all words: DANA MAHR
all photos: EMILY COHEN
Halloween is a night for spooks and terrors, when the spirits of the underworld can make the passage to the living world. These ghouls then mysteriously walk from door to door, begging for the nourishment they need to get them through until next year, by that I mean candy. But, for a few brave spirits, who can survive off of the candy they steal from others, they make this passage not in search of physical nourishment, but instead find themselves feasting on melodic sustenance. They crowd around the entrance of 9:30 club, waiting to gorge on the musical talents of Foxy Shazam, Patrick Stump and Panic! At The Disco.
Personally, I found the lady bugs and the skeletons of a mixed crowd. There was obviously older ghosts, rubbing shoulders with younger black swans. It is to be expected that Panic! At the Disco would attract the recently dead, or to the living we refer to them as ‘teeny-boppers’ but this new scene of older folks but still not old enough to be the teeny-boppers parents generation, this mid-to-late twenties crowd standing around the bars, that was the most surprising. I thought the poppy sounds of teenage years would disintegrate with age, but the catchy sounds brought on by all three acts was bubbly enough to (sp)boil any Halloween.
However, I love Foxy. Foxy Shazam has been my favorite performance artists since their first album when they toured with Fall Of Troy. If you weren’t there, may the demons of hell have mercy on your bored, bored soul. As with that performance to this, Foxy played to the very inch of their lives. Each musician is a single independent artist equally demanding the attention of the audience.
Fitting to the holiday, they donned costumes even if it was a frown-face drawn on a sheet of paper with the eyes cut out. Although Eric Nally, lead singer of the group, he is something else completely. With his strung-out stage voice and eccentric antics, he turns the performance into a real theatre production by his trademark move of smoking several cigarette simultaneously and then instantaneously eating them.
Interrupting a relaxing break of semi-awkward silence that filled the club, Patrick Stump entered the stage wearing a red tuxedo suit with a black shirt, light-up devil horns and zombie makeup apparently made from baking soda.
He began and ended with a montage of classic pop songs, to which the lyrics could not be understood. But the costumed fairies that swarmed the belly of the music hall couldn’t care less. They jumped to the beat and sang along to every supposed word, even the songs that he produced himself, having released a new album, SoulPunk, a mere two weeks ago.
And then, as if by some divine spirit, Jesus entered the stage to cleanse the lost souls of the newly-risen ghouls, through the trance of song.
Panic! At The Disco was met with screams and cheers directed at the costumed figures as they approached their instruments. The lead vocalist, Brendon Urie, was of course, Jesus. Calling us sinners like he knows it’s All Hallow’s Eve. He kept up the persona through each song, associating titles and meanings of the songs to something Jesus may or may not approve of.
Having been revved up by first Foxy Shazam and then Patrick Stump, the crowd was more than energized, responding to every note with great jeers of honest appreciation. In the midst of the high energy, poppy sounds of the normally emo-associated band, fans could be seen trying to form circles in the crowds, pushing each other in a clock-wise pattern.
They jumped as one, they swayed as one. Puppets to the puppeteer, Urie, or Jesus, commanded the crowd with extreme ease preaching to them from the keyboard pulpit. They played songs old and new, with the help of Panic tour bassist Dallon dressed up as Eric from Foxy Shazam’s “dad”.
Candy or no candy, this show was sweet enough to give any hooligan a cavity.