Panic! at the Disco with The Colourist

Saturday • Bogart’s

click to enlarge Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco
Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco

“A long strange trip” hardly seems an adequate description for the circuitous roller coaster that has defined the history of Panic! at the Disco, the second biggest band to emerge from the monochromatic Las Vegas music scene.

Childhood friends Brendon Urie (lead vocals/guitar/piano), Spencer Smith (drums), Brent Wilson (bass) and Ryan Ross (guitar/vocals) started P!ATD in 2004 as a blink-182 cover band while still in high school. After posting a trio of original demos on PureVolume, Ross and Urie sent a link to Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, who quickly inked the band to his Decaydence imprint. With their signing, the quartet abandoned educational pursuits (Ross quit University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he had begun classes, the others left high school, causing great family discord; Urie was evicted from his parents’ home). Panic! at the Disco had yet to play a single live show.

P!ATD spent three months writing and recording their debut, 2005’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, the set split evenly between Electro Dance Punk and Vaudeville dancehall Pop. Fever sold respectably, placing almost halfway up Billboard’s album chart and at No. 1 on the Heatseekers list, but within months the single “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” topped the charts and the album sold 500,000 copies, ultimately earning double platinum status.

After opening for Fall Out Boy and others, the band headlined shows in early 2006; during a major tour, Wilson was fired and replaced by guitar tech Jon Walker. P!ATD’s sophomore album, 2008’s Pretty, Odd, featured more conventional Pop classicism (evidenced by The Kinks-tinged single, “Nine in the Afternoon”), inspiring a vastly different stage presence, documented on the Live in Chicago album/DVD.

In 2009, Ross and Walker left to form the retro Rock-inspired The Young Veins while Urie and Smith polished P!ATD’s Pop sound with 2011’s Vices & Virtues. After adding bassist Dallon Weekes, the trio cranked out the anthemic Electro/Hip Hop Indie Pop/Rock blast of Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, a reference to the band’s hometown in Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. With Too Weird’s interesting directional shift, Panic! at the Disco seems as elusive and unpredictable as their name’s disappearing/reappearing exclamation point.

PANIC! AT THE DISCO performs Saturday, Jan. 25, at Bogart's. Find tickets and more info here .

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