LIVE: Paramore @ The o2, London

By Melissa Darragh

From behind the barriers to high up in the gods, anticipation builds in the depths of the o2 as a sea of hair dye and band tees fills the room. The crowd spans generations, but their smiles and emphatic sense of excitement have brought them together to create an atmosphere that’s nothing short of joyous. It’s been years since Paramore have last been in London, and joined with fellow late 00’s champions Bloc Party, all in attendance are sure they are in for a good night. 

Opening act Rozi Plain provides a calming influence as she brings the hyped up crowd back down to earth with her chill, dulcet tones. From the gentle vocals to subtle instrumental touches, it’s the kind of music that can often be lost in a large chattery venue but despite this, their set remains captivating, drawing the crowd in as they begin to filter into the arena. 

There are screams as Bloc Party take to the stage. From indie discos to guitar hero battles, the London based band are icons back to take on their local crowd. Much like Paramore, they may have been around for a while, but they truly continue to make their mark. Frontman Kele Okereke struts casually up and down the stage as their set produces banger after banger. The screeching guitars of ‘Helicopter’ are a treat to hear live as the band showcase an incredibly tight performance. The setlist brings a comforting sense of nostalgia with tracks like ‘Banquet’ and ‘This Modern Love’ while new tracks like ‘High Life’ show that this is a band who remain every bit as relevant in todays scene. 

The high energy doesn’t falter as Paramore take to the stage. The crowd erupts as the band enter to ‘Note To Self’, a spoken word poem written by front-woman Hayley Williams herself. Opening with ‘You First’ and ‘The News’, the arena is soon overcome with confetti as the crowd emit an overwhelming sense of elation. 

While the vastness of the o2 arena may have felt overwhelming as the night began, the showmanship from the legendary Haley Williams soon melts away any feelings of disconnect as she works the crowd with an incredible flair. From the high kicks to the dance moves, the entire show is a workout, and her energy appears unwavering throughout. For such a big voice to come out of someone so small in stature is absolutely astounding – but that is just part of what makes Paramore such compelling performers. 

“It’s been a fun almost 20 years with you,” beams Williams. The playful progression of the bands’ sound over the years is evident as track after track their career spanning setlist shines. Their experience and maturity brings an incredible polish to their performance that showcases how far they have come from the worn-in converse days of the past. 

Amongst the heavy hitters like ‘Decode’ and ‘That’s What You Get’, the band opted to perform tracks from both Hayley and drummer Zac Farro’s solo works. Hayley’s stunning ‘Crystal Clear’ flowed well with the set, while Zac’s track ‘Baby’ from his ‘Half Noise’ outfit may have felt a bit juvenile in parts, but injected a bit of fun into the set all the same. 

Before the band return for an encore, old clips begin to play on screen, taking you on a journey behind the scenes of a band almost two decades in the making. Far from the band they were in those early years, the band take the time to appreciate their success and acknowledge the mistakes which they have made along the way.

Returning to the stage, Paramore end the night with the almighty ‘All I Wanted’ and ‘This Is Why’. Across their performance the crowd laugh, they cry, they dance and they scream. From the unparalleled nostalgia of ‘Misery Business’ to the heart-wrenching ‘The Only Exception’, Paramore are a band who can do it all, and after all these years they have shown that their pop punk crowns shine brighter than ever.