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America’s finest female-fronted pop-punk trio, Paramore, kicked off their first Australian arena tour at Brisbane’s Entertainment Centre last night. The teenage diehard fans had fought their way to the stage barrier well before first support twenty one pilots quite literally flew on stage.
During a surprisingly engaging set, the Ohio duo’s grand piano would become the launching pad for a number of backflips and other aerial manoeuvres. With a whirlwind trip through their self-proclaimed “schizoid pop”, balaclavas, floor-tom battles and spoken word poetry, twenty one pilots will have gained a number of new fans after last night’s performance.
A straightforward set from second support You Me At Six failed to incite the circle pits and crowd-surfing they were after, but the alt rock five-piece received a decent cheer here and there, and seemed to nicely warm up the hearts (and possibly the loins) of the majority female audience.
After the front stage was cleared of equipment and a few bras, a giant black curtain dropped to reveal a striking two-tiered set lined with criss-crossing LED light sticks. Atop this illuminated castle stood the flame-haired, petite pop-punk princess Hayley Williams.
Accompanied by her bearded bandmates, guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis, Williams dove straight into Grow Up from their latest, self-titled album. It’s a symbolic statement – after 10 years in the music game and the release of their biggest album to date, the Tennessee trio have matured, even since their last, relatively recent Australian visit.
Four songs in and the 25-year-old frontwoman removes a bulky leather jacket to reveal her slender frame in a skin-tight crop top and black high-waisted jeggings. Then, a sway of the hips and a burst of green laser lights brought Decode to life. It’s songs like this where Williams’ vocal talent is really put the test. She passed with flying colours, even as she and the band tirelessly bounced, skipped and head-banged their way through crowd favourites Brick By Boring Brick, Crushcrushcrush and Misery Business.
It’s unsurprising the band have had such mainstream success. They tick all the right boxes: attractive and charismatic vocalist, catchy choruses, songs about love, loss and so on. It’s a winning formula they pull off time and again, but their live show can suffer because of it. Spontaneity felt stifled, and with passionate expressions and punk jumps in all the right places, the moves became predictable.
But for the thousands of screaming fans in attendance, none of this mattered. With a burst of balloons and shower of confetti, the trio tied up their enjoyable 90-minute party with 2013 sugar blast Still Into You and the crowd was sated. The explosive final moments of a consistently high-impact set demonstrated how effortlessly Paramore project a youthful, care-free energy. That’s very difficult to discount.
(Photo by Rebecca Reid)