Nine years after their fever-drenched four-night stand here, Panic! At The Disco return to London’s Brixton Academy. Celebrating the imminent launch of their most daring, exciting and best album yet, the band take the recorded high of ‘Death Of A Bachelor’ and run with it.
Recent DCDC Records’ signee Charley Marley kicks things off with an energetic set. Cutting his own tracks with hip-hop familiars, it’s not the comfortable set the room was expecting but through a confident cocktail of infectious melodies, heavy beats and Panic!’s anything-can-happen crowd, Charley’s hard-hitting party anthems see the whole room on board.
As the radio static of their entrance music soundtracks the death of the house lights, Panic! At The Disco take to the stage and launch straight into ‘Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time’. From here on out it’s hit after white-hot hit.
Pulling from every chapter of their colourful career, Panic! put in a set of their greatest. From the timeless stomp of ‘Time To Dance’, through the twinkling abandon of ‘The Ballad Of Mona Lisa’ to the electro ditty of ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’, the band breathe new energy into the already charged classics.
The album may not be out for a few more days and the band’s history is revered but there’s an obvious excitement around Panic!’s first ‘Death Of A Bachelor’ show. Tonight, it’s the new tracks that get the biggest reaction. ‘Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time’ is a smirking challenge to the crowd, ‘LA Devotee’ dances and swells with reckless freedom and ‘Victorious’ is just that. Assured and full of glee, ‘Hallelujah’ – with the entire room already singing every note of the intro tease – sees Panic! pop at the height of their off-kilter prowess. It’s euphoric and wonderful.
Brendon Urie, as always, is the star of the show. Having grown into the spotlight-seeking performer he always hinted at, tonight he’s in his element on stage. Jumping behind the drums for the final flourish of ‘Let’s Kill Tonight’, wailing on the guitar for ‘New Perspective’ and sitting proudly at the grand piano for ‘Nine In The Afternoon’ before a cover of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and a snippet of David Bowie’s ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’, there’s a sense that he, like his music, can do anything and go anywhere. Skipping the routine of an encore because they’d “rather just play some more songs,” the twenty-track set is relentlessly electric.
“I don’t know how I can put into words how I feel about you guys,” starts Brendon at the close of the evening. “I feel alive and I feel awake,” he adds before the electro stutter of ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ kicks in. With the band promising, “I’m taking back the crown,” Panic! At The Disco finally have a track that vocalizes just how big, brash and glorious they are. Ten years in and there’s not a contender in sight.