Paramore w/ fun., The Stereo, The Swellers, and This Providence
Wednesday, September 8
Better than: Getting soaked on the long walk back to the subway.
In one of the many shoutouts Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams directed toward her record label Fueled By Ramen—the emo-pop mainstays whose 15th anniversary provided the occasion for her band’s show last night—she pointed out that 15 years is more than half as long as she’s been alive. She’s 22, and in this scene, that makes her old.
If that’s the case, then she seems to be aging well. All night, she ran around stage, spinning, jumping and dancing, holding the audience’s gaze so thoroughly that when her bassist did a front flip in the middle of “Pressure” (the band’s first single, released when Hayley was 16), I barely noticed. The crowd, probably the most excited than any I’ve seen all year, happily returned this energy and offered more of their own. By the first chorus of opener “Careful,” the area closest to the stage had become something of an incidental mosh pit, everyone moving because they couldn’t not, and by “Ignorance” two brief, intentional pits had formed. Eventually, this area became a human conveyor belt, pushing forward kids looking for the chance to high-five an encouraging Hayley.
And her voice, that’s somehow aging well too. With one chorus left in “Pressure,” she brought the song to a standstill and sat down on the box that in more dramatic moments would be used for jumping off, rolling around and standing on, arms oustretched like a mini, red-haired Christ the Redeemer. Last night, though, it offered her a moment to catch her breath and address the crowd. After announcing that this would be the group’s final show of the year, Williams demanded that she not be the only one to lose her voice after the show, suggesting that come morning, “If you can say anything, you’ve don’t it wrong.” If the crowd hadn’t been screaming their approval, I’m sure I could have heard her vocal coach cringe.
Besides this brief interlude, the band only took two breathers: the first, a pair of acoustic songs about halfway through the set; the second, the pause between lighters-or-cell-phones-in-the-air “finisher” “The Only Exception” and the pro forma encore. Of the acoustic songs, one, “In the Morning,” was new to America, the other, All We Know is Falling closer “My Heart,” old. Most sung along to both.
The encore began with the debut performance of “Renegade,” a truly new song that went as hard as anything the band had played at least since “Crushcrushcrush.” (Check the video above.) “Brick by Boring Brick” followed, but was immediately overshadowed by “Misery Business,” a confetti-filled conclusion as predictable as it was awesome, a fine way to celebrate a label that has somehow aged both gracefully and not at all.
Critical bias: Young enough to remember opener This Providence becoming popular at my high school because everyone thought they were from nearby Providence, Rhode Island.
Overheard: Regrettably, I watched the show from the third-story balcony, where all I could hear were screams and power chords.
Random notebook dump: I have no problem with the idea of a Hayley Williams/B.o.B. collaboration, but I would prefer one that doesn’t reduce such a dynamic female singer to the rapper’s generic female foil. (See also: Rihanna/Eminem.)