Live Music + Gig Reviews

Paramore @ Underworld, London

30 May 2007

The Underworld is absolutely heaving tonight. So much so that Paramore front woman Hayley Williams has to ask no less than four times for the swelling masses to move back a couple of steps. You see, everybody wants a piece of Fueled By Ramen’s latest pop-rock sensations – whether it be the barely legible ticket requests of the smashed old guy at the door, or the boisterous ranks of teenage fans making their way down tonight. Anyone and everyone wants in on the action.

Here for a brief promotional stop-off in the capital to promote upcoming sophomore album Riot!, the Nashville fivesome ensure that whilst it’s seemingly been an age since they last stepped foot in the UK, there still remains very little question as to their ability as live performers.

Led by Williams, the flame-haired, larger-than-life teenager with a voice stronger than most twice her age, the band rip seamlessly through tracks both old and new tonight with furious, ballsy cuts like Born For This and Misery Business and standard stage lingo and cheesily choreographed head-banging abound.

It’d be all to easy to expect little from the band tonight, fresh off finishing up work on the new record and still in the midst of former guitarist Hunter Lamb’s all to sudden departure. But Ms Williams et al are having none of it, finger-pointing, fist-punching their way through debut staples Emergency and Pressure during the 50-minute set, whilst airing old favourite Brighter to a decidedly thunderous reception.

And it’s this heart-warming fan appreciation that makes you realise just why the Tennessee five-piece are destined for bigger things. There comes the odd point tonight when you simply can’t hear Williams’ vocals due to the sheer volume of what’s being sung straight back at her, and whether it be guitarist Josh, bassist Jeremy or drummer Zac, you can tell it means just as much to each and every one of them as it indeed appears.

There’s nothing elaborate about tonight. No costume changes, no over-the-top epics and little in terms of a light show. But it doesn’t matter. Three minute songs delivered with buckets of energy and sincerity is all Paramore’s fans want – and when they’re delivered as efficiently and with as much gusto as they are tonight, there’s really very little arguing with the formula.

The ticketless ranks may just have to kick themselves for not being here tonight, as it may well be a very long, long time before Paramore grace a stage in the Underworld again.

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Paramore @ Underworld, London