PARAMORE | LIVE REVIEW
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Thurs 11 Jan
Paramore in 2018 is a very different beast to the robust pop-punk foursome who burst into the mainstream a decade ago. The rainbow of emo haircuts are long gone, the lineup has shrunk and expanded again, and the punchy rock guitar that punctuated Riot! finds itself taking a backseat to retro pop synthesizers. This is a fresher, glossier Paramore; a juggernaut rock band that seems to have forgotten what rock music sounds like.
“I hope you’ve brought your dancing shoes,” shouts frontwoman Hayley Williams to a sold-out Motorpoint Arena crowd. She has hers firmly laced up, bouncing around the stage in her Vans like the hyperactive best friend you never knew you needed. In keeping with the distinct 80s flavour of recent album After Laughter, tonight she’s channelling Blondie with permed blonde hair and jeans high-waisted enough to make Bananarama jealous.
Thanks to the bright charm of Williams, singalong anthems like Still Into You and Ain’t It Fun carry the atmosphere of a raucous bachelorette party rather than a grand arena show. The mostly female crowd reaches a fever pitch when Williams pulls a fan up on stage to sing (or rather shout) 2007 breakthrough single Misery Business. It’s no Welsh Pavarotti performance, but that doesn’t matter – the two of them let it all out like two drunk pals at a karaoke bar, the crowd drowning out every word. This, it seems, is the fun that girls just wanna have.
The show isn’t without flaws. The muted response to drummer Zac Farro’s brief vocal stints reenforces what we all already knew: Paramore has always been the Hayley Williams show. Without her fierce charisma at the forefront the show begins to lose its momentum. Zac and guitarist Taylor York do their admirable best, but there’s no getting around the fact they lack the star power of their lead singer. Fortunately, Williams is soon back to disperse her sparky energy, closing with the infectious pop missile Rose Coloured Boy.
“Did you all enjoy yourselves tonight?” Williams asks. The roar of the crowd is deafening. Yes. Yes they did.
words JASPER WILKINS photos RAYMOND BANNISTER