The history of Paramore isn’t entirely rose-colored. Band members fleeted the ship, drummers left and returned and iconic front woman Hayley Williams – who’s been the key cog through it all – has received a majority of the criticism and blame. In a way, it’s understandable that five musician’s who rose to fame – some before they could legally drive – have faced untying tension in recent years. Yet, this uncertainty that once existed seems distant and forgotten with the current trio of Williams, Taylor York and Zac Farro, as the band that shines in the shared spotlight.
Paramore opened with “Hard Times,” a track that immediately showcased a balance between the three band members and one that reinvigorated the trio’s career back in May with the announcement of After Laughter. The groovy sounds, rolling guitar riffs and bongo breakdowns brought the show to life from the get-go.
Fans rose to their feet with Williams as she danced across the stage. The new pop-ridden tune sounded fresh and the band’s enthusiasm to perform the new track sparkled in the pink and blue stage lights.
Photos by Jared Allen
While After Laughter is deceivingly dark in the lyrics, Paramore only allows the light to shine through, hiding the deeper meaning behind joyous melodies and smiles. Happiness is spun from lyrics like “For all I know, the best is over and the worst is yet to come” and “All that I want, is to wake up fine.” Between songs, fans wave signs at the band and cheers of “I love you Hayley” ring out in the audience. If anyone in the crowd was feeling fake happy, they did a poor job of hiding it.
Paramore pairs their newfound pop missiles with punk-rock ballads. While After Laughter overflows with cheeriness and joy, anything from brand new eyes and RIOT! shakes the walls of Charlotte Ovens Auditorium. In a way, the arena rock of both albums is too much for the venue, yet in a good way. That joyous feeling that’s felt whenever a new song just rocks is felt with classics like “Misery Business” and “Brick By Boring Brick.” Older tracks feel as lively as ever between each bounce from Williams and each strum of York’s guitar.
The entire show is hit-after-hit, until Paramore decide to switch it up with a cover of Fleetwood Mac and Halfnoise – Zac Farro’s side project. The latter brings the night the full circle as Williams steps to the side and Farro moves out from behind his drum set to the front of the stage. It’s a nice touch, further highlighting a balance that’s propelling the revitalized Paramore. It also helps that “Scooby’s in the Back” is a flat-out great track. But all in all, the new, colorful Paramore maybe is strong as they’ve ever been dancing and rocking through the hard times.