Friday, 27 September 2013

'In The Mourning I'll Rise' : Paramore, Manchester Phones 4 U Arena, 20/09/2013


Paramore by Jenessa Williams

The best thing about going to a gig with an average attendee age of 13 is that you can invariably see over their heads for a good view. Cynicism aside, the youth of the audience that turn out for Paramore’s first UK arena show in three years is testament to both the fans loyalty and the trio’s indelible way with a pop chorus. First however, we need to get through two support acts.

Left with the indisputable job of warming up a crowd of people who clearly couldn’t care less about anyone other than our headliners are London’s Eliza And The Bear, who positively ooze gratefulness from every one of their well-coiffed pores. Delivering well-crafted but thrill-lacking potential hits that fall somewhere between Local Natives and Fall Out Boy, they hit the demographic well and leave having gained a good handful of new fans.

Whilst Eliza And The Bear might settle neatly on the line of nice-but-nothing-massively-

exciting, teen sensation in the waiting Charli XCX is nothing short of a revelation. Boasting an all girl-band who have paid a visit to the Robert Palmer Addicted to Love costume shop, she sashays, shimmies and sings with entire assurance: this girl KNOWS that she is a star. Unfortunately and bizarrely, this doesn’t seem like the crowd for her – most of her set is greeted with shrugs and polite indifference, save for a profanity laden romp through I Love It, prompting a disgruntled dad in front of us to cover the ears of his young children with horror. Pop at it’s finest.

It’s telling that Paramore chose to leave their fourth, best album as self-titled, because in tonight's live setting it becomes touchingly obvious that this is their most honest work. Album highlight Last Hope puts frontwoman Hayley Williams on the verge of visible tears from behind her piano as the audience bellow the lyrics back at her. For someone who puts on such a formidable, professional show, it’s a rare moment of vulnerability that reminds everyone that the tiny powerhouse who stands before them is still only 24.

Whilst the show does occasionally descend into smaltzy ‘we owe our fans the world’ shtick, you simply cannot argue with the setlist they have amassed. Twilight anthem ‘Decode’ draws an enormous cheer, as does a rare outing of early single ‘Pressure’, complete with the now obligatory backflip routine from Jeremy Davis and Taylor Yorke. A set heavy with new album material, including the whimsical ukulele skits of Holiday, I’m Not Angry Anymore and Moving On, it runs with theatrical precision, broken up into acts that explore heartbreak (When It Rains), anger (crushcrushcrush) and the ultimate jubilation that comes with latest singles Still Into You and Ain’t It Fun. Still, it is their throwaway vinyl-only track, In The Mourning, that is the ultimate jawdropper. Its little-known status means the hysterical hoards are forced to stop singing along and simply listen, to admire the pain that drips from Williams scale clambering vocals and the gentle, finger picked guitar. To fill an arena with such simplicity is remarkable, but to do so with sincerity is on a whole different scale. Tonight, Paramore have proved that there is a whole lot more to them than dilutable pop-punk and bluster: they are a serious live act.

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