Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Panic! At The Disco @ Southampton Guildhall, 01/02/12

A sold out Southampton Guildhall stands to attention when Australian four-piece Me burst on stage with a ginormous dramatic opening number of chants and fist pumping. However, it soon become clear that that their gigantic sound is mainly down to the over-use of echoing vocal sound effects and over-hyped guitar solos. It’s shame as lead singer Luke Ferris clearly has an interesting and powerful voice – think Brain Molko from Placebo – but it begins to feel gimmicky as over-production takes hold. The bands emo image, complete with imitation My Chemical Romance Black Parade jackets, also feels a little ‘done to death in the early 2000s’.

The real fun soon begins when Panic! At The Disco take to the stage, which is decorated in the style of a mad scientist’s workshop. Uplifting opener ‘Ready To Go’ is bouncier than Tigger on a trampoline and early tracks 'I Write Sins…' and 'The Only Difference…' seem to be given a new lease of life alongside the new material. There is a nice mixture of tracks from the first and latest album in tonight’s set, although very little from the more folky second album ‘Pretty. Odd.’ – perhaps due to its disappointing critical reception. However ‘Nine In The Afternoon’ and ‘That Green Gentleman’ do make an appearance and the crowd seem more than happy to sing along. The supurb and underrated ‘New Perspective’ – written for the soundtrack of lesbian vampire flick Jennifer’s Body - is also given an airing by the Las Vegas rockers. Brendon Urie proves himself to be a fantastic showman, with back flips off the drum riser and bizarre monologues between songs, some of which become a little cringeworthy. For example, there is evident shuffling of feet and embarrassed faces when Urie announces that ‘Lying Is The Most Fun…’ is about "fucking people you don’t know" to a crowd consisting predominantly of young teenagers supervised by their parents.

The most bizarre thing about tonight’s set though, is Brendon’s high-pitched metal screams which he throws in at various points during the night. At first they seem to be the frontman’s way of showing off his already incredible voice, however it is soon revealed that this is a warm up for their impressive cover of The Darkness’ ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’. Closing the set with the huge choruses of ‘Nearly Witches’, Panic! At The Disco have succeeded in providing tonight’s crowd with a good ol’ fashioned and unashamed bit of fun. 

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