Paramore - Manchester Arena 19.01.2018
Tonight is my first show of 2018 so there was always going to be an air of excitement for me regardless, but as I pass through security and collect my pass the anticipation of what tonight may hold is near unbearable.
For me Paramore have been a band on my radar for easily the past 10 years and whilst I can never claim to be an uber fan, I do own most of their albums and have always fondly followed the band over the years. When it is all said and done there is no denying they have an incredible selection of songs in their catalogue and they are masters at what they do. Add in the fact tonight is going to be my first time seeing them live, the long wait to their arrival on stage is gruelling.
Thankfully I get a welcome break in my wait with support act Mewithoutyou. Last time I encountered these guys was in support of Coheed & Cambria in mid 2016. Seeing the band then for the first time I remember not being particularly fond of their live show and a quick return to my review of the night confirmed this fact. To quote myself 'Despite impressing me with their unrelenting energy, especially from lead singer Aaron Weiss who moves like a man possessed, I find myself unable to connect with their music. I am left standing on the side lines, sweat dripping off my forehead clock watching as they blast through their half hour set.'
I did go on to say though from there, 'I have since gone back and listened, in the comfort of my man cave, to the back catalogue of Mewithoutyou and I am truly in love. The lack of connection I felt on the night is felt now in all its glory. Vocals and musicianship blend perfectly and the songs lyrical meanings engage.'
And love them I do. Going into the pit tonight I made a point of not being jaded by my previous experience but instead reminded myself that their music is now a staple of my playlists. So as they take to the stage and blast through their set with the same energy that I made note of in 2016, any previous gripes with their live show are blown away. They have the range and impact to command the arena, never feeling out of their depth they make sure those in attendance tonight are taking note. With a quick guest appearance from Paramore's Hayley Williams to really knock things into first gear, it is all over as quickly as it began and I am back outside awaiting the main spectacle.
And what a spectacle it is. The band arrive on stage to deafening screams and instantly go into the lead single 'Hard Times' from their latest release 'After Laughter'. From here the energy never slows. Paramore start in full throttle and never let up. Hayley commands the stage, a veteran of her craft it clearly comes effortlessly to her. Never really staying still in one spot she moves amongst the rest of the band members, all of which are smiling away.
I make note of this because Hayley has said on a few occasions that after 2013's self titled release she wasn't all that sure of where she stood with Paramore and if the band even had a future. Add in the fact the ever changing landscape of band members and it is understandable how frustrating it can all become. But despite 2017's 'After Laughter' dividing the opinions of fans and critics, I see before me today a Paramore that has never been better. It has also been noted a lot of their new creative output has come from the return of Zac Farro and honestly what a pleasure it is to see Zac back behind the kit, his return has clearly steered Paramore into the next phase of their journey. With music constantly evolving Paramore have done what many bands have failed to do and have reshaped and remoulded their sound and style to fit the times that we find ourselves in.
Tonights spectacle doesn't really come from the staging or the light set up (as cool as it all is) but instead comes from a band that give you everything they've got everytime they hit the stage. Some may of been left disappointed as some of the bands more notable hits were absent from the set list notably no ‘Pressure‘, ‘Emergency‘, ‘Hallelujah‘, ‘Brick By Boring Brick‘, ‘The Only Exception‘, ‘Crushcrushcrush‘, ‘Decode‘ or ‘Fences‘ but lets be honest as much as we would all love to have had heard these songs, some of these are 10 years old and as Paramore has moved with the times so must their set list.
When it is all said and done Paramore tonight came and conquered Manchester, the same as it would appear as every other night on this tour. They are very much at the top of their game and love or hate their ever changing musical directions there is no denying that we can't wait to see what comes next.
Paramore - https://www.facebook.com/paramore/
Mewithoutyou - https://www.facebook.com/mewithoutyou/
Photos & Review - Friswell Photography