Panic! At the Disco

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About Panic! At the Disco

When Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie joined the cast of the Broadway show Kinky Boots in 2017, it was like a prophecy fulfilled. After all, Panic! had always, on some level, been an excuse for Urie and his bandmates to dress up, to cultivate their inner thespian with as much flair as possible. Even in their early, post-emo days, the band’s music felt like an ornately tailored garment, every square inch fussed over with a care that verged on obsessive. By the maximalist pop of 2016’s Death of a Bachelor, Urie was invoking his passion for Frank Sinatra—with the caveat that one of his first impressions of the singer was the Sinatra-esque sword crooning “Witchcraft” in the animated movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit: A bright, shiny cartoon. Formed by a group of childhood friends in 2004, the band was part of a wave of artists—including My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, whose Pete Wentz was an early booster—who played what was effectively a pop-punk take on musical theater: dandyish and self-consciously overblown, but with a sense of uplift that made them manna for their fans. That Urie had grown up near the Vegas Strip watching stuff like Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group made sense; that the band’s live act eventually incorporated stilt walkers, contortionists, and ribbon dancers made more: Panic! was here to give you a show. Over the years, the group’s sound moved closer to the polish and style of mainstream pop while retaining the kind of high-drama pith that made them fodder for yearbook quotes and Instagram captions the world over. A series of lineup changes—including the departure of original lyricist Ryan Ross and, later, primary songwriter Spencer Smith—effectively stripped Panic! down to a solo project. Urie honed his idiosyncrasies further on 2018’s Pray for the Wicked, joining his Rat Pack and swing-kid proclivities with hip-hop, R&B, and dance music.

Las Vegas, NV, United States
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