Say what you want about Ryan Ross, but the man is doing what he wants, his way and on his terms. From the wreckage of his climactic fallout with Panic at the Disco, he has crafted The Young Veins, a bristling, sun-drenched ode to 1970s California pop. Appearing at Irving Plaza, in support of fellow Californians Rooney, Ross and his band mates seemed entirely comfortable and at ease on the big stage, barreling through a 40-minute set with nary a flaw. Though it was certainly sleepy and even a bit too stoic at times, inspired numbers like "Cape Town," and "Defiance" revealed a confidence and professionalism that was both uplifting and unexpected.
That's not to say there weren't limp moments. "Take a Vacation," and "Dangerous Blues," certainly left a lot to be desired, but thankfully Nick White's lilting keyboards added a density to nearly all of the 10 songs played. While the Take a Vacation songs were indeed engaging, the band sounded the most at ease on a sterling cover of Jackie DeShannon's "Walk in the Room." Perhaps even more impressive was Ross himself, who was humble, polite and completely without pretense. In many ways, watching him perform with his new band mates was refreshing. He seemed entirely in his element and never as if he was out to impress. He was just a singer belting out his stories.
While it may be an unpopular opinion, attitude and approach sometimes make all the difference and with The Young Veins everything about their presence feels mature, refined and deeply felt. Sure it might not be for everyone, but at least it's an honest reflection of the inherent musicians that they are.. In the end, can an audience really ask for much more?