Photos Cred: Jeff Parsons
Where: Kool Haus, Toronto
When: October 15th 2009
“All these girls can go screw themselves because they weren’t there from the start”
As a lip-ring wearing blonde plastered in plaid and ripped denim spat venom my way, one couldn’t help but realize her statement might have been true. The sold-out concert was inhabited by young teenage girls. Not your ordinary high school girls, but ones who appear to still be in grade school. An all ages show isn’t a terrible thing, but the females in this group aren’t normal. Their high-pitched voices are killing machines and when they see an individual they idolize, they surrender to a form of insanity that involves screaming and weeping.
Just imagine what hundreds of these little creatures would sound like all at once.
Oh, it happened.
As voices shrieked with a chaotic ring to them, the quintet from Franklin, Tennessee took their rightful places on stage. Instead of launching into a crowd favourite, Paramore began their set with an intro that could only be described as spellbinding. As the sound of a dying guitar echoed off the walls, singer Hayley Williams quietly walked up to the mic stand and sang a few chilling lines.
“So your father told you once, that you were his princess.
You don’t see the castle, you cannot find the prince.”
What followed was a sharp yet loud drum beat by Zac Farro that pierced the atmosphere like a dagger. Vicious yet stunning, the beat was a perfect supporter for the rest of Hayley’s haunting passage that needed no melody, just her voice.
“So here you are in pieces, trying to prove to us it’s real.
The softness of your smile and the lies you want to feel.
The scales beneath your skin are showing off today.
There’s evil in your heart and it wants out to play.”
As Zac followed in mercilessly, the band’s frontwoman whipped the mic stand and headbanged violently, shaking her entire body while kicking the cold air and propelling herself back. Pre-teen eyes stared at the singer in shock and disbelief while others like the rebel blonde fiercely moshed along. The unnamed intro was a fascinating thing of beauty. Although they tap into a heavier side every once in a while, the two and a half-minute spectacle was their darkest and loudest to date.
Their latest album, brand new eyes wasn’t suppose to be the second coming of Riot! as it revolved around painful experiences Hayley went through during the band’s time off. Little do fans know, Paramore almost split before the new record because of personal issues but they continued on and used the music as a tool to help bind them once again. This intro was a display of the anger they needed to set free.
Once guitarist Josh Farro cut off the mesmerizing riff, the group plunged into their 13-song set that started with “Ignorance” and “I Caught Myself”. Despite being somewhat grim songs, the crowd stayed responsive as they knew the concert’s mood would change. It did as Paramore transformed into a pop-punk sensation, provoking handclaps and sing-alongs with numbers like “That’s What You Get”, “Emergency” and “Crushcrushcrush”.
Although the preadolescent admirers were blind to it, it was easy to see this tour was different for Paramore. As the band swayed into the new track “Turn It Off”, Hayley wasn’t found prancing around the stage with a high level of intensity. Instead she was found embracing the microphone, crooning at the top of her lungs. The new material made her emotional. Even though they displayed the live versions of many other new songs, Paramore also dipped back into their first record, pounding out nostalgic gems like “Conspiracy” and “Here We Go Again” (which included the energetic alternate At The Drive-In ending).
But the most interesting performance came from the beginning of their three-song encore. Probably the most unique track the band has ever written, “Misguided Ghosts” was a thing of beauty to see performed acoustically on a live stage. Backed by abstract fingerpicking, Hayley’s voice etched itself in the ears of listeners as it whimpered with raw emotion. Playing this different sound works for Paramore because although their Riot! fans may never disappear, it will spark interest in others. The band’s already three records deep and their singer and drummer haven’t even turned 21 years old yet.
Hopefully, the acoustic track and their spine-shattering intro are signs of things to come.
Find more photos HERE.