Jimmy Eat World & Paramore take on Lowell

A review of Jimmy Eat World and Paramore at the Tsongas Arena on April 30, 2008

, Editor-in-Chief

They are two bands at different stages of their career, but both share more in common than the predominantly emo and pop-punk crowds they attract. Especially, the fact that they both have been labeled as& “one-trick ponys.”&

Jimmy Eat World and Paramore rode into Lowell on Wednesday night for a show at the Tsongas Arena that proved one had surpassed that cliché while the other has enough talent to follow in their elders’ footsteps.&

Touring in support of their new release, Chase This Light, Jimmy Eat World’s headlining set kicked off with the new album’s lead single “Big Casino”. Perhaps in a move to quickly win over more of the younger Paramore fans, the band quickly followed with fan favorite “Sweetness” and two songs later, the band’s latest single “Always Be” was strongly delivered.
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Despite the top-heavy setlist, the show rolled on for Jimmy Eat World with plenty of highlights. The set was faster paced than their show at the Oprheum last fall, though two unique standouts from that show – “Disintegration” and “Get It Faster” – were noticeably absent. Still, frontman Jim Adkins’ vocals were sharp and matched well with guitarist Tom Linton on a handful of shared harmonies like “Praise Chorus” and “Futures”. Linton took over on lead vocals for a strong take on “Blister” off 1999’s Clarity. “23” off 2004’s Futures was a mid-set highlight, a building anthem that gave way to soaring riffs.& &

“Bleed American” kicked up the energy before the band flowed into the fan favorite and main-set closer “Pain”. The band returned for a three-song encore: beginning with the soulful acoustic ballad, “Hear You Me “, flowing into “Futures”, and closing with the roof-topping “The Middle”.

Though they may have been the bigger sell at the gate, Paramore took to the stage first. At the ripe average age of 20, the young Tennessee natives have enjoyed a dream-like year since the release of last year’s Riot!. From wowing crowds at the Warped Tour last summer to garnering a Grammy nomination for Best New Band, a crazed buzz has surrounded the group. Of course, buzz leads to pressure – something that nearly took the band down early this year. But after nixing a tour of the U.K. to rest and regroup at home, the dividends are paying odd for a refreshed Paramore.&

The band kick off their set with “Let the Flames Begin”, the first of eight songs performed off Riot!. By the time they hit their second song of the night, “Emergency”, Hayley Williams had an adoring crowd in the palm of her hands. Early highlights included their latest single, “That’s What You Get” and “Pressure” off their 2005 debut album, All We Know is Falling. Amidst a sea of cell phone lights, “When It Rains” allowed Paramore to show their softer side with Williams on keys.
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There were few lowlights, though. The lackluster “For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic” was forgettable and the band would have been better suited to playing “Hallelujah”, which was supringly left off the setlist. The band’s jovial and loud fan base came to the rescue during old fan favorite “Woah”, after which Williams agitatedly admitted to pitch problems. “Crushcrushcrush” didn’t come across as polished as it does on the album, but Williams’ bratty vocals worked well.&

For the most part, the band delivered an hour-long set that was packed with loads of energy, infectious choruses, and solid vocals. “Born For This”, a song made for the live show, sparked a fun sing-along from the stands down to the frenzied general admission floor. The band’s gem and incredibly infectious high school anthem “Misery Business” closed out band’s set with a big bang.

Paramore are not re-inventing the wheel. They’re teens singing to teens and it’s a formula that works. Still, many continue to fault them because their short catalog lacks diversity. If the argument against Paramore sounds familiar, its cause it’s the same thing their mentors and tourmates Jimmy Eat World fought a few years ago. Hopefully, a few years from now Paramore can look back on this tour and pass the lessons learned onto another young upstart.

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