Posts Tagged ‘band-reviews’

Panic At The Disco

January 23, 2009

Panic At The DiscoRyan Ross (vocals/guitar) and Spencer Smith (drums) attended the same High School in Las Vegas. With a friend Brent Wilson (bass, ex-member) they started jamming together in the evenings. The informal practice sessions soon morphed the group into a rock band, christened Summer League. After a few gigs, the friends reckoned their band’s sound was a bit on the ‘thin’ side, so a search started for an extra guitar player. Brent met Brendon Urie, inviting him along to audition to play guitar. But when it was realised that Brendon’s singing voice was the best of the group, he was persuaded to take over lead vocals. To celebrate their new line-up, a new name was called for. The foursome settled on Panic! at the Disco (the ! was later discarded).

Pete Wentz (see Fall Out Boy Songs) saw PATD performing, and suggested to the band that they approach the Fueled by Ramen label. Pete’s intincts proved correct as the record company offered PATD a contract. The band’s first album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out came out late in 2005. Their first single – I Write Sins Not Tragedies – was released from the album. The single’s video included a mock circus wedding – the circus idea is a constant theme of the band’s tours. To raise their image, the band embarked on a protracted US tour, as a support act. By the end of the tour their popularity had increased to such an extent that they became the headline act. A second single from the album, But It’s Better If You Do was released early in spring 2006, rising to number 26 in the charts. This single is many people’s favorite of all Panic At The Disco songs.

On tour though, the internal squabbling in the band turned from playful to resentful. Eventually Brent Wilson made the decision to quit. This left the group short of a bass for the UK and European leg of their tour. Fortunately Jon Walker, who was a friend from school days, stepped up to fill the role.

The band’s sophomore album, Pretty. Odd came out early in 2008. It reached #2 in both the US and UK albums chart. Key tracks off the album include Nine in the Afternoon and That Green Gentleman.

Best Band’s (from 100BestEverything) ratings for PATD: Music 5 stars out of 5. Character 4 stars out of 5. Live Performance 3 out of 5.

The Fray

January 23, 2009
The Fray

The Fray

Isaac Slade and Joe King were pupils at the  Faith Christian Academy, Denver.  Three years after school a happy meeting at a local record shop resulted in them arranging to meet up to discuss and play music.  One thing led to another, and soon they’d put together a band.  They persuaded Ben Wysocki (drums) and Dave Welsh (guitar) to join them.

The boys all had a common interested: piano, and this perhaps explains why their unique brand of piano rock works so well.  Isaac Slade and Joe King both discovered an early passion for music playing the piano.  King even competed in several piano competitions before dropping it in favor of the guitar, considered amongst his peer group to be a ‘way cooler instrument’. Wysocki and Welsh had also played piano at a young age, but after enduring being sent to piano lessons for a few years, swapped to the drums and guitar respectively.

All four grew up in strongly religious families, and have strong spiritual values. Thanks to their church connections, the group got their first taste of playing gigs at local Church halls.  To begin with, Isaac’s song lyrics were Christian based.  Then one day, when working at Starbucks, he had the sudden realisation that he could sing about the wider world within the contect of his faith.   Armed with a set of new worldly-wise songs, the band started playing local club venues.  Isaac’s brother, Caleb, joined the group to play bass guitar. However sibling tensions obviously ran high, and soon he left citing ‘musical differences’.  Later on Isaac was to say that Caleb’s leaving was his inspiration behind the words for ‘Over My Head’ (a song first titled ‘Cable Car’). 

The band’s name, The Fray, came about after a intelligent decision-making process after a gig at Caleb’s high school graduation dance.  The audience were asked for possible names for the band – several were volunteered, written on a piece of paper, and put in a bowl.  The band members removed all the slips of paper apart from one, which remained at the bottom of the bowl.  On the last slip of paper was written ‘The Fray’.  The name stuck – the boys liked it because that’s the way songwriting often felt!

Two EPs were the first releases from the band. ‘Movement’, which sold well after gigs, then ‘Reason’ which was more successful, with the song Cable Car getting a lot of radio time of the local station KTCL.  A talent scout from Epic Records spotted the potential in the band, and in 2004 the boys signed to the record label.

The group’s first album How to Save a Life came out in September 2005.  Soon after the band embarked on a nationwide tour, supporting Weezer.  Two tracks from the album made it big, Over My Head  and How to Save a Live (which featured on the soundtrack for Grey’s Anatomy). 

January 2009 saw the release of The Fray’s second album,  self-titled The Fray.  The first single to be released from the album, You Found Me went on to phenomenal chart success.

Best Band‘s (from 100BestEverything) ratings for The Fray: Music 4 stars out of 5. Character 4 stars out of 5. Live Performance 3 out of 5.