Why Panic! At The Disco Is One Of Rock's Best Success Stories
Steve Baltinhttps://www.forbes.com/sites/stevebalti ... 0588344d71
Watching Panic! At The Disco frontman/mastermind Brendon Urie masterfully work the massive stage at the L.A. Forum in front of a sold-out crowd this past week you get the impression Urie is the type of guy you’d want to hang out with. When he yells to his fans, “I f**king love you guys,” you believe he is sincere.
He is. In person, Urie is a charming, funny, engaging interview, one who smiles and laughs constantly. That natural ease is why Urie and his band have ascended to the top of the alternative world in one of rock’s best success stories. The band formed in 2004, going platinum with their 2005 debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, thanks in large part to the band’s smash hit single, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” That album, at 1.8 million copies sold, is still the band’s biggest seller.
Over the next decade they consistently had success, like 2013’s Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!, which debuted at No 2 on the Billboard Top 200 with 84,000 copies sold. Certainly strong numbers and one that confirmed Panic!’s status as a viable commercial rock outfit.
But nothing in that track record made anyone think Urie, now the sole remaining and only full-time member of the original outfit, would finally achieve his biggest commercial breakthrough on the band’s fifth album. However, Death Of A Bachelor was a surprise smash, selling 190,000 copies in its first week and bringing the band their first No 1 album ever. To top it all off, it was nominated for Best Rock Album at this year’s Grammys.
How does a band reach the top a decade in to their career? There are a lot of factors – the combination of the right timing and the hard work being put into that moment being the biggest. But Urie’s personality, which comes across in videos and in the social media posts he used so expertly setting up this album, was the biggest thing.
All of that resulted in the triumph that was the Forum show, where Panic headlined and sold out the same venue that Led Zeppelin, the Doors and Queen, a band he covers and admires so deeply, have graced the stage. The almost two-hour set, which opened with “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” and closed near 11 PM with “Victorious,” was a masterpiece of arena rock.
As Urie and band worked through both hits like “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” “Miss Jackson” and “Hallelujah” and surprises such as a cover of Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” the production matched both the musicality and Urie’s energy with confetti, streamers, a rainbow of lighting and video screens constantly being updated with thought-provoking and entertaining images.
But the biggest thing is Urie and his sincerity. At one point as Urie expresses support for the LGBTQ movement before “Girls/Girls/Boys,” he yells “Donald Trump can suck my d**k.” In that moment he had 17,000 people feeling the same passion and anger as they screamed their heads off in agreement. Why? Because when Urie says it, in that moment, he means it. That is why after 10 years Panic have reached the next level and why it is one of rock’s best success stories. He is the guy you not only want to hang out with, but the friend you root for.