Paramore

support You Me At Six + Paper Route + Now + Now Every Children
author TL date 01/12/09 venue KB Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN

It's been a looooong time since I last visited KB Hallen, or any Danish venue for that matter, for a show that had a queue line prior to the doors opening, running pretty much all the way around the venue's parking lot. I don't think there were even as dedicated a queue line when Metallica played in Forum this summer, and if you'll allow me to inject a bit of negativity, in what's otherwise going to be a positive review, people; that fuckin' sucks. The last show I can remember that had a queue like this, on as cold a night as it is tonight by the way, was the My Chemical Romance show, and for all the claims the audience that calls itself more mature than fans of MCR/Paramore, while accusing their fans of being shallow and uncaring about real music, it pisses me off to discover the pretense of such statements, considering how people like that are often uncaring enough to show up 'fashionably' late, missing the support bands, and just assuming 'the position' for the remainder of a show that they did actually pay to see the whole duration of. I might not always see eye to eye with the youthful audience of these mainstream-intruding emo-rock sensations, when it comes to aesthetic theory, but man do I respect their willingness to show up early, in cold weather, cooking up excitement outside while actually giving two shits about the young support bands trying to impress them. I might be getting too old (and too heavy?) to crowd surf as vigorously as I once did, but youngsters, despite your sometimes over the top fanaticism, I salute you. It is your belief and dedication that makes rock shows worth going to.

That being said, I'm happy that my journalist status allowed me to skip your queue (hooray for hypocrisy), not just because I could avoid the cold wait, but also because it meant that I was good, ready and attentive when the first, previously unannounced, support band hit the stage. The stage of KB Hallen which, it must be mentioned, was a venue-upgrade for this show, again showing that people here fortunately DO care about good bands, even if they are American.

Now, Now Every Children

So about that 'secret' support band, they turn out to be called Now, Now Every Children, and I admit, I have never heard about them prior to the show, and as they take the stage, it becomes painfully clear that they are about to play their set under the worst of support-band circumstances. The light is too bright, with no real light show going on, the sound is nowhere near correctly adjusted and nor are the band's instruments it seems. I say band, because while NNEC are apparently a duo (I just learned from Myspace) they bring three or four friends on stage for their live shows. Anyway, under the circumstances, the first song naturally suffers, with nothing truly audible but some blurry vocals and the rhythm of the drums. Fortunately, despite looking like they're only barely legal drivers (stateside even!), the band takes it in stride, kicking into the beat of the second song while instruments are changed and things are generally adjusted, and as such, a musical identity starts to reveal itself. NNEC seemingly swear to a well known post-punk/indie song structure, which maintains a swift beat, while otherwise starting out very mellow and minimalistic, then adding keys and guitars, still subtly, but in layers and layers, until each song raises in a more noisy climax. It immediately makes me think of a band like the Scottish We Were Promised Jetpacks, but due to the airy keyboard work and vocals, NNEC distinguish themselves through a connection to their country's own scene, slightly more inclined towards poppier vocals and electronics as it often seems, at least to this writer. As for the show, apart from some convincing rocking out during the mentioned noisy parts, NNEC are hardly a spectacle. They seem like the kind of band that needs to thrive off a restrained intensity during the mellower periods, and given the boring lighting, the average sound and the scarcity of the audience (most of which is still only just entering the venue), that kind of feeling isn't transferred to the crowd, and without it, it also becomes noticeable to the attentive listener, that the songs do seem to take very similar paths. That all being said, I still felt really good about watching them, as there was an honesty and directness of their appearance, that simply made it feel like you were watching a band that really cared about making a connection with you without compromising the integrity of their music. Honest and interesting, if hardly breathtaking.

Paper Route

Those same things can hardly be said about Paper Route however, a band that comes on with all the subtlety of a singing peacock, at least in comparison. I am immediately annoyed because someone have obviously considered this band a great deal more important, the lights now indicating that a band IS in fact playing, and the sound immediately being much more favourable. I guess that's just the way tours work though, sadly. Never the less, Paper Route are certainly the proponents of a much more engaging sound and attitude, sounding very fuckin' much like Coldplay, due to the vocals mainly I guess, only they are much more electronic and up-beat - Mind you. the myspace tracks do by no means do justice to the force with which these guys pour their stuff over the audience. It's not like they're suddenly heavy metal, they're just so much louder and more - I'd say impressive, but honestly I think it's more accurate to say would-be impressive. Because the truth is that I am hardly impressed, and to this day, I can barely remember more of this show, than the band's singer/keyboardist bringing on a set of barrels or something to bang on for the last song. It's not that I have a bad impression either though, I remember things as being easily enjoyable, only much too predictable and soft for my liking, and Paper Route stand as such, as the band I think I am the least likely to listen to again, after tonights show.

