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Review: Paramore – International Arena, Cardiff – 14/12/09

Band: Paramore
Support: You Me At Six, Paper Route, Now Now Every Children

Venue: International Arena, Cardiff
Date: 14th Dec 2009

Since the release of their third album ‘Brand New Eyes’ earlier in the year the success of Paramore has risen dramatically! This album gave them their highest chart place to date since the band formed back in 2004 when lead singer Hayley Williams was just 15 years old! The 5 piece band from the U.S have had huge success worldwide since the release of their single ‘Decode’ which was the film ‘Twilight’s soundtrack. Proving their success they have now got a sell out arena tour across the globe in their back pockets!

I was lucky enough to attend their show in Cardiff at the International Arena. I had high expectations for them because of the success they have had in the last 12 months so therefore I was looking forward to it.

The first support act were called ‘Now, Now Every Children’ from Minneapolis in the U.S. I know it’s the apparent fashion nowadays to have bad grammar in your band name but surely this is ridiculous? I had no faith whatsoever after discovering their strange name so I wasn’t sure what to expect at all to be honest.
Well I was bored from start to finish. I like my music to have edge to it so I have instant appeal for it but it was like I was waiting for something that never came into existence. The whole way through their set I was eager for a track to change my opinion of them, but it never happened. The guitarist doesn’t sound too bad but the depressing noise of a vocal from the lead singer made it uncomfortable to watch. They sounded so much like ‘Fiest’, a band who’s track was on the mobile adverts.

So I was a bit disappointed by the opening act, but I guess it is just a matter of taste really and they certainly are not mine I’m afraid.

The second support was another American band called ‘Paper Route’ who most of the audience seemed to know of already, apart from me, obviously! I have never heard of these or the first support act, which can sometimes become a hindrance in your opinion of whoever you’re watching when you’re trying to be patient for who you came to see.

They were like something I have never heard of before using musical technology that I have never seen or knew existed so I was all the more intrigued by their performance from the start. The on lookers took an instant liking to them compared to the first act, the cheers seemed to be a lot louder and more appreciative towards the end too. I wasn’t sure if this was because they liked them or because they were more excited for the soon entrance of the next support act ‘Youmeatsix’.

It was like the band were trying to be different like Enter Shikari were in their early years but having the sound that instantly made me think of U2, with a dash of The Script, which I think ruined their efforts of making themselves unique.

Although they did sound very tight and well rehearsed, the echoing to the back of the room from the stage because of them playing in such a large room clouded my judgement a bit. Although I do think this was because of where I was stood at the time. The spot I had didn’t really help me make a appraisal of them. I found it odd that each member of the band had a go on every instrument and swapped and changed with each other throughout different tracks. This does make them exceptional and uncommon which I suppose is a good thing and therefore gives them their own style which I like. So I’ll give them respect for this because I didn’t easily forget their performance, it was extremely heartfelt seeing they are not from or known that well in the U.K. Would I go see them again? Yes probably compared to the first act. They are a very distinctive sounding band and over all I think I did enjoy their exhibition.

Final support came in the form of ‘Youmeatsix’, a well known British pop punk band from Surrey that hit it big after the release of their ‘Take off Your Colours’ album in 2008. I bought this album when it was released to see what they were like as I knew I would see them support ‘Fall Out Boy’ that year. I was disheartened by their spectacle back then but they soon reconciled my love for them at ‘Download Festival’ this year. They were very impressive there so seeing them again in the same year was definitely a bonus for me as I now appreciated their music as much as I did Paramore’s.

This now being the third time I have seen them live, I already knew the madness they were going to cause, just like they had at previous shows that I have attended. I was intrigued in how crazy it really was going to be this time around, especially seeing as this time around they were supporting one of the best live bands in the world at the moment.
The pushes and budging started instantly after ‘Paper Route’ had finished. I must admit I was forcing myself to the front to catch a good glimpse of them so I don’t really have the cheek to complain about the shoves! Haha!

