As a group, Paramore has been through a lot since the 2009 release of Brand New Eyes. In 2010, they announced that two of their founding members, the brothers Josh and Zac Farro, would be leaving the band. After almost four years with little more than the occasional single from Our Lady of Neon Hair and her remaining players, Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York are back with a powerful, pop-driven vengeance. They recorded a super-sized (17 track!) album and steadfastly took to the stage on a self-titled tour. The dominant message of both the album and the tour: “We are Paramore.”
Paramore certainly succeeded in re-asserting themselves as arena-rocking musicians last Wednesday, Nov. 27 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. The concert, which began with diverse sets from Hellogoodbye and Metric, in that order, was the last regular show of Paramore’s Self-Titled Tour. Hellogoodbye started the night with a short but sweet set consisting of new material and old favorites. “Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn,” the pleasantly hyperactive ditty that launched their career, was conspicuously absent from the selection. They instead opted to use a synthed-out version of their song “Here (In Your Arms)” as the centerpiece to their performance, cleverly inserting a snippet of Daft Punk’s “Digital Love” as a kind of bridge.
Only a brief pause separated Hellogoodbye’s opening act from the first mesmerizing chords of Metric’s “Black Sheep.” Lead singer Emily Haines soared with a buoyant, rebellious energy, skipping around stage with the music. They didn’t let songs off their latest full-length release Synthetica dominate the set. Haines and the others offered robust, reverberating renditions of “Help! I’m Alive,” “Sick Muse,” and “Gold Guns Girls” and only exited the stage as the last notes of “Stadium Love” began to fade. At one point in Paramore’s set, Hayley Williams openly gushed about Metric, making it easy to imagine Haines as Williams’ cool older sister. Like Paramore’s early work, Metric’s music does a good job of combining youth, femininity, cynicism and a certain peculiarity. Perhaps their presence is best described as a dour game of Double Dutch.
Paramore burst onto the stage with more elaborate mise en scene than their predecessors. Black silhouettes of the core band members occupied a trio of screens in the background as the infectious rhythm of “Grow Up” brought the audience to their feet. Williams riled the crowd with a bout of call-and-response “woah-oh”s to intro “That’s What You Get,” the perfect belt-at-top-of-your-lungs ballad off of Riot!
The band broke up the set with cutesy acoustic interludes, bringing an intimate vibe to the arena. Halfway through the night, Hayley revealed that she was suffering from a strep throat. Luckily, she had plenty of help singing, bringing out a red-robed high school choir to beck her up during “Ain’t It Fun?” (it was) then calling up two members of the audience to sing in the middle of “Misery Business.” Even when there wasn’t on-stage support, the eager voices of concertgoers harmonized with Hayley’s impressive vocals. They were just as loud singing new stuff and deep cuts like “In the Mourning” as they were during classics like “Crushcrushcrush.” Paramore, I’d say last week Atlanta thoroughly proved that, even after all this time, we’re “Still Into You.”