Thursday, October 10, 2013

Live Review: Panic! At the Disco album release show at The McKittrick Hotel NYC

>> It was October 8th, 2013 and I was looking for the McKittrick Hotel. I wandered past a small line of people twice before a gentleman in a suit asked me, "excuse me, are you here for Panic! At The Disco?" I said yes, he checked my name off of his iPad, stamped my hand with a sun and I was ushered in to a small lobby-room to wait. There were a handful of us in the room and it remind me of waiting to get on a ride at Disneyland - I have to admit I was a bit nervous, as I've never been to a concert shrouded in so much mystery. Suddenly a wooden elevator door opened and a man stepped out to usher us inside (exactly like the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disneyland's California Adventure). We stepped in with him, promising he wouldn't bite, and the slow ascent to the sixth floor began.

(photo by Chris La Putt) 

>> The McKittrick Hotel houses Sleep No More - the interactive Macbeth experience. Patrons who come to see the show don a skeletal mask that you wear throughout your stay at the McKittrick as you wander from room to room entering various scenes of Shakespeare's play taking place. Needless to say, the hotel has an eerie murder-mystery feel to it that creates a very exciting atmosphere.

(Sleep No More mask I found at the bar- McKittrick Hotel 10/8/13) 

>> We reached the sixth floor and all of us were ushered towards a dark hallway and then through a velvet curtain - and suddenly we were inside. Imagine an old speakeasy - an intimate, foggy, prohibition era club with a small stage and a bar to the left. My first thought was that I had walked in to the "But It's Better If You Do" music video. The lighting is soft and red and there are plush benches towards the back of the club where I take a seat after ordering a drink. The bartender made a point to tell me that hosting Panic! at the hotel is an unprecedented event and that I'm in for a real treat. Watching various small groups of people file in and look around them in wonder and awe, I couldn't have agreed more. The room is scattered with girls wearing clothes matching ever incarnation of Panic's albums, circus themes and shiny, cut jackets complimenting the "old Las Vegas" theme (as seen in the music video for Miss Jackson here) and a surprising number of men rocking Brendon Urie's current haircut (See this haircut in Panic's new music video for "Girls/Girls/Boys" here).

(Brendon Urie in Red- McKittrick Hotel 10/8/13) 

>> I met up with friend of mine who is a sound engineer at the McKittrick Hotel to catch up and discuss the event. We were mid-catch-up when an extremely tall man in a crisp tuxedo holding a glass tumbler swayed over to us. My friend clearly knew who he was and was waiting for the man to introduce himself to me. The man grasped my hand and began to lean towards me, he leaned so close I was sure he was going to fall, right up to my ear and he whispered "Calloway." "Nice to meet you, Calloway," I said, not fully understanding what sort of encounter I was having. Calloway asked my friend what time it was, stood with us in silence for a few moments and then swayed away from us, saying "It was a pleasure to meet you, Sheila." This was all very strange, but it gave me a clue. You obviously never know what to expect at the McKittrick, and that's the fun part. I was sure I would be seeing him later.

      [At this point I have to mention that after talking to my friend for a while before he had to get back to work and waiting for the show to start, Sarah Urie, the singer's wife, for whatever reason had decided to stand next to me. I was internally freaking out, as she is a gorgeous creature and I do so enjoy her Vines as much as I enjoy her husband's, but I totally played it cool. Let this be a testament to how small this venue was - impossible not to bump in to a stranger. And who knows who that stranger might be?]

(Brendon and Dallon action shot - McKittrick Hotel 10/8/13) 

>> Finally the lights dimmed and everyone turned towards the stage, tittering in anticipation. There was brief confusion in the crowd as a lone blue light lit up the bar to the right and there sat Calloway, churning an old music box and singing "Nature Boy" (remember the song in the beginning of Moulin Rouge? "There was a boy...") In between the verses of the song Calloway told a story of how he went to the doctor and the doctor told him he was a strange boy.. At the end of his song ("the greatest thing you'll ever learn/is just to love/and be loved in return.") Calloway announced the band - with a tear running down his face - by saying the doctor told him he was "Too Weird To Live, To Rare to Die!" Which, of course, is the title of Panic! At the Disco's newest album. Perfect.

>> This is my first time seeing Panic! and I have a huge smile on my face as they rip in to "Time To Dance" from their first album A Fever You Can't Sweat Out. The entire set is a nice blend of their first three albums. Brendon Urie's voice has a richer maturity these days, and his range is insane. He added amazing- and very high-pitched - vocal solos in to most of the songs. This show being their album release party for TWTLTRTD! I was disappointed to only hear three songs from the album. Although, the moment they played this is Gospel was beautiful and touching when everyone sang along. Panic! also performed a short hardcore song which the crowd, and I, adored. Brendon Urie is no stranger to the hardcore motif as a regular feature on his Vine channel is "Postive Hardcore Thursdays" (I wonder what it would take to have Panic! release a purely hard-core album addendum a la Fall Out Boy..) 

>> Instead of the typical encore, Brendon let the crowd know that instead of leaving the stage and waiting for us to cheer, he would rather stay and play the rest of the set. Of course, the set was ended with Brendon donning a Sleep No More mask and doing a backflip (seriously- how does he do that?) during I Write Sins Not Tragedies. An epic end to an epic show, to be sure. 

(Brendon Urie with Sleep No More Mask - McKittrick Hotel 10/8/13) 

>> Too Weird To Live, Too Rare to Die (a la Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) is the soundtrack to a "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" weekend. It's a synth - heavy, bi-sexual anthem bearing, dance-till-you-drop power album; and the McKittrick Hotel was the perfect place to host the album release party. Playing off of the secretive and mysterious vibe of the hotel, you can imagine Panic's theatrical nature made the evening a total success. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see Sleep No More (which apparently included acting from Brendon in one scene) but it is a top priority now after experiencing the haunting and honestly, sexy, vibe of the McKittrick. This was an evening I shan't soon forget.

Catch Panic! At the Disco on tour through the rest of 2013 and well in to 2014 - and be sure to pick up a copy of Too Weird To Live, Too Rare to Die! Personally, this album is my new favorite.

Panic! At The Disco "Too Weird To Live, Too Rare to Die!" album release show at the McKittrick Hotel 10/8/2013 Setlist: 
Time to Dance
The Ballad of Mona Lisa
The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage
Let's Kill Tonight
This Is Gospel
New Perspective
Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Head)
Miss Jackson
Nine in the Afternoon
Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off
But It's Better If You Do
Nearly Witches
Vegas Lights
I Write Sins Not Tragedies

Taste The Band - Key Tracks from Too Weird To Live, Too Rare to Die!
Casual Affair 
• Nicotine 
• The End of All Things 

Get Connected

Peace, Love and Family Breakfast.
Yours Cruelly,

No comments: