Critics called A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out electro-dance and emo and vaudeville, but I heard power pop. In many ways, Panic! at the Disco reminded me of the Nerves, a 1970s pre-new-wave band that may have invented the three-minute melodic blast that would later make bands like the Knack and the Romantics rich. Many of those same critics bashed Fever and called the band’s music irritating and the lyrics overwritten. Still, that debut CD sold double platinum. It was released in September of 2005, and by March of 2006 the band was headlining their own tour, and they’d landed an MTV Video of the Year award.
Perhaps as a result of having spent all that time on the road performing, Panic! At the Disco changed when they followed up with Pretty. Odd. It veered into a slightly matured Eleanor-Rigby-meets-the-Buzzcocks sound. The band members were no longer teens on testosterone, but they still had heroic ideas, and by now they had the industry clout to pull them off. When they played Madison Square Garden during the Nothing Rhymes with Circus tour, that’s exactly what they brought to the stage: a circus.
Panic! at the Disco is another internet success story. Ryan Ross and Spencer Smith started the band while in high school in Las Vegas. They learned blink-182 covers in the ninth grade, and when they wrote and recorded a couple of originals, they posted them online. That got them signed and into the recording industry long before they’d performed in public as a band. Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith are the current members of Panic!, with road-band warriors Ian Crawford on guitar and Dallon Weekes on bass and synth to flesh out the live sound. Now touring behind Vices & Virtues, they have matured even more over the years into melancholy emo dudes, but emo dudes who look on the bright side of things.
Fun and Funeral Party also perform.
PANIC! AT THE DISCO: House of Blues, Sunday, June 19, 6:30 p.m. 619-299-2583. Sold out.