Rising above Reading's trial by fire

Backtrack to 2006 and Panic At The Disco are playing Reading Festival for the first time. Midway through their set, lead singer Brendon Urie is rendered unconscious, falling victim to a direct hit from one of the bottles which have been hurled at the band by self-appointed 'haters of Emo' since their first song. Fast forward to the present and the band are back, shrunk from its original four members to only two in 2009, now returning with new material. Their pop-punk-baroque [with a dash of emo] sound has now stretched over two albums, ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ and ‘Pretty. Odd.’, now a third a third, entitled ‘Vice and Virtues’, released in March and marking a new direction and incorporation of further different styles.

Urie has obviously changed as he gallops confidently around the stage in tank top exposing his muscular arms, buffed up to keep up the sex appeal, while adopting a tougher attitude which shines through his rampantly ranged vocals and frequent use of profanity of the nature of, “I’m gonna cum in my sleep over this and if you don’t like it then fuck you”. This ethos seems to have worked as they power through a cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Personal Jesus’, the front man screaming the lyrics into the microphone and the crowd of the predominantly younger generation crowd conforming and applauding accordingly.

Their set tears into a backlog of songs from their first album, well known incantations that see a large part of the crowd bouncing up and down to the oddly catchy choruses of songs such as ‘The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage’. The newest additions to their discography also get an airing, ‘Hurricane’ getting heads bobbing and probably many inquisitive as to what the rest of the record sounds like.

Screams rebounded off the marquee walls when Brendon got shirtless for a rendition of ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’, one of the American duo's biggest hits, which ignites a mass sing-along and sense of pride and acceptance on the duo’s behalf. But Panic won’t stop there and, after introducing ‘Time To Dance’, the eruption of applause provokes more bizarre quotes from Urie, such as, “Reading you make me so fucking wet” and even “We’re gonna pull this song out of our ass”, further confirming their play it cool attitude while not allowing past events to deter them in their determination to perform again at Reading untroubled by flying missiles.

Ending with ‘Nearly Witches’, another song of the latest album, PATD now seem to have safely have secured their place in the music industry by bringing key elements to the fore during this vital appearance; ranging from Urie’s impressive falsetto range and eye candy new look to a fresh new record, all tempered with the right amount of attitude to show they mean business this time. This time they rose above Reading's traditional trial by fire so there is hope for them yet!

Words by Abitha Pallet
Photo by Gobinder Jhitta

View a full photo gallery from the Reading Festival 2011 HERE.


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