With a debut album recorded and tucked away for a June release, Young Veins — the new band from former Panic! at the Disco members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker — played its first show together on Saturday night at The Echo on Los Angeles’ East Side.
The intimate setting made for a packed house fleshed out by familiar faces — Alex Greenwald, Jenny Lewis, Z Berg, Edward Sharpe — and treated to a streamlined set of throwback rock.
Young Veins took the stage in vintage suits and shag ‘dos, looking absolutely Fab Four, even though the L.A.-based band has grown into a five-piece. Ross even wore a classic Rickenbacker guitar around his neck (John Lennon’s axe of choice), surrounded by a cache of high-end gear that looked like it’d been purchased the day of.
But even if it couldn’t live up to the legacy of its apparent Beatles’ inspiration, the new band was more than just expensive instruments and big buzz. Young Veins debuted eight new songs, most of which displayed a keen ear for low-key Nuggets-y pop: short, upbeat rock ‘n’ roll tunes light on the distortion and plenty catchy.
“Take a Vacation,” the pending LP’s titular song, leaned on a fuzzy organ sound for some mild psychedelia.
For “Change,” Ross beat on a tambourine while singing those bendy melodies.
The quintet hit a high point with “Dangerous Blues,” a waltz packed with three-part harmonies and impressive wordplay. “Everyone But You,” which featured Walker singing, was more subdued, but shimmery nonetheless.
In short, the “musical excursion” that Ross and Walker set out on seems to be successful thus far. Separated from its legacy — noticeably lacking is Panic!’s lyrical melodrama and orchestral bombast — Young Veins has legs of its own to stand on. And arteries that are chock-full with the blood of past masters.
“Take a Vacation”
“Everyone but You”
“Maybe I Will”
“Young Veins (Die Tonight)”