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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Paramore review

It’s not often that Paramore takes the long journey across the Atlantic to visit us Scots, but when they do, they certainly make it a night to remember. 

Much has changed since the alternative rockers last visited the country back in November 2010, the most notable being the loss of guitarist Josh Farro and his drumming brother Zac. Although Paramore haven’t released a new album since their 2009 release ‘Brand New Eyes’, the trio took to the stage with several new tracks and a new found energy  to give the audience an experience that they could carry with them forever. 

The main reason that the show was such a success was the fans, most of whom had been queuing up outside the Edinburgh Corn Exchange since 9am in the morning. The majority of fans were already acquainted with each-other thanks to social networking sites such as twitter and tumblr, meaning that the entire day, from queuing up outside to leaving the venue after the show, was filled with relaxed vibes and a friendly attitude. A lucky few of these hardcore fans had won meet and greets and were whisked away before the doors opened to meet the band. Very few bands and artists of Paramore’s popularity bother giving their fans an opportunity to come and meet their idols, so the fact that the band ensure that meet and greets are available for their fan club members on every single date possible is a testament to just how much they love their fans.

Pure Love may be a new band on the alternative rock scene with only a few singles to their name thus far, but they have already supported rock royalty Biffy Clyro, before being offered to open for Paramore. The band is made up of front-man Frank Carter and guitarist Jim Carroll. Most of the audience seemed noticeably tentative about Frank Carter’s jump of genre, seen as the majority knew him as the Gallow’s hardcore front-man, rather than the relaxed rocker that they saw before them. Carter battled through the audience’s doubts however and proved to us all that he has been masking wonderful vocals with his screaming for all these years. The singer wasn’t content with staying on stage however, and had jumped into the audience before the band had even finished playing their third song. It was refreshing to look at the stage and be able to focus on band members other than the singer. Carroll’s expertise was wildly apparent to the audience, as was the touring members’ joy to be playing in front of the sold out crowd. 



Pure Love played nine songs in their set-list, including singles ‘Bury My Bones’ and ‘Handsome Devils Club’ among others that will be released when their album comes out later this year. Although the band managed to win over most of the crowd with their catchy songs, a love for the Gallows and an annoyance over a technical difficulty (some complained that it was hard to make out Frank Carter’s vocals amongst the rest of the instruments) caused some fans to boo Pure Love during the later songs on their set-list. They received mixed reviews post show, but there’s no denying that this band has some serious potential.



Fast-forward half an hour or so and it was time for Paramore to take to the stage. The excitable crowd gave out a loud cheer when the iconic box made its way to the stage. It’s black with the band’s name stencilled in white on the front and is seen is just about every professional live photo of the band. Judging from the crowd’s reaction to its arrival on stage, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for Paramore’s fourth member. The three actual members could be seen side stage, bodies merely silhouettes against the blinding stage lighting. As the drummer (touring member Hayden Scott) took to the stage and began pounding out an infectious beat, you could see lead-singer Hayley Williams and guitarist Taylor York standing by the ladder up to the stage, looking out towards the crowd in a moment of calmness amidst all the chaos happening behind the barrier. As the drum beat carried on, driving the audience into an anticipated frenzy, Hayley began teasing the crowd even further as she started singing “ba da ba ba da ba ba da”, ensuring everyone in the audience that after this epic intro had finished, the band would open with their ‘Brand New Eyes’ hit, ‘Brick By Boring Brick’. And sure enough, they did. Listening to Paramore on your iPod is great, but nothing compares to their live shows. The way they can manipulate the crowd’s emotions with something as simple as an intro or outro is nothing short of extraordinary. The band went on to prove this for the second time of the night by following their opening track with new song ‘Renegade’, fit with an acappella intro that brought the crowd to their knees. 



Even after the first couple of songs, it was obvious for all to see just how happy all of the members looked to be back playing live shows again. Hayley took several opportunities during the show to thank everyone supporting the band, every word laced with honesty and a mutual love for the fan base that have supported them from the word go. Taylor looked especially joyful, and it proved a task to catch him with anything less than a huge grin on his face. Bassist Jeremy Davis was a powerhouse in his performance, with the now famous ‘Pressure’ flip (in which Jeremy does a flip over Taylor) proving to be one of the many highlights of the night.



The band played eighteen songs during their setlist, a solid mixture of songs from each of their three studio albums and the entire collection of last years ‘Singles Club’ songs, available exclusively for download from the band’s website. With the exception of tear-jerking ‘In The Mourning’ (fit with integrated ‘Landslide’ cover), the songs on the setlist were upbeat head-banging hits, a celebration of everything the band have overcome in the past few years, and a small taster of what they will go on to achieve next. The amount of energy each of the three members put into the performance was tiring to merely watch, with the heat radiating off of our bodies proving unbearable for some, who had to be carried over the barriers to safety. But through our synchronised headbangs and blurred boundaries of personal space, there was an overwhelming sense of belonging and unity as a fan base. The way everyone screamed the band’s name back at Hayley when she did her nightly ritual of shouting “WE. ARE…” at the crowd made for a beautiful moment, the orange-haired singer thrust her arms back and threw her head towards the sky, becoming completely lost in the moment before the band played one of their biggest hits, ‘Decode’.



The thing that amazed me most about their performance was the way that they mixed comedy antics (such as Taylor tapping an unsuspecting security guy on the back of the head, giving him the shock of his life, and then just grinning at him as he wondered over to the other side of the stage) with mind-blowing displays of musical talent. Taylor laying his guitar on the ground to play a masterfully abstract solo, Hayley’s acapella ‘Renegade’ intro and Jeremy’s playful bass solo for ‘Hello Cold World’ all managed to astound. Each of the members had their moment to shine, there was no petty attempts to grab attention from another. Hayley even took the time to introduce touring members Hayden Scott, Jon Howard and Justin York. And seen as it is a Paramore show, there was no prizes for guessing that they would close the show with arguably their most famous song, ‘Misery Business’, in which they take one lucky audience member up on stage to sing the final part of the song with them. Hayley chose Jodie, to the delight of the rest of us. Hayley exchanged ’the key to the universe’ (i.e. what she occasionally refers to her microphone as) for Jodie’s Elvis Presley mask. As Jodie sang the bridge to ‘Misery Business’, the audience spurred her along and the members of Paramore merely smiled at the scene taking place before them.

When the show was all over and done with, Hayley took to twitter to describe the night as "absolutely perfect", and I don't think that I could sum the night up any better if I tried.

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