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.
On Sunday 14th January, Paramore come to the Genting Arena in Birmingham – performing one of only five dates on their UK tour, with support from Philadelphia’s mewithoutYou.
Doors for the Genting Arena open at 6pm, with mewithoutYou on stage at 7:30pm and Paramore kicking off their headline set at 8:45pm. Standard tickets are priced between £34.24 – £48.93 (inc fees) depending on positioning within the arena.
Amplify Hospitality tickets are also available for £135 (inc fees) which offer a variety of perks – including VIP check in, access to the private lounge, alongside complimentary drinks and dinner. As promoted by SJM Concerts, for full gig details on Paramore at the Genting Arena and links to all available tickets, click here.
*At the time of writing no more standing tickets were available. Extra arena tickets have been released by the promoters, but this gig is looking like a sell out so you might want to move a little quicker than usual.*
Paramore have been on the road with their new album, After Laughter, since summer last year – playing six UK and Ireland dates in 2017, including one night at the Royal Albert Hall (…just, imagine, that one). The Tennessee now trio then embarked on an extensive Tour Two of North America and Canada, from September to October, before confirming their Tour Three return to Europe with gigs in Spain, France and the UK from 7th to 20th Jan. To stay up to date with all Paramore tour details, direct from the band, click here.
Released in May 2017, via the Warner subsidiary – Fueled by Ramen, After Laughter is the fifth studio album from Paramore. After Laughter also sees the return of Zac Farro, one of the band’s original members, who announced in Feb 2017 that he was back with Paramore to record and tour their new album.
Once again produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen and Taylor York (who worked together on the band’s previous and eponymous album)After Laughter has received widespread acclaim from fans and the music press alike, with Rolling Stone surmising it as ‘a gorgeously produced, hook-studded record with cocked-eyebrow trepidation adding a jittery edge.’ Indeed, it is the bittersweet lyrics from Hayley Williams that seem to be gathering the most attention from After Laughter, with some uncomfortable scars seemingly part of the creative force behind the band’s latest LP. And after a quick Google search through some bizarrely bitter statements and retrospective foot stamping, you can understand why.
But for the fans it’s business as usual, with renewed fervor at Zac Farro’s return and a sell out show zeal supporting Paramore’s latest road trip. After Laughter’s lead single, ‘Hard Times’, reached No6 on the Billboard Hot Rock Charts across the pond and was officially certified ‘Silver’ by British Recorded Music Industry (that’s selling over 200k copies, to you and me).
Subsequent singles ‘Told You So’ and ‘Fake Happy’ both beat a Billboard Hot Rock Top 40, whilst the album itself climbed even higher – reaching No1 on the same US chart and No4 on the UK’s Official Album Chart.
So it seems you can’t keep a good thing down after all, no matter how publicly some corners of the world might try to – ‘and I bet everybody here is just as insincere’. Well, quite.
January 1st… no finer day to cross off the calendar. But as the world crawls out of bed with hangovers and resolutions, Birmingham’s events diary looks forward to a pretty vibrant January. It seems the ‘quiet month’ is not so dormant this year. Which is a good thing, right? I mean, who needs to stay in and save money? Food and heating are for quitters.
For more film, mac hosts Playback from 7th to 24th Jan – a touring and ‘interactive exhibition’ of over 200 short films from ‘krumping and parkour dance shorts, to an animated tale of teenage love that unearths our desire to be as cool as the zines we read’. Held in the arts centre’s First Floor Gallery, with free admission, Playback carries a Tubbs and Edward local angle too, as ‘some of the films were originally made in and around Birmingham, where young people based in the Midlands were given the support and funding to create a short film.’
And with Louisa Ellis (The Wilderness), Mark Walsh (Opus Restaurant), Luke Tipping and Leo Kattou (Simpsons) and Olivier Briault (The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel) all chipping in a course, it should do just that. Although, the non-fixed donation approach is gratefully received in mid January.
Now if I can just find an energy provider with the same approach…
In memoriam of her paternal auntie and namesake, Lady Gaga’s latest song, album and tour appear as personal an affair as you can offer when delivering it to millions of strangers. A curious dichotomy, but one Birmingham will get to see on stage first as the Live Nation machine sets down in our city before anywhere else in the UK. Kudos.
And with tickets being transferred from the previous dates in October 2017, it’s fair to say there may be a bit of a bun fight to get in to these gigs. No doubt it’ll be worth a few scuffed elbows though, but even if ‘I’m never going to know you now, I’m gonna love you any how’. OX Joanne.
Tickets for the originally scheduled Lada Gaga shows at the Genting Arena (12th Oct ’17) at Arena Birmingham (15th Oct ’17) can be transferred to the new dates. According to the venues’ websites, ‘if you cannot make the new date, refunds can be obtained at your point of purchase for a limited period’.**
Playback @ mac 7th to 24th Jan
For more on any of the events listed here, click on the highlighted hyperlink.
Ed King is Editor-in-Chief of Review Publishing, which issues both the Birmingham Review and Birmingham Preview titles.