As soon as the ‘Youmeatsix’ backdrop banner was lowered there was an instant heave from the back of the audience and an epic load of adoring fans were squashed together at the front of the floor, including me!! So if I wasn’t hot and sweaty with sore feet already I was bound to be complaining that I did at some point when the band eventually entered the stage!
The lights were dimmed as Chris, Matt, Max, Dan and Josh arrived one by one. Unfortunately as soon as they were all with us I was reminded of my embarrassingly young ‘Westlife’ and ‘Take That’ days. As I looked around me all I could see were kids half my age screaming and shouting ‘I love you’ at the top of their lungs! So for the first time in my life at a gig I felt old at just 22, as I didn’t plan on being like them!
Lead singer and front man ‘Josh Franceshi’ is known for his trade mark jumping pose that he has done every time I have seen them live or on TV and sure enough the first track ‘Kiss and Tell’ is discharged as soon as he does his first leap of the evening.

My throat was aching as I tried my best to sing over the bellowing addicts that surrounded me. The band seemed to be overjoyed by the reaction that we gave them as they executed each song and announced the next. They played a few tracks from their album ‘Take off Your Colours’ adding in their new recent free download track ‘The Consequence’ to the bill. I was surprised we didn’t hear any new material off their new anticipated album ‘Hold me Down’ due for release in January of next year, but I think they are saving that for their own headline tour in the Spring.

My favourite song of the set had to be undoubtedly ‘Always Attract’, this was already my favourite YMA6 song so I was delighted they decided to play it live to us. Then I remember we were all in complete shock and admiration as Hayley Williams entered the stage to sing the female part of the song with Josh. I don’t think the audience at the back knew it was her at first as the screams only consisted from the front, but as soon as her melodic voice began a huge roar surrounded the arena. They sounded beautiful singing together and with acoustic guitar riffs from the band and amazing added in high notes from Hayley the effect was breath taking. As the track finished, Hayley waved to the crowd as she exits the stage. I think this made the audience more fired up for what was coming.

The band closed with the track ‘The Rumour’ and overall as expected I was thrilled by their show! I shall definitely be buying their new album in the New Year and hope to attend a headline show of theirs in 2010.

Then was to come what we had all been waiting for! The pushing and sweating had got more intense and I was unsure how much longer I could last!

As the lights dimmed again and the screaming continued the band members all joined us apart from the young woman we all wanted to see again! The band launched the first few guitar strums from the ‘Brand New Eyes Tour Intro’ and then a stunning, now blonde, beauty made an appearance and calmly walked to the middle of the stage and began to sing to us. Then two minutes later after she had finished overwhelming us all with her note perfect beginning we all recognise the change in tune to their first release of the ‘Brand New Eyes’ album ‘Ignorance’. I love this catchy song as do the rest of the audience stood with me and then I was delighted as I witnessed the crazy Hayley we know and love as she dashes from one end of the stage to the other rocking out to the track, like all her fans watching.

Every single track she doesn’t cease to amaze me by how fascinating she is to watch. Her enthusiasm is humbling and her voice incredible as not once does she sing out of tune or give a bum note. The band that are behind her are mind blowing and its inevitable why they have such monumental success.
Even when you can see they are becoming slightly warn out their performance does not falter and they continue to give us an astounding show. I seriously start to think this young woman can sing anything as she continues to impress me throughout the evening.

A variety of tracks from each album are performed to us and each give us a hunger for more. Then comes my favourite Paramore track ‘Decode’. Hayley thanks the crowd for coming and announces that this is their last song of the evening. We all knew this was a lie as we were all are waiting for the two big ones ‘Misery Business’ and ‘Brick By Boring Brick’. We all sang along, swaying with our phones high in the air as we wish we had an Edward Cullen just like Bella Swan they finished and ran off! The bellowing chant ‘Paramore, Paramore’ surrounded the arena and after a few minutes they returned as we all knew they would.

Three more tracks later I remember being completely exhausted but definitely satisfied in paying just £24 for I think my gig of the year. I say with 100% certainty this band are going to be known in years to come as one of the greats if they continue to produce amazing songs like they have, sell out tours like they are doing and play such brilliant shows like this one. Pure brilliance!

Paramore’s new album ‘Brand New Eyes’ is available now so go buy it!

Reviewer: Steph Knight

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