Live Review

Paramore, The Garage, London

There’s not a doubt in anyone’s mind that Paramore are still, very much, a band.

Photo © Ian Collins
The most remarkable part of tonight infinitely lies in the venue size. Having last appeared on the vast stages of Reading and Leeds – and before that, The O2, twice – the stage that Paramore are about to grace in London’s Garage looks almost cramped. The crowd already inside are wedged as close to the barrier as they can get themselves and there’s not a person in the room who’s not (at least, secretly) bubbling with excitement at the thought of whats to come.

Their first live performance in the UK since finishing up their forthcoming self-titled album, tonight also stands as most people’s first up-close-and-personal glimpse at the band since shedding their previous selves.

By the time the promised stage time of 8.30pm rolls around, the excitement hangs thick in the air, with chants of ‘Paramore, Paramore!’ resounding well before the lights dim. Then, as the three-piece emerge, that ever-recognisable tiny, flame-haired singer appears and the chaos begins. Ripping straight into the brand new ‘Now’, Hayley Williams stomps and dances around the stage. By the time that the chorus kicks in, the crowd are singing above her vocals and it’s already quite clear that she’s not the only one in demand of a clearer future.

The full set itself sees the trio guide us through their back catalogue with true style. Visiting each of their albums in turn – more predominantly their break out second album ‘Riot!’ and 2010’s Number One record ‘brand new eyes’ – along with an array of more recent tracks. Showcasing a handful of numbers from the band’s more recent Singles Club project, we’re also treated to a beautifully simple acoustic rendition of ‘In The Mourning’, which bleeds nicely into the fragile love song that is ‘The Only Exception’.

Other than their quiet interlude, the rest of set is electrifying. The energy is high throughout, and the frontwomanship that Williams displays throughout is unmatched. Guiding her crowd through the singalongs, the clapping, the finger-clicking, she remains charming, albeit a little feisty, the whole set through. The rest of the band are almost remarkable, with the three-piece sounding tighter than ever; joined by an additional three musicians who you can barely make out from the back of the room.

Not even Williams’ speech about bad press is enough to slow the evening down – to a room half cheering in triumph, half rolling their eyes – and, having blasted through ‘Ignorance’, ‘Monster’ and ‘Brick By Boring Brick’, there’s not a doubt in anyone’s mind that Paramore are still, very much, a band.

The encore itself stands a little differently. Moving away from any more rehearsed material, Williams and guitarist Taylor Yorke return to the stage, acoustic guitar in hand once more, to play an impromptu rendition of their Radio 1 Live Lounge cover, ‘Matilda’. Whilst most of the room are, no doubt, a little less than suss to Alt-J, it’s a wonderfully intimate moment, truly worthy of this occasion.

Contrasting entirely, the final two songs of the set are the most boisterous of all: ‘Still Into You’ is a bouncy pop haven that is insatiably fun live and, when coupled with closer ‘Misery Business’, finally makes a lot more sense in the big picture. Running offstage to, self-admittedly, go and watch their stint on the Graham Norton show, Williams jokes that the band have finally made it, but, after this performance, we’re simply left to wonder what they could possibly ace next.

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