by liam menzies (@blnkclyr)
If you glanced at the Paramore audience last night, having grown up with with the alt-rock outfit during their noughties reign, you might have been a bit dumbfounded at the diversity on display: the Tennessee band accumulated a fanbase of wallflowers who found confidence to express themselves via their music and while these people were here tonight, the number of kids and older fans there was surprising but nonetheless heartwarming.
You could put this down to the band’s shift in sound, something that a lot of bands from this era of pop-punk/emo rock have since done with mixed results, but with Paramore, they’re a band that has adapted and did so for the better. At no point was this clearer than, well, the start of the gig as they hit out with 2017 hit Hard Times, a particular favourite of ours, that immediately jolted the crowd with its funky rhythm and percussion.
While tonight’s pop maestro Hayley Williams repeatedly told the crowd to get their dancing shoes on, the crowd were already ahead of the curve and treated the night as the celebration it was, always finding a spare moment through the setlist to bust a move. Williams wasn’t against joining in either, becoming this metaphysical embodiment of Ziggy and Elaine Benes all rolled into one, displaying the amount of showmanship you would expect from five bands playing simultaneously.
As pointed out earlier, a lot of acts from the MSN era have changed and have often become the Front(Wo)man + Band as opposed to an actual unit which is thankfully not the case for Paramore. Having left the band nearly a decade ago, Zac Farro’s return has not gone unnoticed, his enticing performance on the drums giving a lot of these tracks, especially those off After Laughter, an extra layer of appeal; when it was the golden oldies like Ignorance that made an appearance, it was hard not be hit with a wave of nostalgia as Farro gave it a 110%.
The multi-faceted and extremely adaptable Taylor York also deserves some recognition, his guitar playing often giving the neon glitziness and 80’s glam that After Laughter, and to a certain extent s/t, a much-needed edge while also keeping the ship intact with his rhythm duties. In addition to this, the touring members all helped things to come full circle, allowing these lushly produced songs to come to life in a whole new way.
Undoubtedly the biggest draw last night had to be how much confidence Paramore radiated last night: having undergone various changes, and a fairly major sound one on their last two records, it’s no surprise that Hayley showed her appreciation for those that have stuck with the act through this transition.
As the show started to draw to a close, Hayley gave a speech preceding one of their breakouts hits Misery Business about the change she has gone through personally, at one point making a quip about how “everyone makes mistakes, it just so happens that hers live on the internet forever“. It was refreshing to see an icon of the genre not double down on something and show a great deal of appreciation for her fans by changing, making it hard not to feel a great deal of admiration for her.
Their latest record managed to give their emo roots an appealing lick of paint with songs like Fake Happy managing to deliver personal issues in a whole new way. Hayley may sing about the facade others put up in order to seem fine but last night herself, the rest of the band and the fan were absolutely overjoyed, something that was far too genuine to be faked.