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Live Review: Paramore (Nottingham Arena)

Photo: Darren Reynolds

Being first act on is a double-sided coin – you’ve got a bunch of eager fans desperate to vent their excitement and your music is likely to be their first opportunity. On the other hand, you’ve got a group of eager fans that have been in the queue since 8am and can’t be fussed with some wannabes that are standing between themselves and the main act. Thankfully, Eliza and the Bear are greeted with the first response – their arena-ready rock is suitably rocky with a slight Coldplay and Mumford twist. They have addictive material that enchants on first listen – they’ve set their own bar quite high tonight as it’s hard to imagine their giant hooks ringing out in a tiny venue, they are made for the big time.

From the moment she was announced as main support, Charli XCX cast doubt over whether she could convert a room full of rock-obsessed pre-teens. Turns out, she couldn’t. It’s doubtful that anybody could as from the moment the first pop hooks rang from her bands instrument, the audience lost any interest. Tragically, the hostile reception was immensely undeserved – ‘What I Like’ was a bit of a dud to kick things off with, but an electrifying rendition of new single ‘Super Love’ and a storming run through of her featured number one single ‘I Love It’ more than made up for it. A crunching guitar underlined her final track, set highlight ‘Grins’, that was unfairly greeted with a response of ignorance from the majority and boo’s from the minority.

As expected, Paramore rely heavily on their self-titled album for the sets material and it pays off – the record is even more vibrant and exciting onstage, particularly the pumped opener ‘Grow Up’ and the mammoth crowd pleaser ‘Fast In My Car’. It’s in hindsight that it feels so easy to point out what songs they didn’t give a nod to – sure, it would’ve been great to see ‘Proof’ live, or to experience past victories with ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Emergency’, but it’d be silly to expect the band to tread every single track when they’re sitting on top of four brilliant records now. The set was beautifully shaped around the new album and revisited just enough of the older stuff to keep casual fans and diehards happy. The debut record gets minimal exposure, with ‘Pressure’ being the only track lifted from it, whilst it’s follow up and arguably the breakthrough record for the band, ‘Riot!’ enjoyed plenty of attention. An early appearance from ‘That’s What You Get’ proved that anything lifted from the sophomore effort would be well received; ofcourse, ‘Misery Business’ was triumphant as it closed the main set, with a little help from a dedicated fan singing along onstage with Hayley.

‘Decode’, ‘Ignorance’ and ‘Now’ ensured that no mid-set slump occurred – hammering out tune after tune, it’s easy to forget just how many massive tracks the group have written. ‘Crushcrushcrush’ sat between it’s fellow anthems ‘Brick By Boring Brick’ and ‘Ain’t It Fun’ and amongst all the jumping about, ‘The Only Exception’ gave a welcome lighters-in-the-air breather. An encore performance of ‘Part II’ and the rousing ‘Last Hope’ were the two heart-tugging highlights of the evening. The latter seeing Hayley sat at a keyboard whilst the arena exploded into the enormous crescendo the song never quite managed on record. ‘Part II’ meanwhile was simply epic – backlight cast shadows over the band as they danced about the stage, enjoying the drama that the track executes so well.

What was wonderful to witness was Jeremy and Taylor enjoying every second. All eyes are often on Hayley and from her speeches between the songs, it is clear she is more than happy with the decade of success Paramore have enjoyed. But the two boys have smiles that outshine even hers, Jeremy in particular bounds about the stage with such enthusiasm and wastes no time in getting the crowd going. As the evening draws to a close, only one song can fittingly bring together the band and the audiences enthusiasm one last time, the huge single ‘Still Into You’. It’s lyrics also ring entirely true – a decade later, the band and their fans are just as passionate and excitable as ever and their evening in Nottingham will not be forgotten by many. Except Charli XCX ofcourse, she’d do well to forget we even exist here.

Photo: Darren Reynolds
Words: Simon McMurdo

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