of pads and pedals, guitars and of course, the piano. A glorious rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, complete with lighting straight from the infamous video is rounded off poignantly with a snippet of Bowie’s Oh! You Pretty Things and receives a rapturous applause upon the closing note.
Classics I Write Sins Not Tragedies and Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have… get glorious outings but it really is the newer material that has this baying audience dancing like nobody’s watching. Victorious’ freak out riffs set the floor alight as Urie’s falsetto reaches even dizzier heights and second to last, This is Gospel’s chorus is almost unholy in its power.
Rounding things off with Emperor’s New Clothes, it’s clear to see that Panic! really have their sights set on the future and if the ‘rat pack on crack’ vibes of new album Death of a Bachelor are anything to go by, they’re going to be around for a long time to come.
Panic! At The Disco, O2 Academy Brixton, 12/01/15
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