Saturday, 13 January 2018

Paramore @ O2 London 12/01/18 - A review and thank you

I've loved Paramore ever since the bebo days (circa 2006?!) and I've grown up not only watching them, but grown up with them. Over the last few years their sound and looks have changed from that angsty pop-punk fuelled band into something completely fresh. At first I wasn't too sure what to think- all I wanted to do was rock out to 'For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic', but then I remembered I'm not that criminal damage jean wearing girl who wants coontails anymore. After Laughter is an album that I can really connect to, it's a happy front with depressing tones. It's eye-opening and the happiest sad I'll ever know. I've only actually ever seen Paramore live once despite my constant moaning when I was 11 years old, but I was gifted tickets to see them at Tour 3 and I am beyond thankful. This ramble-y post is going to be a review and thank you to the band that has kept me alive for so long. Sappy and long, but no apologies.

We didn't arrive at the O2 until around 5:30 and began queuing immediately as we were already worried that we'd be chilling in the back, but to our surprise we actually made it to about the 15th row and because of the size of the venue (spoiler alert, it's big) we were incredibly close. I could already feel my teenage angst rising before the support had even come on.

Now, speaking of support, they were incredible. In fact, I wouldn't even label them support, they were their own act who played alongside Paramore. Mewithoutyou are a very different type of music concept, with dark tones and shouting alongside some melodies, they really helped build an atmosphere despite how big the place was. Aaron Weiss gave an incredible performance, it was moving and edgy, even with the songs people didn't know they were all bopping along and watching his every movement. It was like this dreary dance on stage, and it was fantastic. 'Timothy Hay' was a definite highlight for me.
If I'm being honest, during support acts normally I'm browsing on my phone, but for Mewithoutyou the only time my phone came out was to capture them. No videos or pictures can do them justice with how emotional their set was, a band I'd definitely recommend seeing again, one I'll be looking out for.

During stage change their was this really nice moment when Shania Twain came on over the speakers and everyone was just belting along, including one guy next to me who I think was *actually* a guitar in disguise. Now onto Paramore. I literally cannot fathom how much emotion was built up inside me, as soon as I saw them enter the stage I just broke down into tears. 1. Because I'm a wreck and 2. Because they're so BEAUTIFUL. Everyone whipped out their cameras to take a shot of the silhouettes against the smoke and lights, including me.
They kicked off with Hard Times, a true iconic bop to get everyone dancing. I've never been to a concert before where everyone has had a boogie, and I can confirm it was bloody incredible. I've never been a comfortable dancer, but this was the one time I really let go, everyone around me was so immersed in their own moves there was no discomfort. Hayley threw in her own mix of Heart Of Glass as the song finished and it was actually angelic. A religious experience. A true angel. Then it was the return of emo. I felt the metaphoric skinny jeans get tight around my legs as Ignorance kicked in, head banging included. 
Hayley Williams creates such a huge stage presence, after so many years she still nails it. I've constantly looked up to her (and those who have been alongside me for my ridiculous hair changes will know that) This woman has morphed into an orange haired punk rocker, to a suave feminist icon. Her little speeches she gave throughout the show literally made me well up (lol how many times will I cry during this? the answer is too many). Explaining that on behalf of the band, they were so honoured to have grown up with all of us, and that she didn't have any words to say aside from 'thank you'.

The touring band themselves are phenomenal too. It must be an outrageously big job to match the standards of what Paramore used to be, but they fit in like true (and literal) family. During encore they were all introduced, and the proud looks on everyones faces proved that Paramore isn't just a band, but it's a way of life. Their chemistry was so wholesome. Tru love. *heart eyes emoji x100*
A highlight for me was seeing 'Hate to see your Heart Break' played live. There was this eerie yet beautiful silence that swamped the venue, phone lights came out and harmonies echoed across the room. Friends, lovers, family, they all held on to each other and swayed to the music.
Then came the 'Cry Hard, Dance harder' section of the evening. Caught in the Middle played followed by Told You So and Idle Worship. Idle Worship was breathtaking live. The vocal alterations made it haunting, but everyone was still jiggin' along.

The stage lighting and visuals were really complimentary too. I got a real 70's vibe from the colour palette and the way the lights shone on the band gave this obnoxious art feel which is an aesthetic I'm totally down for. It was like vscocam in real life. 
Another stand out moment for myself was during No Friend when Aaron from Mewithoutyou joined and Hayley and Taylor went into this emotional trance. The simplicity of the song gave it this really deep feel, and hearing the vocals live was amazing.
Misery Business was (subtly) introduced whilst Hayley had a lil one on 20,000 chat with us all. She explained that this song isn't what Paramore is now, and isn't what we are now, but is part of the growing up stage. There was a time a few years back when outlets commented on the use of 'whore' in the songs context to which they feel as if they need to prove it's not what they are now, and that's one of the reasons I love them. If platforms can only try and bash them for using the word 'whore' as the worst thing they've ever done then god forbid the field trip they'd have with other acts of today. 
During Encore, Zac Farro was formally introduced and played a Half Noise song called French Class. What. A. Bop. Hayley and Zac dancing? Name a better duo.
The show ended on the melancholy note of 'Rose-Coloured Boy' and everyone let loose, arms were thrown about whilst people belted out 'Just let me CRRYYYY'. The set-list in my eyes was perfect and a reflection on what the band have become, including older songs like I Caught Myself and That's What You Get really made me reflect on the past and also made me want to dye my hair red and yellow but we won't talk about that.

SO TL:DR, thank you Paramore. Thank you for everything. Thank you for the past, the present and the future. You've kept me alive through the darkest times with your lyrics and enthusiasm to always be the best you are. I'm honoured to have grown up alongside you, checkerboard clothes and all.


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