Friday, 20 May 2011

It's never silent...

Stealing from other's better blogs once again. Only because this one is specifically focused on music. That said, it'll probably happen again.
At the moment I'm sort of watching The Bourne Supremacy. I don't remember Identity being the best film out of the trilogy, but so far that would appear to be the case. After Matt Damon's amnesiac adventures, I'll probably just end up watching Minority Report or Star Wars as an excuse for Science Fiction revision - which, true to form, has yet to begin.

Back to the topic at hand. This week saw me travel the furthest I've ever been to see a band due to my housemate's girlfriend not being able to attend because the date was re-arranged for some reason. That band was Panic! At The Disco. I'm sure most of you are already decided upon your opinion of them, but allow me to indulge in a brief summary of their recent history. On the heels of their theatrical debut 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out' - which was half club-ready dance beats, half violin and accordian-laden weird - the band took a drastically different turn towards Beatles inspired psychedelic pop for their second record, which was aptly titled 'Pretty. Odd.' The change in musical direction made them critically acclaimed, but commercially unsuccessful. Since then, the primary lyricist and lead guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker have departed to pursue their own musical avenues.

Now a two-piece band, this has resulted in Panic!'s third album becoming a strange amalgamation of the sharp style that gained them fans and the musical maturity they demonstrated on their sophomore release - albeit with a more pop feel. Seeing as I travelled to Norwich to see them, it goes without saying that I love all of their releases so far, but this blog post isn't about reviewing their performance in the studio.

The only flaw with the venue (LCR at Norwich's University of East Anglia) was the heat. With very little air conditioning and bright lights beating down upon the audience, we were sweating before even the support band - who sucked - hit the stage. Thankfully the main attraction did not disappoint. Opening with their latest single, Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind), it soon became clear that the material from Vices & Virtues was the most polished. Friends who saw them on earlier tour dates stated that this is the best they've ever been live. Although this was my first time seeing them play, I could tell my friends were right. Fun was the name of the game, and the band were clearly having a ball whether it was with classics like Camisado or the only two tracks they played from Pretty. Odd. Frontman Brendon Urie comes from the same school of stage presence that Patrick Stump exhibited when I saw him in early May, bouncing around the stage with an electric energy that brought the other band members to life. After an hour and a half of dancing around to their infectious tunes all I wanted to do was experience it all over again. Luckily, it wasn't all heated jumping up and down, the band were also able to wind down with softer songs such as Always - moments like this were where the musical talent really shone.

They sprinkled their set with a few covers, but this was where the only cracks in their performance began to emerge. One of the night's highlights was their encore, which featured a truly rocking cover of Kansas' Carry On My Wayward Son. However, their earlier cover of a John Mayer song quickly brought the show to a halt as they indulged with a touch of *shudder* James Blunt and George Michael. Yes it was funny, but I felt that the time they wasted amusing themselves could have been better spent treating the crowd to a song of their own which wasn't on their planned setlist.

All in all though, I had an absolutely amazing night. It was fun taking a road trip with a friend to somewhere relatively unknown rather than sticking to the comforts of London and well-tread railways. I can almost see why people follow their favourite bands on tour. Other songs which were highlights for me personally included Trade Mistakes, The Only Difference... and the song that has provided the title to this blog post - Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met...). The full setlist can be found here for those who care.
Thanks for reading if you did. If you liked this pseudo gig review, let me know and I'll consider doing more in the future!

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