x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Panic! at the Disco: Live in Chicago

Emo has always been a mystery to those not initiated into its guyliner-and skinny-jeans-wearing ways.

Ryan Ross and Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco.
Ryan Ross and Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco.

Emo has always been a mystery to those not initiated into its guyliner-and skinny-jeans-wearing ways - the preserve of teenagers too bright for the usual forms of rebellion. But in recent years the movement has become mainstream, with the likes of Pete Wentz's band Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance leading the charge. Panic at the Disco, the first group to be signed to Wentz's Decaydance Records, seem to want to escape that pigeonhole, though, as is obvious in this live performance, recorded in Chicago last year. Featuring tracks from both A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, their too-clever-by-half first album, and the later, more successful LP, Pretty. Odd., it is a good introduction to the band. The angular guitar melodies of earlier outings are still there, as are the precocious-teenager lyrics (Nails for Breakfast and Tacks for Snacks), but the addition of 1960s-inspired live Hammond organs indicate the group's new direction. The tracks from Pretty. Odd. are more self-consciously quirky, clearly influenced by The Beatles and The Beach Boys, with some good songwriting hiding there, too. And while the theatrical singer Brendan Urie is not so hot on intonation, his voice is strangely appealing - as are the on-stage and off-stage antics included on the accompanying DVD.

* Gemma Champ