By Kimberly Ilkowski & Jonathan Edmondson
Features Editor & Arts & Entertainment Editor
What would a Paramore concert be without fiery-haired frontwoman Hayley Williams giving her all to incite a riot in her always-packed audiences? It wasn’t hard to get the crowd jumping along to their favorite angst-ridden, middle-school songs and new hits alike at CUB’s 2015 spring concert featuring opening act The WonderYears on Saturday, April 25, in the REC Center.
The show had been a long time coming — Paramore’s name had been tossed around before as a potential option for a show at the College. This spring, many students watched their fantasies come to life as their favorite band sprung on-stage to the slick bass-line of “Daydreaming” to start off its wild and diverse set.
“Tonight kind of feels like a family reunion,” Williams said to the crowd, many of whom have been along for the ride since the very beginning.
While the band incorporated much of their newer material into the set, it made sure to play the older songs that started it all like “That’s What You Get” off the 2007 album “Riot!” that launched Paramore into the hearts and minds of teens everywhere.
July will mark the 10th anniversary of the release of Paramore’s debut album “All We Know Is Falling,” yet it’s clear Williams has only gotten better with age. Her stage presence is unprecedented, and her connection with the fans was clear during her many moments of personal storytelling between songs.
The show at the College marked the band’s third concert of the year and one that begins the final tour in support of their self-titled album, released in the spring of 2013.
The album, which was certified gold and produced the hit singles “Ain’t It Fun” and “Still Into You,” was the first full-length release for the band following the controversial departure of long-time members Josh and Zac Farro in 2010.
The band’s official lineup now includes Williams on lead vocals, Taylor York on lead guitar and background vocals and Jeremy Davis on bass.
Whether it was Williams’s 100-watt smile or the intricate lighting that graced the stage, featuring old-fashion spotlights and dangling light bulbs, the band dazzled the crowd throughout the evening.
A large part of Paramore’s allure undoubtedly stems from their frontwoman, whose voice seemingly transcends genre. This range was evident as Williams went from belting “Twilight”-inspired rock ballad “Decode” to sweetly harmonizing to an acoustic love-jam “The Only Exception.”
This switch in tone ignited diverse responses from the audience, but whether they were moshing or swaying, the packed crowd was loving every second of the band’s performance.
Die-hard Paramore fans were treated to lesser-played jams such as “I Caught Myself” and “(One Of Those) Crazy Girls.” Both songs were met with enthusiastic responses from the crowd.
Earlier this year Paramore won a Grammy for Best Rock Song with “Ain’t It Fun,” yet the band remains humble and appreciative of their hardcore fanbase. Throughout the night, Williams interacted with the crowd and thanked them for their relentless support.
Before Paramore hit the stage, Philly-based, pop-punk band The Wonder Years came out swinging for an epic opening set that energized those who weren’t previously familiar with the band. The band is comprised of Dan “Soupy” Campbell on vocals, Matt Brasch and Casey Cavaliere on guitar, Mike Kennedy on drums, Josh Martin on bass and Nick Steinborn on keyboard. The guys played songs from their entire discography, including “There, There” and “Passing Through a Screen Door” from their latest studio album “The Greatest Generation.”
Campbell led the performance by romping around the stage, swinging the microphone and yelling lyrics such as, “cigarette smoke dances in the window / and I can see the haze on the dome light / I’m conjuring ghosts on a forty-hour ride home,” which highlighted the band’s palpable emotions and clearly demonstrated their commitment to storytelling.
Paramore also focused on intimate storytelling during the acoustic set of their performance, where Williams was able to pour her heart out during songs like “Misguided Ghosts.”
And although Paramore hits such as “Crushcrushcrush” and “Brick By Boring Brick” were omitted from their setlist, the band was able to infuse much of their material into their impressive two-hour performance.
Per usual, Williams invited a member of the crowd onstage to sing the end of “Misery Business” with her. The lucky audience member, Michelle, was decked out in head-to-toe Paramore merchandise and took the stage with a confident swagger. Williams handed Michelle her own microphone as the two sang the chorus, but not before snagging a quick selfie together.
The band capped their set with “Ain’t It Fun,” which had everyone in the audience jumping and belting their hearts out.
With a quick “goodnight!” Williams and the band left the stage, causing the audience to begin shouting, “one more song.”
After a brief respite, the cylinder lights scattered around the stage began to light up one-by-one in the darkness. As the stage started to illuminate, the crowd broke out into wild cheers for “Future.” For those unfamiliar with the song, it came as a surprise that the band would wrap up the night with a quiet, acoustic track. Yet Williams’s haunting wails transitioned into an epic, six-minute outro with pulsating bass-lines, gritty guitars and thundering drums accompanied by a spectacular light show, washing the audience in rainbow colors.
With one final bow, the band quickly exited the stage as the lights slowly dimmed and the audience broke out into wild cheers.
Paramore, a band started by a couple of teenagers from Franklin, Tenn., has been through a lot over their expansive 10-year career. Yet the trio seems to have finally found a solid ground to stand upon, building a legacy brick by not-so-boring brick.