Where: The O2, London
Paramore have always been pocket rockets, hurtling forward at full-speed until they either explode into stardom, or implode upon themselves. With After Laughter the trio seem to shine brighter than ever before, and we can’t wait to see their new spark light up the arena stage tonight.
After Laughter shimmers with melancholic synth-pop and refreshing dance beats that, while soaring commercially, divided fans. “Is it too poppy? Have Paramore lost their edge?” This tour is a chance for the band to reclaim their throne – and they claw it back with feisty aplomb. Pummelling us fearlessly with new tracks, the setlist tonight allows us to get truly intimate with the new Paramore and it’s hard not to fall head over heels. From the infectious groove of opener ‘Hard Times’ to the dream-pop chorus of ‘Pools’, the toe-tapability of ‘Told You So’ and the sarcastic wink of ‘Fake Happy’, After Laughter undeniably triumphs.
There are nods to the past, with a back-catalogue spanning 12 years impossible to ignore. However, it’s drip-fed to us with older hits few and far between, teasing just enough doses of nostalgia to keep us hooked on the new material without hitting withdrawal. No-one is going cold turkey tonight. We’re treated to some fan favourites, such as ‘Misery Business’, ‘That’s What You Get’ and ‘Still Into You’; however, we find most older hits to be unexpected – ‘I Caught Myself’ and ‘Hate to See Your Heart Break’ are definite surprises.
Time flies and, before you know it, the night is almost over – but not without an encore, of course. Paramore return to the stage with ‘Grow Up’, another unexpected delight, before Zac Farro takes the spotlight with ‘French Class’, a HalfNoise (Farro’s other band) number. We would’ve preferred an encore track from the band we’re actually here to see, but never mind…
They finish with a real banger though, so we’ll let them off. ‘Rose-Colored Boy’, another awesome tune from the new album, has everyone on their feet and cheering for more – just as the band wave goodbye and make their prompt exit.
It’s been intense, with little space for chit-chat but plenty of time to boogie as the vibe remains positively upbeat all night. Paramore come out on top tonight. If ever you thought the band were making a mistake by changing things up, the trio have now well and truly put those doubts to rest.