Paramore + mewithoutYou @ Genting Arena, 14 January, 2018

Paramore  + mewithoutYou @ Genting Arena, 14 January, 2018Paramore  + mewithoutYou @ Genting Arena, 14 January, 2018Paramore  + mewithoutYou @ Genting Arena, 14 January, 2018Paramore  + mewithoutYou @ Genting Arena, 14 January, 2018Paramore  + mewithoutYou @ Genting Arena, 14 January, 2018Paramore  + mewithoutYou @ Genting Arena, 14 January, 2018Paramore  + mewithoutYou @ Genting Arena, 14 January, 2018Paramore  + mewithoutYou @ Genting Arena, 14 January, 2018Paramore  + mewithoutYou @ Genting Arena, 14 January, 2018

The notion that just two weeks into the new year will see the optimism that greeted 2018 dissipate as the realisation of just how much over indulgence across the festive period has ravaged both our waistlines and bank accounts seems to be garnering more standing with each year. Those feelings of optimism are said to be replaced with a glumness which has resulted in Monday 15th January being christened “Blue Monday”. What better way to take preventative action against waking with a head filled with melancholy than by trundling along to Birmingham’s Genting Arena for a prescription of the splendidly joyous Paramore.

This Birmingham audience has had some wait for another visit from the group that first emerged on the music scene back in 2005. The band last ventured around these parts back in 2013 in promotion of the self-titled album which signalled the birth of a new incarnation of the band, following the departure of Josh and Zac Farro. Since then, Paramore have been subject to a multitude of well documented difficulties that would test the resolve of most to breaking point. Thankfully, one of the founding members, Hayley Williams, is erudite in her determination to continue to perform the songs that mean so much to so many, for their sake and her own. At numerous points this evening, Williams alludes to the troubles that have presented themselves, and that the music and performing live, is what keeps her from losing her sanity. The appreciation for the endeavours of both band and audience is a reciprocal one. Williams declaring that the group does not take a moment on that stage for granted.

Support for this evening, arrives in the form of Philadelphian purveyors of post-hardcore, mewithoutYou. With the group teetering precariously close to entering its second decade since forming, tonight feels very much like a thank you gesture from Paramore to a band that they hold dear to their hearts. It’s pleasing to see that upon arrival to the stage, me withoutYou are presented with an almost full arena floor upon whom they unleash their frantic and energised set.

Vocalist, Aaron Weiss, is a frontman completely lost in the moment. His physical presence – when not playing guitar – is reminiscent of Michael Stipe, be it, with a dash more agitation. His voice is unique and thoroughly engaging, whether he is screaming ferociously, or toiling in a spoken-word piece. Of course, a support slot, brings with it the obligatory inferior sound set-up that will be magically remedied in time for the arrival of the night’s headliner, but mewithoutYou do a sterling job of managing to entertain the vast crowd, despite the dials being firmly set to a 7, before being cranked up to 11 in time for Paramore’s arrival to the Genting stage.

The band open with ‘Hard Times’, the fading notes of which, morph into the briefest cover of Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’. The audiences adulation is astounding, a theme which will continue for the duration as each last note will be greeted with an explosive display of praise. The overtly pop inspired opener is followed by the harder ‘Ignorance’; taken from 2009’s album ‘Brand New Eyes’. This song permits Williams to fully uncoil her mightily impressive singing range on one of the more aggressive songs that make up the setlist.  Undoubtedly this leans heavily upon the latest musical direction with which Paramore have attracted new fans, whilst still managing to bring along with them the dedicated core that have been with them from the outset.

A repurposed ‘Still Into You’ is now a declaration of devotion to the band, rather than a previous relationship, signalled by Williams introduction “this is dedicated to Paramore”. This removes the awkwardness from the band performing such a song, but more than that, it is a statement of the group’s intent. ‘Forgiveness’ is superb as newly returned Zac Farro and Taylor York expertly orchestrate the alternating rhythms. ‘Fake Happy’ is up next and heralds a temporary suspension with the very latest material. Williams addresses the crowd with reflections on the journey that both the band and their dedicated audience have been on before launching into 2007’s ‘That’s What You Get’ and 2008’s ‘I Caught Myself’.

Williams leads the frontline admirably. Her voice maintains its pacing, in spite of the many high kicks and the boundless strutting around the vast stage. Her interaction with the crowd is heartfelt, subject to the occasional teasing, and often humorous. ‘Misery Business’ is welcomed by those few still remaining in their seats, being cajoled into joining the rest that have stood for the duration. ’Ain’t It Fun’ and ‘Grow Up’ see a return to the more recent material, before ‘Rose-Coloured Boy’ brings proceedings to a close.

Some 15 thousand souls emerge from the Genting arena facing the dawn of the most depressing day of the year armed with a protective glow that will no doubt see them safely into Tuesday and beyond.

Reviewer: Chris Curtis

Photographer: Sophie Jones

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