Panic! Get Poppy
After a few hours of very low-key mainstage entertainment from Regina Spektor and Spoon, Panic! At the Disco put an end to that. The young emo/rock quartet didn't have its usual over-the-top stage show but the songs themselves were plenty dramatic.
P!ATD was arguably the most misplaced band on the entire festival bill. It's hard to see the group sharing many fans of the Police, Wu-Tang Clan or the bevy of current hipster favorites. Still, while there were a few middle fingers pointed in the band's direction, their appearance prompted far more high-pitched squeals and devil horns.
Plenty of people took up frontman Brandon Urie's challenge to "make some noise!" during "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," one of the catchier songs that follows the band's formula of wordy-verse-leading-to-soaring-chorus. That led to an unlikely but effective cover of the Band's "The Weight."
Of course the problem with covering that classic song mid-set was that it made the originals that followed, like "I Constantly Thank God for Esteban" and "Build God Then We'll Talk," sound trite by comparison. But the pair of new songs the band played featured some strong pop hooks that might help the band avoid emo pigeonholing and a sophomore slump.
-- David Malitz