Panic! At The Disco: Carling Academy, Newcastle: Friday, April 21

Panic! At The Disco: Carling Academy, Newcastle: Friday, April 21

You can’t help but be drawn in by the bright lights of Las Vegas

Tell me then, Newcastle,” implores Panic! At The Disco singer Brendon Urie, motioning towards his cutie-pie guitar foil Ryan Ross. “Is this guy a fine specimen of a man or what?” The cacophony of pubescent screams that follow are so ear-explodingly shrill, that somewhere, Gareth Gates looks up from his place in the dole queue and bursts into tears. There’s a similarly hysterical reaction when Brendon peels off his jacket. And, when he turns to the crowd and proclaims, “You guys are awesome.” And, after every… frickin’… song! Y’see, emo 2006 is a pop, glamorous state of affairs, characterised by stadium-filling choruses, youthful good looks and Counting Crows covers (hear us “Tsk!”, then see us pretend it never happened). Furthermore, Panic! At The Disco – four stylish Las Vegas teens plucked from obscurity by Fall Out Boy bassist and record label mogul Pete Wentz – are sprinting to the head of the pack.

Yet, despite rock band sensibilities with heavy dollops of sugary boyband pleasantries, ‘Time To Dance’ opens with a chiming metal riff and sees Brendon charge around the stage like a proper rawk frontman. Meanwhile, recent digital single ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ – all ridiculous melodrama and sky-scraping vocals – is like My Chemical Romance with a wink in place of the whine. Yet it’s word-count bothering ‘The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage’, that proves the set’s highlight and strikes the perfect balance between P!ATD’s ’NSync tendencies and rip-snorting punk tunage. Most interestingly of all though, beneath the pop sheen, there’s a cynical sneer to the band’s lyrics that makes Arctic Monkeys look like Junior Senior; ‘London Beckoned Songs About Money Written By Machines’ moans about being “a wet dream for the webzine”, and pandering to the press in a manner that’s disconcertingly self-aware for four fresh-faced teens.

All of which ultimately poses the question: if they’re already this wryly cynical, how are these megastars-in-waiting going to sound after the inevitable sleb girlfriend paparazzi bother/drug addiction/inter-band rucks? Much the same as tonight, you would hope.

Rick Martin