Gig Review + Photography by Bianca Barrett

Entering Birmingham’s Genting Arena, we thawed our frozen fingers from the chilly outdoors and welcomed Nashville trio Paramore to the stage ready to delight us in a glorious set of synth pop-rock. As the third show of ‘Tour Three’ the city eagerly awaited the promise of critically acclaimed album ‘After Laughter’ being brought to the live forum.

Paramore

Continually fronted by the energetic charisma of Hayley Williams, the flawless vocalist screams passion and raw effortlessness, whilst honing emotion and power. Reminiscent of a delicate wild flower being scooped up into the eye of a storm as she swirls and high kicks her way through each song followed by a sea of curly blonde hair. I like to think that in the future she’ll be regarded as one of the great iconic women in music like Debbie Harry of Blondie and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac.

Paramore’s current line-up includes Taylor York on guitar and the welcome return of fellow founding member Zac Farro on drums. Since being formed in 2004 the band has seen multiple line-up changes but clearly by the masses in the arena the fans have kept loyal to their journey, which Hayley later goes on to describe as a ‘rollercoaster’ and humbly thanks the fans for ‘growing up with them’.

Paramore

Paramore

Shrouded in darkness the band take to the stage for an electrifying collision of drums as their intro, the lights come up and they go straight into lead single Hard Times. Second song Ignorance is a riff-tastic assault on the senses, whilst third song Still Into You is a poppy upbeat track that radiates feel-good vibes. The succession of these three opening songs set a pace which ignite the audience.

Hypnotic geometric patterns project onto stage which reflect the album and video artwork by LA based designer Scott Cleary, these mirrored the electronica state of their new sound, the backdrop was almost as mesmerising as Hayley herself.

Paramore

Paramore

Bathed in a gentle magenta light Hayley signifies the importance of friends, asking: “did you come here with friend tonight or someone that you love a lot” as she introduces a song dedicated to “friends, helping friends, get through life” named Hate To See Your Heart Break. As the opening chords play out the audience, in true concert tradition, light up their phones to create a twinkling starry night around the arena.

Paramore

Paramore

Taking a break to speak with the audience Hayley makes a disclaimer that “the people on this stage tonight, we are not the same people that we were back then. Thank God for that!” This could possibly be in reference to an Instagram comment made few days prior to the gig from a fan that missed the old music, to which Hayley responded “Old Pmore is on Youtube! Whenever you want! But I still promise I will never ask you to be whoever you were 15 years ago.”

Which leads us aptly into stand out hit Misery Business from album Riot! of 2007, this got the best reaction of the night with an ocean of screams and singing that was fed back to the band, whilst chaotic dancing unfolded. To complete the track Hayley brought two fans up on to the stage to sing with her, welcome Sam and Ty. Sam simply couldn’t contain her happiness in being picked and gave Hayley a MASSIVE hug. Ty got straight down to business and broke out the dance moves to rival Beyonce’s… If we don’t see Ty return as Paramore’s official backing dancer for future tours, there’s something wrong in the world!

Paramore

Paramore

Hayley instructs us to “break out your dancing shoes one more time” before bursting into uplifting song Ain’t It Fun, the final track to get our get our bodies pulsing – a perfect round-up to an exhilarating set.

The encore sees Zac leave the drum kit to take lead vocals as he performs Halfnoise’s (Zac’s musical side project) song French Class. It’s a great song that is well received by the audience. Zac and Hayley also smash out a splendid little synchronised dance!

Paramore

Paramore

Hayley then takes a moment to introduce the band one by one, consisting of touring members Justin York, Joey Howard, Logan MacKenzie, Joseph Mullen and of course the brilliant Taylor and Zac. Hats off to Paramore, their touring band and crew, the musicianship, sound and visuals are all fantastic!

The last song of the night is Rose-Colored Boy, an 80’s infused track to wrap up the evening. The band leave the stage at 10:15, a short set at just 90 minutes but a brilliantly entertaining night, leaving the warmed up crowd wandering out into the cold evening once again.

Setlist: Hard Times (w/ snippet of Blondie’s Heart Of Glass)/ Ignorance / Still Into You / Forgiveness / Fake Happy / That’s What You Get / I Caught Myself / Pool / Hate to See Your Heart Break / Caught in the Middle / Told You So / Idle Worship / No Friend (with vocals from Aaron Weiss from mewithoutYou) / Misery Business (two fans chosen to sing bridge) / Ain’t It Fun

Encore: Grow Up / French Class (HalfNoise cover sang by Zac Farro) / Rose-Colored Boy (w/ snippets of Tom Tom Club’s Genius of Love and Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody)

Paramore

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