Pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe
Hot on the heels of their fifth studio album, After Laughter, Paramore play to a packed crowd at the Genting Arena, with only a handful of tickets left in the Gods of the 15,683 capacity venue. Not bad for a Sunday. Not bad for any day.
Paramore are back in Birmingham for one of only five dates on the UK leg of Tour Three, with support from Philadelphia’s mewithoutYou, before heading across the globe for gigs in Australia, New Zealand and South Asia.
And the line up looks strong, replete with Zac Farro (one of the original members who left the band in 2010) and three additional touring musicians making up the Tour Three ensemble. But an even more palpable strength tonight comes from the crowd.
Kicking off, quite literally (as Williams demonstrates her ability to boot you in the face, should she want too) with the first single from their last album – the poignantly penned ‘Hard Times’ – Paramore belt out a set of classic hits from their more rockier albums, alongside a smorgasbord of pop nuggets from After Laughter.
But even whilst delivering their earlier rock fuelled singles such as ‘Ignorance’ and ‘That’s What You Get’, there is a undeniably pop tinge to the Paramore on stage today, something a smattering of the near 16,000 strong crowd might have taken little getting used to. Although some things never change, and by the time one lucky audience member is brought on stage for ‘Misery Business’ the entire arena is joining in and singing along.
Paramore have both a loyal fan base and a chequered history, with the Hayley Williams fronted band changing its line up several times in recent years and steering through some publicly choppy waters. Williams is the one with the record deal, but the arguments over ownership and copyright have spilled off the stage and across the internet since Jeremy Davis first left the band in 2005.
Then there’s their move from rock, to pop rock, to pop, which seems to have been consolidated with Paramore’s latest LP. But the fevour of their fanbase has clearly mitigated any on stage issues or revolving door quabbles, as the energy that fills the Genting Arena tonight stands testament to the songwriting and success Paramore are responsible for.
Plus Hayley Williams is a ferocious front woman, exuding inexhaustible energy as she flits across the stage and talks, with some candour, to the Birmingham crowd. Not least about the “safe little place” she finds on stage.
And it can’t be easy to be in her shoes sometimes (especially whilst head high kicking themselves across a Sunday stage) but Paramore seem as confident as ever tonight – in both their new direction and in the army of fans that will seemingly follow them wherever they lead. Or to the Midlands, at least.
Paramore @ Genting Arena 14.01.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review
For more from Paramore, visit www.paramore.net
For more from mewithoutYou, visit www.mewithoutyou.com
For more on the Genting Arena, venue details and further event listings, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk
For more from SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours, visit www.gigsandtours.com