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Concert Reviews:
Panic! at the Disco, Switchfoot combine for a festive night at the Fillmore

21st Century Media/Digital First Media, @GraffonMu

Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013

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DETROIT -- Panic! at the Disco's Brendon Urie was in a buoyant mood Thursday night, Dec. 12, at the Fillmore Detroit.

After all, what's more festive than a) being in your wife's home town during the holiday season and b) having a red bra thrown on stag during the encore?

Mostly, though, Urie and company were the right fit to close Windsor modern rock radio station 89X's Nutcracker concert with a high-octane 80-minute set, sprinting through 19 of Panic!'s own songs plus bits of Journey's "Anyway You Want It" and AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long," complete with falsetto screams from Urie that were piercing enough to blast the mistletoe off its moorings.

The set did, however, establish the strength of the body of work Panic! has established over the course of eight years and four albums. The group has exercised a theatrical bent that occasionally has overshadowed the music, but playing bare-bones on Thursday at the Fillmore, the Las Vegas quartet proved that the songs do indeed hold up, especially when Panic! got into heavy dance-pop mode with a mid-set tripling of "Girls/Girls/Boys," "Ready To Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)" and "Miss Jackson," and later with "Vegas Lights." The group is not without its indulgences -- "But It's Better If You Do" and "Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met...)" were nothing if not gleefully excessive -- but Panic! was most effective when it kept things tight and punchy with "Time To Dance," "Let's Kill Tonight," "Camisado," "Hurricane" and the closing "I Write Sins Not Tragedies."

Switchfoot, meanwhile, used its 45 Nutcracker minutes to make a dynamic imprint on the Fillmore crowd. Following sets by Australian synth-rockers Strange Talk and the Texas alt band Unlikely Candidates, Switchfoot delivered seven of its meaty, meaning-drenched anthems, including "The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)," "Meant To Live," "Dare You To Move" and "When We Come Alive," as well as a cover of the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" that found frontman Jon Foreman climb the Fillmore wall beside the stage and then dive into a waiting crowd.

Foreman also waded off the stage during "Dark Horses," held up at one point by fans as he sang. It was a snapshot of the kind of power San Diego quintet brings to its headline shows -- including an early October stop at the Royal Oak Music Theatre -- and combined with Panic!'s buoyant fun it made for a well-balanced and, yes, festive holiday party.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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