I last mentioned Paramore when I reviewed their latest studio album back in April and since then, they have been on the road, playing the appropriately named Self-Titled Tour to the album, Paramore.
Playing to a sold out Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, the trio followed two support acts – both of whom were surprisingly enjoyable. Eliza and the Bear played a brilliant, energetic set which built up the excitement for Paramore brilliantly. The crowd were also highly appreciative of their set and cheered them on enthusiastically, a clear winner all round. Following Eliza and the Bear was relative newcomer Charlie XCX. Best known for her guest vocals on the Icona Pop summer anthem ‘I Love It’, there were several murmurs through the audience, questioning who she was. Her set itself was slightly too long, and would have best ended after her performance of the song which made her. Despite this, it did increase the excitement and energy in the room for the main act.
After an agonizing wait, the opening notes of the first track came rumbling from behind the curtain and as it came down we were mesmerised by an enormous, luminous model of the band’s emblem, which was hanging from the roof. This was a clever set piece which changed its appearance depending on the tone and mood of the song which was playing. Our attention was then drawn to frontwoman Hayley Williams who, in my opinion, was looking more than a little thin. She quickly launched herself into a full-on rendition of ‘Grow Up’, prancing around the stage with spritely energy which was exactly what one would expect from a band of such calibre.
The set list was comprised of a brilliant mix of new material and crowd favourites from the entirety of their back catalogue, including ‘Pressure’ from their debut All We Know Is Falling, which I found refreshing. It’s a fantastic album which seems to have been overshadowed by its follow up Riot!. Speaking of which, the selections they played from that album went down very well indeed.
My favourite thing about the gig, though, was just how much the audience absolutely loved it. There was not one moment throughout the show that someone wasn’t singing, so I didn’t have to feel awkward that I would be belting out the tunes like the ultimate fanboi I usually am. In light of this, Williams was not shy of encouraging and supporting the crowd, offering her mic out to the audience at multiple points throughout the show. The most fantastic moment came when she asked a member of the audience up on stage and if they thought “they could sing it [the ‘Misery Business’ bridge], better than her…”. Ultimately, she chose a male member of the audience because she liked their headband. It was highly amusing watching the guy rock out with Hayley Williams in front of a sold out Motorpoint Arena – not least because he couldn’t quite sing in tune, but also he was more than a little overwhelmed. It definitely should have been me.
There was a beautiful mash up of ‘In The Mourning’/’Landslide’ which, like ‘Last Hope’ and ‘When It Rains’, offers some respite from the high impact, high energy set of the tour. The thing about this mash-up, though, is that it showcases Williams’ vocal versatility wonderfully with its country edge a stark contrast to the up-tempo rock-focus that the band, and Williams in particular, usually focus on.
All in all, this was nothing if not the ultimate gig. It was well rehearsed, cohesive and energetic and kept true to what Paramore know and do best – rock out, inviting the entire audience to join them as they did so. For anyone who has yet to see this band live, I urge you to do so at the next available opportunity. You will not be disappointed.
Paramore is available now.