Paramore

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author LF date 12/07/17 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Since Paramore was in Denmark last in 2013, a lot of changes have happened for the band. From the trio of Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Jeremy Davis who released their self-titled album in 2013, the band was soon reduced to a duo when Davis left, and then again became a trio when old drummer Zac Farro rejoined them after several years away. All this has been leading up to the release of this year's "After Laughter" that changes their musical style even further away from their original punk-influenced alternative rock sound. Despite the changes in style and line-up, they still have a lot of loyal fans in Denmark as this sold-out show proves, and even though the doors opened a full two hours before the band was announced to go on stage, the line extended around the building for most of that time. They have brought no support band with them for this visit so instead, we are in for about an hour and a half of Paramore - not bad at all.

Paramore

The band enters the stage calmly to screams and applause from the audience before they delve right into "Told You So" from the new album. Apart from Farro on drums and York on guitar, the band has a percussionist, a bassist and two extra guitarists with them tonight, one of which changes to synths from time to time. And then, of course, they have Williams in front. The audience is willing to answer her every call and throughout the evening, spontaneous clapping, very loud sing-alongs and repeated yells of "I love you!" directed at her ring out. Despite their insistence through the years that "Paramore is a band", it's hard to feel it at a night like this when the musicians are mostly stationary and concentrated on playing while Williams is on a whole other level energy-wise. The sound is good even though Williams could have been just a tiny bit louder in the mix, and the band plays super tight throughout.

Setlist-wise, the evening is of course dominated by the new album and its new wave and synth dominated songs. "Rose-Colored Boy" and the single "Hard Times" are both delivered in convincing fashion, but the weaker songs of the album do tend to pull out the energy from the show. That said, I am surprised to hear how loudly the new songs are also sung by the audience already even though the levels don't measure up to the reactions during classics like "Brick By Boring Brick, "That's What You Get", "Decode", "Playing God", and not least "Misery Business" that finishes their regular set with the help of a fan on stage and has people jumping so much you can probably feel it no matter where in the building you might be. We also get a rendition of "Turn It Off" to my great satisfaction. "Decode", however, is followed by their lesser known other Twilight soundtrack song, "I Caught Myself", which is really not all that great of a track compared to older singles that they could have fitted in instead. Still, everything is delivered professionally and with great ease, which is of course just even more impressive when you witness Williams jumping and dancing around for a whole set without it diminishing her vocal abilities.

Yet things are not quite as amazing as they could be. While the sound is great, the way the music is presented makes the songs roll off each other kind of mechanically. At one hand, I want to say it is just the mark of a band as popular as they have become that writes a good portion of their songs with the express intent to make them hits. On the other, though, a little more space for or energy from the rest of the band on stage could go a long way towards loosening up the formula of the songs. While Williams is obviously in front of the band generally, there should be nothing in the way of her stepping back once in a while to make room for a guitar or a synth to get to the fore. This plays out a little weirdly tonight when the unavoidable "Zac is back!" section in the encore has him step up to sing a single called "Scooby's In The Back" that he released with his other band HalfNoise earlier this year. Compared with the talent of Williams, he has no chance to follow and it becomes more of a spectacle just watching the two friends party on the stage.

Two other cover tracks take up space in the setlist tonight which is a bit of a shame with a band that has so many good songs in their catalogue that they could have played instead. Admittedly, the choice of songs from Fleetwood Mac and The Strokes makes a lot of sense considering the band's style change and it's nice to get a bit of background knowledge of their inspirations. Overall though, it's hard to criticise a performance that sounds as good and flows as decently as this one and throughout the set I find myself pitying a whole range of other bands I've seen this year who have had to ask the audience to clap or sing along. Watching a band like this instead that has such huge amounts of goodwill with their audience that they don't even have to ask a single time, of course, makes for a show with a great mood and energy. Yet it's hard to feel really taken aback by them tonight despite Williams and the gang's efforts that have her focusing as much on being energetic and fun as on developing her vocals resulting in an impressive but not truly amazing experience.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. Told You So
  • 2. That's What You Get
  • 3. Brick By Boring Brick
  • 4. Still Into You
  • 5. Caught In The Middle
  • 6. Turn It Off
  • 7. Decode
  • 8. I Caught Myself
  • 9. Hate To See Your Heart Break
  • 10. 26 (acoustic)
  • 11. Fake Happy
  • 12. Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac cover)
  • 13. Rose-Colored Boy
  • 14. Playing God
  • 15. Someday (The Strokes cover)
  • 16. Ain't It Fun
  • 17. Misery Business

- Encore

  • 18. Forgiveness
  • 19. Scooby's In The Back (HalfNoise cover)
  • 20. Hard Times

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