The Academy Is... / Panic! At The Disco - Manchester Academy 2 - 19.1.06

The Arctic Monkeys, band for an internet generation my arse. If further proof was needed of 2 bands that had harnessed the power of the internet then you only need to look at The Academy Is... and Panic! At The Disco, two American bands who have managed to sell out the 800 capacity Academy 2 venue through word of mouth and Myspace alone. Ok, the fact that they're signed to Fuelled By Ramen by Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz may have something to do with it as well, but it puts the Yorkshire boys to shame.

Panic! At The Disco, their moniker from a Name Taken and and more importantly Smiths song, have the sort of passionate following which we saw on early My Chemical Romance shows and it's easy to see why. Musically they take from the electro-rock of Head Automatica as much as 20s Charleston music, the pop hooks of Fall Out Boy, the lyrical genius of My Chemical Romance and they dress like Victorian urchins. As Designer Magazine stands near the throng of bodies at the front, in-between the emo choir chatter from the crowd talks about My Chemical who and how this band are the most perfect band ever. It's a lot to live up for but PATD have the outlook of a band 20 years older than they are (the oldest member of PATD is 19, the rest of the band are 18) and have the plan that no one album will be the same which bodes well for the future because their eclectic debut which tonight's set is drawn from squeezes more into it than most bands do in a career. From the electro beeps of "Time To Dance" and "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage" to the pop symphony of "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" and the closer "Build God,  Then We'll Talk" the crowd know each and every lyric. Panic! At The Disco are a truly important band and by the time they arrive back on our shores in April for Give It A Name and a headline tour they won't just be our band anymore, they'll be a band of the people.

The crowd left when The Academy Is... come on stage is almost embarrassing, but by the time they've ended their first song the venue is back to full capacity. It's a fact being debated on message boards across the world about who should have headlined this tour, but if the Academy Is... are losing on the album stakes they certainly pull out all the stops tonight. Wearing trousers tight enough to cut off circulation frontman Will Beckett either has been learning tricks off the trannies of Chicago or he's lost his cock on the flight in. It's not something a 20 odd year old man would normally notice, but when everyone around the immediate area is shouting where's your cock it's hard not to do a Where's willy style exercise.

On record they sound like fellow yanks Orson, kinds of middle of the road classic rock with a pop punk production which makes it relevant. Live their a full blown rock beast who look to the likes of Jagger and Paige for inspiration rather than any of their contemporaries. Their best song "Skeptics And True Believers" gets the crowd going but it's hard to pick out any highlights as they start at the top and never dip down.

It was a bill that put the pending Kerrang 25 year anniversary tour to shame.

Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Kirsty Umback

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