Nov 17, 2007

The Panics/Whitley @ The Annandale Hotel

The Panics show Friday night at the Annandale Hotel was sold out and well received. On the back of their recent excellent album "Cruel Guards" they seem to have garnered some more fans. Their performance was tight and polished, full of warmth and humour. But somehow, for some reason I can't explain, their performance never rose above being very good. I guess I can't always expect greatness at every show I attend. So, I should be satisfied with a very good band playing a well chosen set of their best material. They played a mix of older material and songs from the new album, alternating between each through out the night. I would have to say that the newer songs are my favourites, particularly the sweet sounding "Ruins" and the epic "Cruel Guards". I did feel a close similarity between a lot of the songs, which maybe was a reason I didn't feel the night was elevated to a special level. Naturally they closed with their single "Don't Fight It" which was a real crowd pleaser. Jae Leffer's vocals were impressive, as was his musicianship, deftly switching from keyboards to guitar through out the night. The other members of the band were impressive too, never missing a beat and joining in on vocals through out the set. An enjoyable performance from an experienced and talented Australian band. A good night, just not great.

Support act was Whitley. Well support in name only, as this was the main reason for going. As you might be aware, I have been greatly charmed by his debut album "The Submarine" this year. And I have enjoyed each of his live performances that I have caught this year. Friday night was no different. Despite some technical problems, mainly with the lead guitar, the band showed off their growing prowess as a band. Effortlessly switching from full out rock jams to sweet pop numbers to hushed ballads to country like swing, they impressed greatly. All in support of Lawrence's powerful and soulful voice. Impressive songs were the much played "Lost in Time" and "I Remember", plus the perhaps lesser known "A Shot to the Stars" and the gorgeous "More Than Life". Also welcome, done solo, was the heavenly cover of Bjork' s "Hyper Ballad". Unfortunately the old bugbear of a rude and talkative crowd raised its head. For all those paying attention there seemed to be as many talking loudly and making phone calls. I guess it's a thing we have to put up with these days, but it annoys the hell out of me. I think next time I catch this band it will be their own show in a small and more intimate venue.


  • At November 17, 2007 , Anonymous geoff said...

    I was at the Thursday show, and without having listened to much of the new album, I must say I was quite impressed. Especially enjoyed the Decemberist-esque tracks they got going there. Whitley was great as ever but missed out on the first half of his set unfortunately.

  • At November 19, 2007 , Blogger benjimite said...

    Mmmm agreed with your review of their set in Perth, the lack of a horn to play that hook in 'Don't Fight It' was a let down.

    Cool blog mate


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