Powerful pop-punks Paramore persevere
Band successfully survives internal shake-up, puts on fiery show in L.A.
By Robert Spuhler
Special to MSN Music
LOS ANGELES – There were signs, if audience members really wanted to see them, of the tough road Paramore have traveled to the release of their latest, self-titled album. The band kicked off their show at the Wiltern theater in Los Angeles with a track called “Interlude: Moving On.” The band's logo, which acted as the stage's backdrop, is three vertical lines – possibly signifying the three remaining members of the band, after founding members Josh and Zac Farro departed, bad-breakup-style, in 2010.
The new version of Paramore that took the stage, though, looked at peace with the tumultuous four years since their previous album release. Once the standard-bearers of mall punk, the trio look and sound comfortable performing in a variety of genres and left the capacity crowd at the Wiltern satisfied that life goes on post-lineup change.
The main reason that Paramore seem able to survive a shake-up, one as radical as losing the only lead guitarist and drummer that the band has known, is the star power of Hayley Williams. It's natural for the lead singer of a band to attract the most attention at any moment (ask any member of acts ranging from Talking Heads to No Doubt), but Williams' boundless energy and magnetism would draw attention if she was playing the triangle from the back of the stage.
However, there's a range to Williams that one might not expect beyond the Day-Glo orange hair and almost raccoon-like makeup. Dropping a ballad into the middle of a high-energy, fast-paced set could test the audience's patience, but the highlight of the show might have been “The Only Exception,” a love song from the band's 2009 album, “Brand New Eyes.” Showing off her vocal range without having to sprint around the stage, Williams was able to show the kind of chops that separate her from her pop-punk competition.
While it's Williams on magazine covers and guesting on rap songs, guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis hold up their ends of the bargain, too. Both are energetic stage presences, both when playing and when interacting with the crowd (or, during the song “Pressure,” when York executed a sort of running front twist over Davis' back, a move coined the “pressure flip” by rabid fans).
Having the rabid fan base that Paramore have acquired over the years certainly helps the band: The crowd seemed to react as strongly to new cuts like “Fast in My Car” and “Ain't It Fun” with the same intensity as older tracks and even non-album songs like “Decode,” the group's effort from the “Twilight” soundtrack. The main set-ending “Still Into You,” the latest single from the new album, got one of the most raucous receptions of the evening.
However, the show ended with the band going back to familiar ground, with “Brick by Boring Brick,” one of Paramore's biggest hits and crowd-pleasers. While Williams, Davis and York seem willing, even eager, to move past the drama of the past few years, the trio still seem to know where they came from.
Keeping up with the energy of Williams and Paramore is a tough task, but Kitten lead singer Chloe Chaidez seemed up to it during the band's opening performance. From climbing the speaker stack to belting out “Purple Rain,” Chaidez led the L.A.-based act through an energetic set to an appreciative and early-arriving crowd.
Interlude: Moving On
For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic
Ain't It Fun
The Only Exception
Let the Flames Begin
Fast in My Car
That's What You Get
Still Into You
Brick by Boring Brick
Photo: Robb Cohen/ Retna Ltd.
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