The second stop on the Truckstops and Statelines tour was scheduled for a much smaller venue, but ticket demand moved the show to a new venue roughly six times larger. Perhaps it’s because The Academy Is… was headlining the four-act lineup, but most likely it was the fact that Las Vegas buzz act Panic! At The Disco was on the bill too.
And while The Academy Is… delivered a solid, catchy and hook-riddled set to close the night, the horde of teenage girls was clearly there to see Panic! At The Disco’s lead singer Brendon Urie deliver retro-dance, electro-pop tunes whose wordy titles are nearly as tedious as a couple of their songs.
After an adequate set by Hellogoodbye and an extremely pleasing performance by Seattle group Acceptance, Panic! At The Disco were greeted by screams of “Panic!” before opening with “Intro” and then the dance-inducing, hi-hat frenzied “The Only Difference Between Martydom and Suicide Is Press Coverage.” With Urie pacing and dancing around the stage, and the crowd thoroughly impressed with the group, even lukewarm dance-friendly tunes like “Camisado” resulted in idol-like worship.
The 35-minute set featured songs from the band’s debut, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” but the biggest highlight was watching drummer Spencer Smith virtually pound his kit into submission. Whether it was repeatedly raising the sticks over his head or delivering fantastic fills on “But It’s Better if You Do,” Smith was the proverbial straw stirring this dance/pop/rock drink. Panic! At The Disco made a quick exit after the winding, almost Queen-like “Build God, Then We’ll Talk.” Sadly, roughly one-third of the crowd followed suit.
Those who stuck around saw The Academy Is… put on a strong, tight rock show, mixing songs from its album “Almost Here” with new material. Walking on to Europe’s “The Final Countdown” and led by lanky, self-assured lead singer William Beckett, the group tore into “Checkmarks,” a guitar-fueled track that opened the 12-song set nicely. Flanked by guitarists Tom Conrad and Adam Siska, Beckett tried to rile the crowd up to Panic! At The Disco’s heights, but even the punchy “Attention” and “Season” didn’t create the havoc for which he was hoping.
Among the new tunes that stood out were Beckett’s solo acoustic “Pour Yourself a Drink” and the frantic “The Fever.” As the show wound down, Beckett thanked Hellogoodbye and Acceptance but omitted Panic! At The Disco. An oversight? Perhaps, but a move also easy to chalk up to showmanship. Because while The Academy Is… is the top banana on this tour, in terms of popularity and crowd response, it’s playing second fiddle.