Paramore fall short at the House of Blues

A review of Paramore at the House of Blues on May 15, 2013

, Contributing Writer

From the moment Paramore took the stage at the House of Blues in Boston last Wednesday, nothing about the performance was memorable. Instead, the group delivered a disappointing, subpar hour-and-a-half of music to a room full of fans who were devoted enough to overlook that fact.

Kicking things off with a quiet acoustic “Interlude: Moving On”, the show began with just lead singer Hayley Williams and guitarist Taylor York on stage. With the crowd excitedly anticipating their arrival, it felt like a missed opportunity to start off the show with a bang. From there, the full band went into their older hit “Misery Business”. It was at this point it become clear the acoustics were off, for while the band’s presence (and talent) was well-felt, Williams’ vocals – which the group is known for – could barely be heard.

The problem continued through the loud “For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic”, the almost Evanescence-like “Decode” from one of the Twilight soundtracks, and the first single off Paramore’s new self-titled release, “Now”. Such vocal issues were only made worse by Williams’ constant movement, like a jumping bean trapped on stage, causing her to not have enough air for parts of various songs. Finally, the female-fronted group made their star’s voice heard on “Renegade”, which began entirely a cappella.

To Paramore’s credit, they pleased their fans, who Williams said were “more like friends”. Forgiving crowd that they were, when Williams forget the lyrics to the joyous new track “Ain’t It Fun” (awkwardly announcing “You guys may know this better than me”), the audience just kept on dancing.

Such fan appreciation continued into the band’s most successful ballad, “The Only Exception”, which Williams sounded fantastic on but seemed entirely disconnected from, and which resulted in one young man from proposing to his girlfriend onstage during the number.

The theme of the night appeared to be not-so-subtlety ragging on former bandmembers, who left the group in a messy breakup back in 2010. It was as though Paramore was a scorned lover trying to show his or her former significant other how much better off he/she is without them and instead coming off as rather desperate and all over the place.

During “Whoa”, a song Williams explained was written early on in the band’s career about how amazing their future fans would be, the lead singer stopped in the middle of the track to give a speech in which she warned “I’m way too preachy” and then went on for quite some time to try and command the audience to sing along.

The gimmicks continued into “Anklebiters”, with the band bringing a bunch of random fans on stage to sing and dance around like maniacs.

The crowd went nuts during the final two songs of the main set, “That’s What You Get” and the band’s latest single “Still Into You”.

Finally, it was time for the two-song encore, which began with “Proof” (of her fans’ undying affection Williams seemed to require) and concluded with “Brick By Boring Brick”, the “ba-da-bas” of which made it an engaging way to end the show.

All in all, fans seemed to enjoy the night for what is was. That being said, the band could – and should – have given them a better performance. With so few successful female-fronted rock acts out there today, there were high expectations for Paramore, and unfortunately they failed to meet them.

Setlist
1.  Interlude: Moving On
2.  Misery Business
3.  For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic
4.  Decode
5.  Now
6.  Renegade
7.  Pressure
8.  Ain’t It Fun
9.  The Only Exception
10. Let the Flames Begin
11. Fast in My Car
12. Ignorance
13. Looking Up
14. Whoa
15. Anklebiters
16. That’s What You Get
17. Still Into You
   Encore
18. Proof
19. Brick By Boring Brick

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