June 18th, 2011
Loopster Live: Panic! at the Disco with fun. and Funeral Party at House of Blues
What happens when something from the past is actually the future? Six years ago, Panic! at the Disco crashed into the music scene. The album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out struck an immediate, personal chord. That’s something I don’t have to validate to you, but for some reason I keep finding myself trying to explain my affections. Further back than that, Interventions and Lullabies (2001) by The Format (with lead singer Nate Reuss) found itself solidly in my rotation of everyday music.
Somehow these staples of my past’s soundtrack have been adopted by the teens of the world. When I walked into House of Blues on Wednesday night, I found myself coming to terms that I was easily one of the oldest people in the crowd barring the occasional chaperone. Panic! at the Disco, fun. (Reuss’ project since 2009) and Funeral Party came through town with the sole intent of making me feel outdated. At least that’s how I felt when my scream couldn’t near the shrieking pitch of the adoring boppers in front of me.
Funeral Party led off the night with their West Coast punk influenced sound. New and fresh, the band screamed through their short opening set. The fact that most of the crowd had not heard them before didn’t hinder them at all. If anything, they had the most to gain from the show. The quartet’s 2011, debut album (The Golden Age of Knowhere) needs to move copies somehow, and recruiting via live show energy is just the way to do it. By the time their 30 minutes were up, lead man Chad Elliot had run around the entire stage even standing on top of the drum kit for a spell.
But the youthful energy of Funeral Party would soon be outdone.
There is nothing ironic about the name fun.. The music is just that. Delightfully bouncy, vibrant, even giddy, their music aims at picking up any listener out of the doldrums or sending a happy fan over the brink of bliss.The trio of Nate Reuss, Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff along with their band of supporting cast, immediately left me wondering if the crowd here were previously fans or if the sound is just that infectious.
Skipping around the stage barefoot, Nate Reuss revved up the crowd as well as any great front-man I’ve seen. Impossibly unpredictable, there was no telling which side of the stage he would be on next, leaning over the edge, egging on the throngs to sing along. As if they could keep up with his distinctive wail.
fun. hit their most popular song early with “All the Pretty Girls” finding its way onto the fourth spot of the set list. The crowd didn’t really need another excuse to become more involved, though Reuss urged them to become “overly aggressive” in singing along if they knew the words. Closing out their set with “Take your Time (Coming Home),” while the crowd clapped along, a line struck me: “If that’s true, then what the fuck have I been doing these last six years? How did I get here?” A line that most of the kids in the crowd could only relate to grammar school, left me, the man sliding toward a mid-life crisis into a pensive moment.
The crowd upped the ante when Panic! at the Disco hit the stage. Tons of old hits found their way into the scheduled set played against a steam punk backdrop. It was exactly what the fans wanted. Hell, it was exactly what I wanted. It sort of reinforced the idea of P!ATD being a guilty pleasure. Here I was enjoying the music of my past with fans that never grew up. We keep getting older, but they stay the same age.
The theme of the night – showmanship – continued with Brenden Urie’s performance on the mic. Not only that, he added to the overall enjoyment by introducing the lesser known songs. There’s something to be said about knowing your audience. We all wanted to hear the stuff from A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, and most of us need to know the titles of the others. There was much thanking of the crowd for “volunteering to be a part of the experience” and playful banter between those with microphones. When they invited out fun. to sing the co-single “C’mon” the crowd seemed ready to crash the stage. Too many teen idols just within reach…
The set finished up with an unexpected cover of “Carry On My Wayward Son” which just further confused my “is this the past, present or future” question that I had walking into the show. Fortunately, that’s not for me to decide. I get to just sit back and enjoy the music, whether I feel guilty telling my similarly aged friends or not.