Tennessee rock band Paramore has been on our playlists for as long as we can remember. Whether it’s bops such as ‘Misery Business’ that are buried deep on your ‘Old Bangers’ playlist, or new and fun material like ‘Hard Times’ from their 4th studio album After Laughter. Paramore certainly has been around for a while, but this hasn’t stopped them from putting on a show to remember.
On January 12, 2018, the three-piece band arrived at London’s O2 Arena with a bang. Crowds queued as early as the night before to secure a top spot at the front barriers inside the concert hall. The masses religiously donned Paramore merch ranging from canary yellow Fake Happy beanies to the trusted band shirt (I copped one myself). Looking at the types of folk around, one thing was evident: we all had a love for Paramore that was not only blazing with passion, it was a love and loyalty which had and could support the band through thick and thin.
The gig started with US band and supporting act mewithoutYou. It was obvious that not many had heard of them before- the concert hall was not yet at full capacity evidenced by a sea of empty seats in the upper galleries, a sign that fans were biding their time in order to arrive for Paramore and Paramore only. A handful of fans were rocking out and singing along to mewithoutYou, and rightly so. It was apparent why Paramore had chosen this band as their European support act, as they mirrored Paramore with their sombre lyrics and ecclesiastical themes throughout. The 45-minute set took us through a journey of powerful vocals, spoken word and some inventive (and interesting) singing and dancing styles by frontman Aaron Weiss. All in all, an interesting experience that left many of us with a newfound appreciation for mewithoutYou.
Paramore made their entry the only way Paramore knew how: with energy. The band kicked us off with Ignorance and ignited lonely hearts with Still Into You. Forgiveness struck a chord with many of us as it did on stage with Paramore. The story behind this melancholy number is one of heartache, disappointment and near-closure. ‘And you, you want forgiveness/but I, I just can’t do it yet/there’s still a thread that runs from your body to mine’ sings Williams. The lyrics are indicative of a tumultuous time during the band’s life as it neared a break up. Members were walking in and out, each time shaking the foundations of the band a little bit more. Williams addressed this halfway through the set, noting that without the fans’ unwavering support, they would not have managed to get through this journey of ups and downs, and ultimately growth. The band delighted us with Fake Happy, That’s What You Get, Rose-Coloured Boy, Pool, Caught in the Middle and I Hate to See Your Heart Break. mewithoutYou’s frontman Aaron Weiss made another appearance for No Friend, too. The stage theatricals and layout didn’t disappoint either. It was colourful when we had to put on our dancing shoes, and appropriately mellow when the song called for it.
Overall, Paramore delivered a show that so many of us had gingerly awaited whether it was our seventh or first time seeing them live. After Laughter is out now and can be streamed on all music platforms.
Text by Naomy Kuma
Picture research by Donna Darafshian; featured image from paramorenews.com.