LIVE: Paramore @ The o2 Arena, London

By Louis Kerry

The o2 has never been so colourful. Whether it’s the sea of multi-coloured hair, the visually extravagant light show, Hayley Williams’ encapsulating lyrics or the pre show bar 2 for 1 cocktails, nothing about Paramore’s return to London is dull.

Last year saw the band return with a re-imagined aesthetic and letting go of a ton of emotional baggage with new album ‘After Laughter’ that shifted their focus to an 80’s inspired indie pop direction to much acclaim. Their headline set tonight makes it even more apparent that the new direction they are going in is one they have their hearts set on.

The majority of the set consists of new tracks which on paper might be daunting for long-time fans but in reality, it turns the o2 into the biggest disco in London. Paramore are unashamed about this, ‘After Laughter’ is their passion project that offers bursts of style, raw energy, and brutal honesty but it also means you have to tighten your dancing shoes a little bit harder.

The likes of openers ‘Hard Times’, ‘Fake Happy’ and ‘Caught in the Middle’ are performed flawlessly, although when you have a back catalogue as monumental as Paramore’s and only play an 80 minute set, it is underwhelming that there aren’t as many reminiscent moments as you’d hope for in an otherwise euphoric showcase.

However there are key moments of pure nostalgia when they do smash out tracks like ‘That’s What You Get’ and ‘Ignorance’ that have everyone singing along like they’re in high school again. Also Zac Farro and Taylor York’s sonic musicianship on the likes of ‘Idle Worship’ reminds you just how critical the rougher side of Paramore has been for their appeal up to now.

Singer Hayley Williams is as visually captivating as ever. Despite not having loads of banter with the audience on this occasion, her energy throughout each song is a joy to witness as she bounces from side to side of the stage with effortlessly cool dance moves throughout (she goes full disco on a cover of HalfNoise’s ‘French Class’) whilst keeping up a faultless vocal performance.

Moments before the band play the much talked about mega hit that is ‘Misery Business’, Hayley reminds the crowd “We are not those people anymore and neither are you. So, let’s sing this one together and celebrate the fact we’ve done a lot of growing up.” With the crowd screaming back most of words with delight and the over excited fan Hayley’s brought on-stage to join in, it is clear that Hayley perhaps considers it a song for the fans rather than a song by Paramore.There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing the era of Paramore we grew up with, as long as you know that is all that it amounts to… reminiscing.

Finishing their triumphant performance on the dynamic ‘Rose Coloured Boy’, this is without a doubt the most exciting Paramore have been since the ‘Riot’ days. Despite them not wanting to relive former versions of themselves, tonight showed that through sheer charisma, energy and honesty, the new Paramore is going to be our favourite. It might be the end of the show, but for Paramore it is far from a goodbye, it feels more like a thank you for experiencing the new Paramore; a Paramore that is going to stick around a lot longer.

Louis Kerry