Live Review Panic at the Disco, Hammersmith Apollo, London 9th May 2014

If it gets a bit hokey in places, it’s unquestionably powerful in others.

The sign outside Hammersmith Apollo might read ‘Panic! At The Disco’, but if you ask the majority of the (young, predominantly female) crowd here tonight who they want to see, they would give you the same answer: Brendon Urie. Since the release of fourth album ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die’, the focus that has been placed on the band’s frontman has been almost unnerving: Panic! At The Urie, Brendon! At The Disco, Brendon Brendon Brendon Brendon.

And so it proves from the moment the quartet walk out on stage tonight. Sure, the rest of the group are met with cheers and whoops of encouragement, but when the singer emerges the intensity in the audience kicks up a gear and bodies start pushing to the front. Launching straight into Las Vegas lights, the band fire the blue touch paper for what proves to be both an eclectic and deliriously entertaining evening. Moreover, from the first minute you can see why Mr Urie has been the focus so much attention - pitch perfect, full of bouncing energy and leggy dancing, he is a truly absorbing performer.

A fantastic show from a fantastic band led by an almost incomprehensibly gifted frontman.

If an early set smattering of songs from Panic’s debut record serve as a nostalgic reminder of where this band have come from, it is the swelling, floor-shaking chorus of ‘This Is Gospel’ that speaks volumes for where there are now. Donning a guitar (the first of about five instruments he plays this evening) Urie is resplendent in a glittering gold jacket – although his insistence on wearing leather trousers these days is as baffling as any rock folly in recent memory. It’s the singer’s range that is most impressive here though, his falsetto lighting up the room with aplomb. He’s a very talented boy indeed, but you get the sense that he knows it and the vocal histrionics – while undeniably impressive – do occasionally make this feel less like a rock show and more like a musical-theatre try out.

If it gets a bit hokey in places, it’s unquestionably powerful in others; ‘Miss Jackson’ and ‘Nicotine’ both threaten to collapse the Apollo’s balcony while ‘Lying Is The Most Fun…’ sees every hormone in West London flung into the already sweat-heavy atmosphere. This is a hyper well-oiled, pop- rock machine that would probably struggle to put on a bad show if they tried. Even the omission of Ryan Ross-era material like ‘Pretty. Odd.”s ‘Northern Downpour’ (arguably amongst the strongest in their back catalogue) doesn’t feel like too much of a loss tonight.

When the band return for their encore a now shirtless Urie does a backflip off his monitors, the screams of adoration reach almost boy band fever-pitch. But if such moves seem a bit cynical then the effortless pop nous of ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ that follows is enough to soothe the soul of any music snobs. A fantastic show from a fantastic band led by an almost incomprehensibly gifted frontman.


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