The Panics

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The Panics

Perth six-piece Split Seconds delivered an uplifting set of harmony-soaked folk pop. Not exactly a new aesthetic, sure, but as their touring mates Cloud Control could vehemently attest, skilled musicianship and impassioned harmonies can flourish into something unexpectedly epic. In their performances of Paper Boy, Bed Down and All You Gotta Do, they hinted at something grand.

A white dress-adorned Grace Woodroofe took to the stage with her band and quickly entered into a wondrous musical world of her own. It’s her amazing voice – the most sensual gift of them all – that’s most striking. A voice so versatile that it can move from a gospel baritone or husky croon to a compelling, out-of-the-way holler that overpowers the thundering blues-rock jam combusting around her. Woodroofe’s set ranged from quiet, intimate melancholy folk (I’ve Handled Myself Wrong) to blues-y garage-rock (Bear). To the crowd’s surprise, Woodroofe closed with a fiery cover of Iggy Pop and The Stooges’ I Wanna Be Your Dog. Grace Woodroofe is a star.

It’s difficult to believe that almost four years have passed since the release of The Panics’ third album, Cruel Guards, so it’s fair to say that new music and a new tour were long overdue in the eyes of their loyal fans. Moreover, considering that The Panics have been overseas recording their fourth album with John O’Mahony (Coldplay, Metric, Alberta Cross, Kaiser Chiefs) at Dreamland Studios and Electric Lady in New York, it’s simply a pleasure to have them home. The Panics’ new single, Majesty, is a classic – a political song about Australia’s identity that’s full of memorable phrases (“Who’ll offer those fellas an amnesty? Who’s been touched by Her Majesty?”).

Tonight’s performance showcased an invigorated musical entity armed with a new, impassioned vision, album and live presence. The quintet opened with new songs, One Way Street, Endless Road and Creatures, which all possessed the dynamic, epic propensity of Majesty – indicating further that the band’s fourth album will be a significantly divergent record to its predecessors. A few gems from The Panics’ sophomore album, Sleeps Like A Curse, were included in the set, but it was their excellent third album that dominated – impressively, Live Without, Ruins, Creaks, Cruel Guards, and Something In The Garden have retained their emotional potency. The main set closed with timeless hit Don’t Fight It and Majesty while an encore performance of Get Us Home provoked the sold-out crowd into a spirited sing-a-long. Oh, The Panics aren’t just back – they’re in splendid form.