Panic! at the Disco, fun., and Foxy Shazam at the Webster Theater, 5.25.11
I always think of shows in this venue (what we lovingly refer to as The Crack Den) as being kind of high school-y, and I assumed that it was because I’ve only ever seen teenaged bands here, but nope. It’s because it looks a junior high multipurpose room. It’s a little ratty and the stage is small. Somehow, they make the stage settings that looked professional and impressive yesterday now look like the theater department is putting on a show. That or we’re about to witness the world’s most depressing prom.
There’s a point in this show where Brendon runs to the back of the room and plays an acoustic song. Since this venue has no balcony or anything, they’ve blocked off a little slice of the bar that I’m pretty sure is for that purpose. But because it’s the bar, it’s currently surrounded by tri-state area moms drinking beer. This is gonna be great.
Foxy Shazam: Whoa, the teenagers of Connecticut love this band. There is a higher percentage of people excited about this band than there were last night, including three adorable tweenaged girls right in front of me. Since Foxy is a band that just feeds on a crowd, this will be special.
To be shallow for a minute, last night, when we were front row, we realized that with his glasses off, Daisy, their guitarist, is a stone fox. Tonight, Aaron, their drummer, has taken off his shirt, and under his buttonups? Nothing but muscles and ink. Yum.
Last night, Eric didn’t try his famous cigarette trick (simultaneously smoking a handful, then eating them while lit). I opined that it was probably because Panic’s still-magically-teenaged fans don’t have cigarettes to give. Tonight, he tried it and we all watched as one cigarette was carefully passed forward hand to hand. Sad.
During the last song of the set, the knuckle of baby bros up front attempt to start a mosh pit. It’s kind of adorable.
fun.: You can tell that their frontman, Nate, isn’t hip to the idea of opening. He was previously the lead singer for The Format, a band with a ridiculously rabid fanbase (I regularly saw The Format open and then take a quarter of the room with them when they were done) and fun. was headlining the week they formed, so this, playing for people who haven’t memorized his lyrics, is clearly new. Not that there’s not a fair number of fun. fans here, but asking us to sing along to the first song?
Also worth noting that the teen girls behind me, who were swayed into the cult of Foxy, find Nate’s antics kind of embarrassing. He then leads the world’s failiest moment of silence for the Oprah Winfrey Show.
They are very good and rapturous if you’re into them, but they’re not my favorite and this is the exact moment when the heat gets to me, so mostly this set feels unending. As soon as it’s done, I sit down and am soon joined by another dozen people sitting. I’m a trendsetter!
Panic! At the Disco: First, an aside for the teenaged boys dancing like dumbasses and rolling up their sleeves. I love them. I will only have kids if they are promised to turn out like those boys or the tween girls.
The lighting is terrible. I can’t see the band, but I can see everyone in the crowd. The hell?
One of the most interesting things about this stage setup (a sort of Frankenstein-meets-Phantom courtesy of The League of Steam) is lost on a stage this small. Brendon’s keyboard and Spencer’s drums are built into setpieces at the back of the stage. That encourages the “temporary” band members Ian and Dallon to take full range and run around and the audience to really appreciate them. But this is a high school multipurpose room, so the keyboard is free of its setpiece and Brendon is centerstage always. (Oh, I lie. The organ is still in the setpiece, he just needs … more keys.)
The thing I really like about this lineup, Panic 3.0, is the energy, the fact that they all run around, seem to like each other and like us and love playing and it just drips off the stage.
Brendon manages to make it back to the bar for the interlude in the middle of this show where he plays “Always” acoustic. It manages to manufacture what feels like a truly unique, intimate moment even in a huge room.
They break into “Your Body is a Wonderland” and Brendon alters a line to be about copulating with his bass player. To introduce Brendon, Dallon then cribs a couple of lines of Les Miserables. How did Brendon find this boy? (They also treat us to a chunk of “Careless Whisper” and The Smiths’ “Panic,” then most of the encore is “Carry On My Wayward Son.” I love boys who love music and I love love boys who are talented enough to show it off.) Oh, then Brendon sings half of the first verse of “I Write Sins” with his face pressed against Dallon’s. Dallon seems slightly more tolerant of the gay than Ryan Ross was and the fangirls eat it up equally.
The Verdict: This is one of the few shows in the last few years where I haven’t thought once about the time, about getting home to sleep, about the way my feet hurt or anything. I would stay in this room forever. And the best part is that this is the first week of the tour, so if you don’t have tickets, you still have time! Do it!