I’ll be the first to admit that I was originally down on Paramore. I saw them as a flash in the pan scene band that had a decent single and might have a short underground run. But Haley Williams wore me down and won me over after the release of brand new eyes. The band has ditched the scene haircuts, and traded in their pop-punkyness for big riffs and a simply great rock show.
Fun opened the show and surprisingly, they actually pulled off their complexly layered songs live as a six piece band. Their set was short, but they did their job warming up the crowd. Quick tangent: Enough with the drummers who overly rock out with the head banging and raised sticks, over emphasizing each hit. The drummer for fun. was a good player, but he was rocking out way too hard on songs that totally didn’t call for his (over)enthusiasm. Anyways, great band. Expect good things from them.
Relient K came out next and tore through tracks mostly from their latest release Forget and Not Slow Down. I’ve always been a fan of Relient K and they deliver live with tight harmonies and on-stage energy. The best compliment I can give is that before I saw the band play their new material, I wasn’t feeling Forget. After seeing the songs live, I picked up the album.
Paramore took the stage to an airy instrumental intro then tore into “Looking Up,” probably the corniest yet appropriate song. It’s the song that every band who’s almost broken writes. They had some issues, but overcame them and are back even stronger. It was the perfect song to kick off the evening and announce to the crowd (and world) that they’re “just getting started.” The one thing I couldn’t get over during and after their second song–“That’s What You Get” (my favorite of theirs)–was how happy singer Hayley Williams looked. Absolutely glowing. The crowd was insane, the band was rocking and Hayley was belting out perfect melodies with a huge smile on her face. I was completely envious of her for those first two songs. The voice, the reaction, the music, the setting; it was a moment.
For me, Paramore is Haley Williams, and this show proved that even more to me. Her voice is so diesel. She works the crowd, and has a genuine appreciation for her fans. But the boys in the band are just so blah. They fill their roll and provide a solid soundtrack (and songwriting) for Haley to shine over, but they have absolutely no stage presence. Two of the dudes stay on their side of the stage and just head bang in place for two hours while Josh Farro stands stage right with the biggest fucking puss on his face, like he’d rather be anywhere but in front of hundreds of die-hard fans cheering their hearts out. Clearly, he’s still not over Hayley dumping him, despite getting married himself recently. The only time we saw a glimpse of personality from the guys was after the encore of “Misery Business” where they all sort of traded instruments and banged away recklessly like immature teens at band practice. Odd. Sure, the band sounded great and it’s hard to complain about a band actually playing their songs well live, but come on dudes, match the enthusiasm of your red headed leader.
Paramore are at the peak of their game. They have a solid catalog of tunes and they know what the fans want to hear. I highly recommend checking them out of the upcoming Honda Civic Tour. Channel your inner tween scenester and marvel at a future solo star.
What the hell…two more videos of Hayley owning. In a sailor girl outfit. Yes.