High-energy performance from Paramore in Manchester, 19th January
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tonight - are genre-spanning, emotionally raw, and captivating. The Philadelphian quadruplet open with the harrowing Red Cow, which is essentially a spoken word poem performed over a complex, gritty tune whilst traumatic white and red lights frantically flash.
With lead singer, Aaron Weiss, performing his on knees - the band are a complete juxtaposition to the happy-go-lucky vibe that Paramore later flood the area with. However, as the folk-inspired The Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie is performed, a new energy fills the room. The lights change to a vibrant teal, and the band's ability to tell stories is at its very best. The fast delivered, feel-good track anticipates the welcoming of Hayley Williams to the stage.
Williams joins the band to provide additional vocals to Fox's Dream of the Log Flume. Before hugging Weiss, and double high-fiving drummer, Richard Mazzotta on departure.
As Williams leaves the stage, the band's dark undertones continue throughout their performance. Tie Me Up! Untie Me!'s powerful lyric, 'I haven't even thought about killing myself in almost a week', rings across the arena – becoming even more disturbing when you realise the original lyric reads 'almost five months', and that Weiss updates the time frame to reflect his real life when the song is performed live.
Although Paramore now comprises of three official members - Hayley Williams (vocalist), Taylor York (rhythm guitarist), and Zac Farro (drums). Their live ensemble includes four more musicians - Justin York (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Logan MacKenzie (rhythm guitar, keyboard), Joseph Mullen (percussion, bongos), and Joey Howard (bass guitar).
Williams preps fans to get their 'tissues’ and ‘dancing shoes' at the ready. After all, the band’s latest release, After Laugher, is known to make fans cry hard, dance harder. Paramore announce their stage presence as Williams bangs on a drum, before kicking into one of their latest hits, Hard Times; which is then effortlessly merged with Blondie's classic, Heart of Glass.
Ignorance is met which an area's worth of cheers, and the realisation that the band have orchestrated a career-spanning set list. Williams performs the generation-defining chorus through a megaphone - adding more depth, and fun into the mix on their second song of the night.
The one thing that Paramore make clear is that they love creating music, and performing it together. This fact is amplified when Williams dedicates Still into You to the band. This showcase of admiration is rippled through the crowd as audience members pull their loved ones close. There’s no doubt that Paramore’s honesty creates a sense of belonging for anyone who sees them live.
'Let's sit and talk, how are you?', asks Williams as she positions herself at the edge of the stage. 'Manchester is our favourite city in the UK to play.' Unlike the many artists and bands who say the same thing every night of a tour, this is meant sincerely. Williams goes onto say that concerts should be a safe place, where everyone should feel like they can be themselves. She recognises that the world is 'crazy', but reminds fans that if they care about the person next to them as much as they care about themselves, that can help to make the world a better place. Then, Williams and York sit centre stage to perform 26, a fan-requested song, 'as a tribute to those caught up in the Manchester Arena attack'. The peaceful, acoustic melody silences the arena as the audience pay their respects.
Williams thanks the Lord that she is not the same person she was years ago, before inviting three fans - Courtney, Evie, and Josh - onstage to complete the bridge to Paramore's emo anthem, Misery Business.
Farro then makes his way from behind the drumkit to centre stage to perform French Class, a song for his solo project, HalfNoise.
It is clear that as the night comes to a close, Paramore are not afraid to cite their influences, love their fans unconditionally, and be proud of the progress they have made.