Review by Jonathan Bond
28/09/13 Wembley Arena, London
Paramore Certainly Have ‘Grown Up’
It’s easy for me to say that Paramore always put on some of the best shows I go to. With both London dates being sold out the crowd was booming with fans. The vibrant scene around me tonight was full of your typical pop punk individuals with the bright coloured hair, scene style hoodies and skinny jeans with the audience typically being split 80% female, 20% male. A point I raise to you about a Paramore crowd now is; we aren’t as young as we used to be. Whilst there are many 13-18 year olds present it is clear that the band have kept many of their original fans as many were in their early 20’s so I felt welcome amongst the crowd.
First to start off the night were Eliza and The Bear. The set was full of energetic and light hearted folk/rock music, which had the whole crowd dancing along. The band were greeted to a loud high pitched ‘fangirl’ scream as they entered the stage so it’s clear that they already had some fans there. The band was a joy to listen to and really owned the stage with passion and energy. They are a band I will definitely be checking out further! Have a listen to their single Friends.
Next up was synth pop Charli XCX. With a confident start the singer blasted into a full bass pounding set. The sound resembled a very 80s pop feel but with modern day synth sounds to make the music more like a ‘party’. The crowd didn’t seem to take as well to the singer as they had before with Eliza and The Bear however, I very much enjoyed the set as it got me pumped for the night ahead; as support bands should do. The highlight of her set was, to many of the crowd’s surprise, that she is the original songwriter of Swedish duo’s Icona Pop No.1 hit I Love It. So it’s easy to say that when this song started the crowd woke up and indulged in a mixture of dancing and jumping and becoming film makers with a sudden flurry of smartphones appearing in the air.
Next up were the reason we were all here; Paramore. Greeted by the loudest screams, the band started off with the beginning of their song Daydreaming to give that twinkly and excited feeling to get the crowd’s eyes to light up with joy before hitting confidently into the first song Grow Up. I feel this song was a great opener as it was very much ‘in your face’ with the message that Paramore are growing up – as they show throughout their album. They are done with childish drama and are now better than ever.
The first two songs were from their new self-titled album Paramore and they went down well. It was when their hit song That’s What You Get, from possibly their most popular album Riot! started, that the crowd really picked up and went into full fan boy/girl mode. The backdrop had a classy feel to it with white and elegant curtains to give that great contrast of powerful pop-punk music and a grown up twist to leave the audiences gazes in awe. In the middle of the stage displayed the bands current bar logo. This is a simple 3 white bar stripes, which represents the band as it is now as a three piece; Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Jeremy Davis.
The night featured music from all of their albums with a strong emphasis on their current album Paramore and also Riot! with less from Brand New Eyes and only one song Pressure from their debut album All We Know Is Falling. The set list worked well with a mixture of high energy and powerful rock hits such as CrushCrushCrush, Now, Ignorance, Blockbuster hit Twilight’s Decode and Misery Business and the more peaceful and more emotional songs such as The Only Exception, Daydreaming and When It Rains. The set really did hit all the buttons as the band took Wembley through a whole range of feelings.
A particular moment that has stuck in my mind was an inspirational talk to the audience before the band’s song from their newest album Last Hope. Hayley spoke about a hard time in the band’s life (my guess is around the time of the departure of previous members Zac and Josh) where everything kept getting worse for the band and how they felt that things would never get better. However, they explained that by pushing through it, eventually life got better for them and Hayley shared with the audience that if they were going through this themselves that it may all be building up to something much better in the long run and to keep hope. This was a lovely introduction for the song and really showed Paramore’s strong connection with their fans and how easily they can open up to their audience. To accompany this news, it was let out that Jeremy Davis (Bassist) is expecting a baby soon, which was greeted by loud cheers from the audience; a heart-warming touch!
Towards the end of the set Paramore played arguably their biggest hit Misery Business. The song was played with such power and energy that the audience unleashed a second wave of excitement and crazy fan girl/boy attitudes. A regular occurrence has been to get up an audience member to sing the bridge of the song and tonight was no different; Hayley picked a girl from the audience who sang the song with Hayley. My only disappointment was that the girl didn’t sing the lyrics right and didn’t have a particularly good singing voice but I guess it is a bit of a ‘hit and miss’ scenario when picking fans from the audience to unleash their ‘vocal talents’!
The encore to the night consisted of three songs; Part II (being the second part to their song Let the Flames Begin off of the Riot! album) which was delivered strongly and with a great atmosphere before popping onto the ukulele interlude song I’m Not Angry Anymore, which made a cheerful transition into the night’s big end with their most popular song from the new album Still Into You. I was particularly excited to see this song live and they didn’t disappoint. It’s a great song about the feeling of love and this was fully portrayed through this epic ender. The whole audience had an electric atmosphere with smiles all around, which were accompanied by big confetti canons showering orange (resembling the singer’s iconic hair colour) confetti over the audience. I kept some in my wallet for a little souvenir naturally!
It was a brilliant night and Paramore really have pulled through as a band. They have achieved great success and despite going through some harsh times I believe the band is a lot happier now. They seem a lot more comfortable on stage and it’s nice to see smiles on their faces. They have brought a new sound and band attitude showing Paramore are clearly stronger than ever and will in no way be stopping soon. They really have ‘grown up’.