Playing a set that seems on paper to be a little inside out, Panic! At The Disco open and close with newbies. Fortunately the opener turns out the one of those strange little bolt on tunes that lead in to something else, and that something turns out to be current single Nine In The Afternoon.
The rammed and mostly under-18 crowd is instantly swept up in the magic and the madness, singing about eyes the size of the moon at the top of their little lungs – and for the entirety of their hour-long set, Panic don’t let the momentum drop.
They’ve made some changes since Glasgow last saw them – they’ve traded in their bass player for a skinnier and chattier model, and swapped pre-recorded synth parts for an extra live band member. The most notable change, though, is that Panic At The Disco have grown from a slightly shaky live band into a truly awesome one that have realised that different things work better live and on record and adapted their songs accordingly.
Brendon Urie’s vocals, if it’s possible, have gotten even stronger – something that is most obvious on his solo acoustic rendition of Time To Dance for which he asks the audience to help him out by singing the synth part (which works surprisingly well). And on Build God Then We’ll Talk he’s doing emo vocal gymnastics on a par with Patrick Stump’s.
The acoustic guitar makes regular appearances in tonight’s set, often in the new songs which have a more classic eighties American rock feel than their first album – but also more unexpectedly as a newly strummed hook for I Write Sins Not Tragedies. And as horrendous as you might think that would be, it works.
A cover of The Weight by The Band proves to be one of the evening’s highlights, and gives a good pointer as to the influences that have led to their new sound. Treating us to five tracks from the new album, the likes of That Green Gentleman and She’s A Handsome Woman occupy a cosy position between old fashioned pop and rock that no other band seem to be filling at the moment. Some might say that they’ve just fallen ridiculously out of fashion, but the positive reaction their new sound gets tonight suggests that they’ve not so much abandoned cool as redefined it.
Closing with Mad As Rabbits, the sea of camera phones record their final snippets for YouTube and the crowd greets the band with one final round of rapturous applause. One final familiar singalong would have been nice to top things off, but given the hour of solid awesomeness they’ve already provided, we really can’t complain.