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You Me At Six

Things are about to take yet another turn however, and this time a more drastic one. I'll readily admit that to me You Me At Six are the main event, and looking at the way they own their much too short support set, I don't think I need to explain why they hold my affection. They come on with easily as much energy and engagement as Paper Route, launching into the kind of contagious performance that only pop-punk at its best is capable of. The difference between them and Paper Route being that these guys give off a seamless vibe of being a band that everybody wants to rock out with. Frontman Josh Franceschi is bouncing up and down, crossing the width of the stage and swaying to the beat while easily putting out his characteristic croons, while the remaining band engages in synchronized headbanging and jumping and whatever else you could expect from a band of this caliber. The crowd is engaged and encouraged to clap and sing along, and, realizing that they are hardly famous here, YMAS take time out of their set to play their cover of Lady Gaga's infamous "Poker Face", much to the joy and recognition of the crowd, who seem to be understanding that this is in fact a band they should've known about (I told you so, I really did). Unfortunately though, the shortness of the band's slot leaves a lot left to be desired for a familiar fan, as they choose not only to play "Finders Keepers" last, which is arguably one of their least impressive songs, but also to cut out the awesome ending of new single "The Consequence". Those who know YMAS; just think how sweet it could've been with that ending, as well as songs like "If You Run", "Tigers And Sharks" and "The Rumour". That truly would've been great, not just a good warm up for Paramore, so please YMAS, come back soon, preferably headlining.

Paramore

When it comes to Paramore then, it's hard to argue that much needs to be said that they didn't show beyond any doubt or interpretation. While the majority of the population here might believe that they are a small American band, barely capable of drawing enough of a crowd to justify a show in Vega, the vibe of the venue tonight shows just how wrong those people are, and it is clear that if the band can come on even slightly convincingly, then the dedication of this audience will ensure them smooth sailing from there. That theory is never tested though, because they come on convincingly and then some. Hayley Williams is every bit the explosion of energy both reputation and internet videos would suggest her to be, and her band mates are not below presenting themselves with considerable confidence either. A confidence still matched by the crowd's dedication though, as those who could fear that attendees would only be familiar with the newer material that has seen radio rotation, are also silenced by the considerable singalongs and jumping activity that occurs even during songs from the two first Paramore albums.

As much as Paramore must be sick of this though, one simply must marvel at the appearance of Hayley Williams. First of all, that woman can really, really sing, and with the volume of the show closing in on eleven, her high notes send chills down your spine every time she goes for them. On top of that, there is a reason why every boy with a fringe would pick her as the first choice for the princess of their own personal fairy tale, and no, it has only little to do with the fact that she is pretty and blond, nor the mere fact that she appreciates rock music. No, it is more the manner in which she becomes one with rock music, moving about with all the swagger and passion of the best of frontmen, something which is, sadly, seen all too rarely in frontwomen. Let me explain it this way: Even among countless rock bands and countless rock singers, only very few dudes strike you as the type that just incarnates the music in their on stage performance, and given how few female singers that are in rock bands in comparisons, the same thing found in a girl is so much more rare. Hayley is just that though. Gorgeous, a great singer and the real deal, and if you had a wicked mind, you could possibly cook up the thought, that without her, Paramore wouldn't be all that special.

After all, if you sit at home listening to their songs in your headphones, wearing your illusory goggles of criticism, you easily get the feeling that their stuff is slightly too predictable and poppy for your world to be truly rocked by it. I tend to agree with this notion, but when you watch the band live on a night like this, all such notions are temporarily dispelled, because the band certainly does bring the party. The girls are dancing and singing and screaming, like small girls at shows tend to, but the guys are doing it too, including that buff guy some steps behind us, including the dude in the heavy metal tshirt and the curls in front of us and including yours truly, whose neck is going to hurt after this gig, after having had every muscle in it strained to hit the notes of the likes of "Misery Business". Hayley may or may not be having us on when she repeatedly exclaims that "this show is just too damn good", and the time she takes out to make sure every band member signs something for a fan at the front, between two songs might be a planned trick, but it doesn't seem like it tonight, nor does the band seem like the kind whose shows could ever be connected with the word "routine". In effect, you'd have to be more than the average arm-crossing bastard to not have a good time with Paramore tonight, even if you do notice the omission of variety in their stuff as well as the lack of the kind of complete craziness that goes on at a REALLY awesome show. I bet most people are leaving tonight with a smile of proportions on their face. If they don't then the ethics of Paramore's live performance can hardly be to blame.
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Paramore Setlist KB-Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark 2009, Brand New Eyes Europe

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