Paramore Review (Trent FM Arena – 08/11/10)

When I was seventeen, a strange thing was happening. As a teenager in 2007, chances are you were either a Black Parade-er or a Riot-er. The former was MCR’s signature album, epitomising the ’emo’ genre at it’s pinnacle and effectively defining a generation. The latter, however, was an album by a then up-and-coming band called Paramore. ‘Riot!’ was the answer to all anti-emo teens who still wanted some pop-punk to listen to. Paramore themselves started out as an ’emo’ band themselves back in 2005, but went on to create Riot!, which became a pivotal album that bridged the gap between the decline of emo, and the rise of the ‘scenesters’. The band got added publicity with their song ‘Decode’, which was the official soundtrack to the first Twilight film. Last year they released ‘brand new eyes’, which became their most successful album to date.

All in all, this trip down memory lane was an event long in waiting. Myself a fellow ‘rioter’ from three years back, I was willing to make two night runs to get back to Nottingham and catch the band in all their glory. But a friend who had seen them once warned me they were not very good live. Could this band live up to their hype, or were they indeed victims of their own success?

Opening up the night is not B.O.B as expected, but the band ‘Fun.’. They enter out onto a raised platform of a stage. I’m staring at the lead singer’s bare feet for the most part as he prances up and down. It takes all of two minutes for it to dawn on me what I’m in for. Jonas Brothers rip-offs straight out of Disney’s ‘Camp Rock’, playing all the Hannah Montana B-Sides for the kiddy boppers that now encircle me. They dress in 1950s attire, and jump around a little. All in all, they’re just dull. The lead singer asks the audience to sing along, but the drummer is the only one who complies, since it’s only him out of the lot of us who seems to know any of the words. A female guitarist, dressed in leftovers from KT Tunstall’s wardrobe provides the pubescent lads with something to look at. The guitarist stops halfway through a song to re-tune the strings. The singer runs up to him, and sings really loudly down the guitarist’s ear, trying to put on a good show, leading to awkward ducking-away movements and the guitarist strains to hear his chords.

“Come on Nottingham, I know you’ve got hands… let me see your hands!”

Oh p*ss off.

After a short wait, B.O.B enters on, and thus we get the big surprise of the night. His quirky mix of dance and R’n’B hybrids make for some wonderful tunes. ‘Bobby Ray’ has a complete ensemble of backing singers, DJs, dancers and co-performers. The singer swaps guitars several time to show his musical talent – once through a cover of MGMT’s ‘Kids’. He may as well be called ‘Bobby Ray Charles’, such is his passion for wearing shades. He jumps around, dances, and sings with everything he’s got in a show that he gives 100% for his audience. He sweats so much his shades actually slide off and break on the floor. He laughs – he’s enjoying himself too much for it to matter. B.O.B even manages to sing Nothin’ On You, even though the co singer isn’t even here. And, of course, Airplanes is his finale – Hayley Williams acting as ghetto as she can in a puffer jacket, and failing to the extreme, but it’s all in good humour. B.O.B’s energy is reflected by the audience by the time he leaves – everyone is on cloud nine. People next to me say that if Paramore decide to cancel the show now, they would leave perfectly happy.

Then the fabric goes up, and the main event is queued. Girls are crying. When they see my confused look, they explain they’re only crying because they’re about to see Paramore. Then the lights dim, and the fabric collapses. Paramore blast on to the sound of ‘Ignorance’, and quickly screw it up by stopping halfway through the song to introduce themselves as Paramore. Instantly, memories of Emilie Autumn come flooding back with a wave of nausea. You’d expect a shudder of ‘oh dear’ to resonate through the crowd, but no – they love it. In fact, before the first song’s finished, half the front row have already fainted (and that’s not an exaggeration… no, that did actually happen).

So, where to comment first? The two singles from ‘All We Know Is Falling’ are played, and that’s that. About four songs are played from Riot!, and the rest was the ‘brand new eyes’ set list. They asked at one point if anyone had bought their latest album. I felt sorry for anyone who hadn’t. There was a completely out of place country and western song dedicated to their home town, which was quickly followed up with acoustic renditions of some of their other songs, such as ‘When It Rains’. The acoustic set built up the middle section of the concert, and involved the band sitting on sofas and generally not doing a lot.

Hayley Williams is the complete ‘Lee Mack’ as I call it. As you’ll see from the little accompanying video, she asks the audience to sing her songs for her almost every five minutes. She looks tired and bored. Looking back at the video, it seems I’ve caught the best bits. Hayley Williams spends most of the concert walking back and forth, singing the songs without effort or emotion (and frequently out of tune). At one point, she stops the concert and demands the middle-aged ‘Twilight mums’ in the seated area to stand up. Her tone is one of the most condescending I’ve ever heard in a concert.

“Let me. Tell YOU something. YOU. Are at a PARAMORE concert. Those seats are not there to make you comfy. They are there to CATCH you, when you FALL.”

Hayley Williams refuses to continue with the show until the middle-aged women comply. She teeters close to having a full-blown temper tantrum right there on stage. Sighing, the older generations heave themselves up off the seats they’d paid for, realising the arrogant little thing on the stage before them wont back down. Evidently, miss Williams has never heard the term ‘the customer is always right’.

It may please some of you to know that Hayley Williams tripped up during the second song, and also got bottled at one point. Therein lies the heart of the problem of this whole concert – Hayley Williams. The face of Paramore. A woman only one year older than myself, and now a woman corrupted by her own fame. I’m sure she started out genuinely enough, but the Hayley Williams before me now is nothing short of a prima-donna. All she has to do is look at people and they scream. She has become self-centered and arrogant. Self-important. Worst of all, her fellow band mates look bored out their skulls. During one particular moment in the middle of ‘Pressure’, Hayley introduces each individual band member in turn. Eventually, Josh was left to introduce Hayley Williams, and the crowd went berserk. Josh just looked a little sick and angry at the crowd’s reaction. By the way, the famous Paramore ‘back roll’ with bassist and guitarist happened only once. If you blinked, you missed it.

