[Photo Credit: Kirsten Spruch]
If anyone's looking for a Paramore
pro, I'm your gal. Ever since the band released "Misery Business," the breakout hit off of their sophomore album RIOT!
ten years ago, I considered myself a fan.
I remember seeing the band when they went on tour for that record. It was one of my first shows and it was in New Jersey at a venue called Starland Ballroom in October 2007. I still remember exactly what the ferocious lead singer Hayley Williams looked like: bright orange hair (which I was envious of), a contrasting dark green top, suspenders, and her bright orange mic. I guess you could throw them in the emo bag with other similar bands at the time, like Panic! At The Disco or Mayday Parade. They did have those "let me scream at you about how angsty I am" types of songs. But Paramore did something that those guys didn't: they evolved. Much like Williams' hair colors, their music also continued to change, which allowed them to stay relevant.
Exactly one decade later, I saw the band perform live again, this time at NYC's Radio City Music Hall with Best Coast
as openers. I knew Paramore was big enough to fill the venue (it was sold out) but I questioned whether or not they were a "sit down and listen" type of band. Little did I know that everyone there would be die-hard fans, dancing, and barely abiding by the stay-in-your-row rules.
The band opened with "Hard Times," the lead single off of their newest album After Laughter.
Guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro let Williams shine as she danced the night away in a bright gold sequin romper and a baseball cap to match.
Some people tend to forget just how many hits the band has. Almost every song in the set was a single that had fans screaming: "Told You So," "Ain't It Fun," "That's What You Get," "Still Into You," "Ignorance," and "Brick By Boring Brick," are just a few, but they didn't play any songs off of their debut album. They did however throw in a cover of Fleetwood Mac
Before "Misery Business," Williams asked everyone to close their eyes and go back to 2007, when people still texted on Sidekicks and wore yellow skinny jeans. Then she brought up two fans to sing the song with the band on stage. It can get pretty tricky when a band has "that one song," but they executed it perfectly.
is a particularly important album in Paramore's career. For Williams specifically, it was lyrically the most personal and vulnerable, which she told the audience was necessary for the band to create. The songs off the album sounded the strongest live, too -- the band nailed the 80s synths and new wave guitar licks. Williams described them as "happy sad songs" because they sound happy and make you want to dance but really, the lyrics are sad. It was both amazing and strange to see the audience dance while singing, "I feel so fake happy snd I bet everybody here is just as insincere." Although most of the set consisted of danceable pop songs, there were a few intimate moments. For "26," Williams and York sat in chairs in the front of the stage for a stripped down performance with just an acoustic guitar. During this time, and at several other points of the set, Williams talked about the healing power of music and how it will always be there to help us. During "Hate To See Your Heart Break" off of the band's self-titled, the crowd lit up the venue with the swaying of their flashlights. The rule of the night was after we cry, we must dance even harder, and Paramore always made sure we did.