Panic! ensued at this Fun and Foxy Disco show

Have you ever gone to shows just to see the opening act? Recently, this seems to be my agenda. I went to the Panic! at the Disco concert at the Sound Academy on Sunday with Foxy Shazam in mind the entire time. Arriving early hoping to beat the line I was met with a sea of teenagers who were not only let in early because of the sheer number of them there, but who also reminded me as to why I prefer 19+ shows and the second benefit of ear plugs.

Foxy Shazam started off the night to my extreme enthusiasm and it seemed a larger portion of the 19+ portion of the crowd were there to see them as well. I definitely made my way into the all ages area and got as close as possible to see Eric Nally come out in tight black pants, a flowy pirate shirt, wigs attached to his sleeves and makeup. Alongside him was trumpeter Alex Nauth, and they started out with a really cute 2 part harmony a cappella version of their song “Evil Thoughts” of their most recent self titled album. I was sold from right then, but of course they brought it to a new level for some of the crowd there who haven’t been to one of their shows before and brought out the showmanship at a very large level.

The rest of the band quickly joined them on stage and the remainder of them held the appearance of that of a metal band with the large hair and large beards. Sky White (piano) immediately started jumping all over the places and even standing on his piano and using his feet to play (stomp) all over the keys all the while screaming and grinning at the audience. At one point he even stepped off stage and used the fence between the stage and the crowd to stand on and play his piano over top of the crowd while everyone’s hands reached up to smash the keys. Eric, taking no care at the age range of the audience kept the music dirty and dark just like they are known for and asked Aaron McVeigh (drums) to slow the song down for all the ladies and gay boys and sang the words “I want to see your butthole” in a surprisingly loving fashion.

I think one of the highlights of the show was when Eric asked the audience for cigarettes while singing the song “Unstoppable”. After a short delay several packs and lighters were thrown at him on stage, he lit 3 cigarettes, stood on top of the piano, blew smoke and sparks so you could tell they were lit…and ate them.

Following Foxy Shazam were a band called Fun. They to be honest were a little less showy and I think they should have started the night because they were definitely upstaged by the previous act. Reminiscent of acts like Fall Out Boy and other music that was popular in the mid 2000’s they were definitely a good fit for this tour. I didn’t come out of the set singing along to any of their songs, but I have definitely looked them up online and would see them again. I wish I had more to say, but they just weren’t that memorable, although they did have me dancing through their entire set.

The main attraction came up not too long after Fun closed their set and Panic! at the Disco hit the stage to a loud roar of screaming girls and immediately went right into their song “Mona Lisa” off their latest album Vices and Virtues. All of the band were clad in fancy dressed up outfits and the set was extravagant with giant organ pipes behind them on either side. Frontman Brendon Urie did what he’s known best for and that was switch instruments while singing between all the songs including doing a slow acoustic number with solely him on stage later on in the set. I was waiting most of the set for them to play some songs off the album “Pretty Odd” because I didn’t fall in love with them until they crafted this very obvious Beatles tribute. I did get to hear the obvious choices off that album being the single “Nine in the Afternoon” and the title track “Pretty Odd”. After that they did a good switch back and forth between their first and third albums which have similar sounds. Hearing newer tracks such as “Ready to Go” with the catchy chanting and old favourites that Brendon couldn’t even remember the name of. That song happened to be “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage”.

I definitely have to give extreme props to all the bands for overcoming the Sound Academy’s infamous horrible sound. They packed a venue that is also hard to get to with young teenagers, their parents, and all of us who went through our highschool listening to this vaudevillian inspired twist on rock music, all on a Sunday night. When they came back for the obviously assumed encore and a crowd chanting “Panic!” they teased and started to play the opening riff to Rush’s “Working Man”. Brandon announced he was going to play a song for all the parents, it was not Rush that they played but “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas.

Being my first time seeing Panic! at the Disco live I can say that I definitely got better than what I expected and would go see them again in a heartbeat. Although I still feel that Foxy Shazam should’ve headlined the show.

This article can also be viewed on http://www.hbht.ca, http://www.wenommusic.com and Tunes in TO

Photos courtest of Steve St-Jean

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