Two bands attractive opposites

For a seemingly fickle band, Panic at the Disco certainly inspires loyalty.

The first fan to show up at the group’s Tuesday show arrived about 9 a.m., standing in the cold outside Comcast Arena, waiting for the doors to open nine hours later.

“I would have been here earlier,” said Roya Nourani, 18, “but I had a midterm this morning.”

By 6 p.m., the University of Washington student was no longer alone. About 3,500 people came to Comcast Arena for the Rock Band Live tour, featuring Panic at the Disco and Dashboard Confessional.

The two groups offered a contrast in styles.

Let’s start with the Panic at the Disco, who took the stage last, at 9:40 p.m. The Las Vegas quartet can be tough to nail down.

In January, it subtly changed its name from Panic! at the Disco, dropping that well-known exclamation point. It also changed its sound, from danceable emo-punk to Beatlesque pop for sophomore album “Pretty. Odd.” And it changed its image, trading flashy gold vests and eyeliner for mod-styled suits and, seemingly, make-up remover.

The group started with “We’re So Starving,” a song that finds front man Brendon Urie singing, “We’re still the same band.” The group has changed, though.

The group bounced between old and new material. Early in the set, it played “Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have With Her Clothes On,” a song that urges people to “dance to this beat.” It was a bit hard to leap to your feet as the band strolled around the stage, though. The guys didn’t seem able to take their own advice.

Panic followed that mediocre number with the more tuneful “That Green Gentlemen,” a song with harmonies that leave little at fault, even as they show the group’s marked change in style.

While Panic demonstrated its change from one song to the next, Dashboard Confessional delivered a more consistent set. The group, which went on at 8:30 p.m., is in many ways Panic’s opposite.

Panic can be flighty, but Dashboard is deadly earnest. Panic has smash singles, while Dashboard has steady album sales; four of its last five have been certified as gold. And compared to Panic, Dashboard is a virtual elder statesman of teen angst; it released its first album in 2000, when Panic front man Urie was 13.

Dashboard looked the part of experienced musicians, comfortable on stage. Front man Chris Carrabba wore a porkpie hat and unbuttoned flannel shirt, like some affable uncle who just happened to be singing about adulterous exes.

The group pulled from its sizable back catalog, opening with its hit from the “Spider-Man 2” soundtrack, “Vindicated.” Later, it flashed back to its first album, “Swiss Army Romance,” for the shout-along song, “Screaming Infidelities.”

Despite the earnest subject matter, Carrabba stayed lighthearted, joking about the self-serious lyrics. During one song, fake fireworks exploded on the screen behind him. He smiled. It looked genuine.

Reporter Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455 or

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