Each Panic! At the Disco album has been a different evolution, almost Bowie-like, in which they create the persona and sell it. For 2005’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, they would always dress in suits. Pretty.Odd three years later was like looking at old-timey 30s/40s every day wear. Vices & Virtues in 2011 was more of an eloquent vampy thing (and arguably their most heartfelt and genuine to fans I spoke to at the show).
Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! celebrates their hometown Vegas, not only with the cover featuring the Vegas’ landscape, but also the title being an homage to Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Released Oct. 7, their fourth effort incorporates their love of electronic music in a minimal sense.
Historically, I find that bands with guys in skinny pants spend so much time on wardrobe that they can’t cut it live. Compared to their studio recordings, and as reliant as Panic! at the Disco’s new recording is upon hip-hop touchstones like auto-tune and sampling, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that live, they’re a rock band.
Their Oct. 11 show at The Cosmopolitan was stylistically a cross of neu-new romantic and Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys, vocally reminiscent of Duran Duran’s Simon Lebon, but also rivaling Judas Priest’s Rob Halford when working in the upper register.
Kicking it off with “Time to Dance” from their first release, Panic! powered through a 16-song set, with a minimum of stage banter, or at least that was audible to the girls in the front, who responded adoringly to every word out of lead singer Brendon Urie’s mouth like it was wisdom from the mountain top.
All the teenage girls up against the rails seemed to not only know all of the words, but at times sang louder than Urie, who at times stopped singing and smiled while holding the microphone to the crowd.
The show moved along with clockwork precision for about 45 minutes, at which point, Urie threatened to drop pants and actually got an ass-cheek on the jumbo-tron before the Cosmopolitan’s technicians took it down. Much to the delight of the screamers in the front, Urie performed the last number, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” shirtless and did a back flip.
Overall, the Las Vegas-based band was better than expected, if only performing 66 minutes. Standing on the side of the stage with the member’s parents, feeling the floor vibrate from the crowd jumping up and down in unison, it essentially put me in the mind of a prom night: In, done, and out. CL