I’ve got to wrap this all up, but you can see where it’s heading. At one point, I felt it might just be that I’m getting too old for this sort of stuff nowadays. Paramore are not at ‘gig’ level anymore, and the stakes are higher. They’re going up against Def Leppard and Rage Against The Machine. It has to be better than this. If you watch the video and think it looks really awesome, I seriously recommend you experience some of the older bands. They know how to do it right. Paramore seem bored with all their songs. AC/DC have forgotten what it’s like to be bored with their music. They’ve been playing the likes of Back In Black since before the majority of Paramore’s audience were even born (not to mention the band themselves!). Paramore was meant to be a concert that signified the end of an era for me, but maybe that era already ended long ago.

But then I think no. B.O.B came on, and gave a hundred percent. I still know good music when I hear it. I still know a good show when I see it. I still know the difference between those that make the effort and those that don’t. B.O.B sweated so much his shades fell off – the only time Hayley Williams remotely broke a sweat was when she went on stage in a coat. Bobby Ray was sandwiched between two rather dull and rubbish bands. My advise – ditch em.

As for Paramore, it was just lackluster. The band were bored, Hayley Williams was on auto-pilot, and you could tell it wasn’t working. Heck, I almost get the feeling the band are about to split up, or go on a hiatus or something. It all rests on the shoulders of the lead singer, who is on nothing short of an ego-trip powerful enough to rival that of Marilyn Manson. She is not up to the job. Hayley Williams doesn’t care about her audience, but nor does she need to – her crowd of kids seem happy, given that most have probably lost their concert virginity to them. Self assured, she tells her crowd:

“I want you to find someone tomorrow. Someone who wasn’t here tonight. You wont be able to speak, but just by the sheer state you are in, they will know… they will KNOW that THEY HAVE MISSED OUT!”

Well, my voice is perfectly intact. You didn’t miss out on much at all. Really. Genuinely. Seriously. So, this is the moment a lot of you have been waiting for, so I’ll just have to swallow my pride, take this on the chin, and make the following statement. Paramore is probably the worst concert I have ever been to. I’ve been to ones where the warm-ups were better than the headliners, but in this case, one warm-up band was crap as well. The best thing about this indie gig was a bloody R’n’B singer. This amounts to this concert just having a whole lot of ‘fail’. No amount of spark-showers or confetti can save it. By the end, Hayley’s got a member of the audience singing the end of Misery Business for her, and I’m just in the local circle pit trying to get some remnants of enjoyment from the night. I do not buy a t-shirt. The show’s one saving grace – it was better than sitting at home watching TV.

6/10

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9 Responses to “Paramore Review (Trent FM Arena – 08/11/10)”

  1. ‘Instantly, memories of Emilie Autumn come flooding back with a wave of nausea. You’d expect a shudder of ‘oh dear’ to resonate through the crowd, but no – they love it’

    explain… im not sure of the point your making here

  2. Kitty! I didn’t know you had a blog! lol

    I saw Emilie Autumn back in January 2010 at Rock City. She got drunk on brandy, she sung all her songs out of tune. But worst of all, she had this annoying habit of stopping halfway through her songs to do… ‘stuff’. Shalott, one of my favourite songs, she played one verse, stopped, talked about her ‘Bloody Crumpets’, then played the second verse, then made couple of jokes about being drunk, so on and so forth.
    So alas, when any artist breaks a song up halfway through to introduce different members of the band, it shows that their show aint really about their songs or their music (at least that’s the way I see it). Madness did all the introductory stuff between their songs – so much more professional :p

    Funnily enough, I gave the EA gig a 6/10 as well, but back then, my reviews were only up on my Facebook boxes, so it’s not on this site.

  3. i dont have a blog was just intrested in what you had say, the comment on emilie atumun confused, her show is mean to be more of a carbret, which involes lots of talking, sad that you did enjoy miss emilie show, but she a very unique taste. i gonna read your review on emile atumun now expect a comment 😛

  4. http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=282255557465

    There’s the link to Emilie Autumn. It’s very similar to this one, as both gigs revolved around a central female vocalist who just wasn’t up to scratch. It was very well-received though 🙂

  5. I don’t think I have ever read something more deppressing and dull in my life.

    Reading it, its almost as if you are actually jelous? It sure appears that way.

    Maybe you should not attend these concerts if you are unable to enjoy them regardless of how good or bad they are. It seems as if you arrived at the concert already knowing what your opinion was of it before you’d seen it.

  6. Not at all, I go to every concert with an open mind. Some musicians just play better than others. My reviews only ever express my own feelings and thoughts of these concerts, but compared to some of the previous bands I’ve seen, Paramore were just not very good.

  7. Paramore in my opinion were amazingly good live. I seen them round about this time last year in glasgow and i came out of it more than happy. They played excellently and hayley seemed energetic and cheerful. I wouldn’t judge the band that harshly on one bad performance.

  8. I feel the need to just state here that Paramore, as of December 18th 2010, have now split up :p

  9. You seem to be confusing being lively and getting everyone to have a good time with arrogance.
    What the hell?
    ‘“Let me. Tell YOU something. YOU. Are at a PARAMORE concert. Those seats are not there to make you comfy. They are there to CATCH you, when you FALL.”’
    Yeah she’s trying to get everyone to have a good time.

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