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Live Review: Paramore

It’s worth the (25-hour!) wait, that’s for sure. 02 Academy, Islington, London, Monday, September 7

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Working out the optimum time to arrive at a gig is a delicate science. Basically, you want to miss the shocking support band but arrive with enough time to get pleasantly half-cut at the bar. The Paramore crowd have evidently been skipping this particular science class though, because before the band play their first perky chord, some of the punters have already been here for 25 Earth hours. They could have flown to Australia in that time, could have walked 100 miles; but no – they’ve chosen to sit on the paving slabs of a shopping centre in Islington.

One person’s madness, however, is another’s rather lovely dedication, and when the Tennessee fivesome bound onto the teeny tiny – for them, at least – stage with the kind of innocent, giddy enthusiasm that most jaded and well, old, rockers would scoff at, you can almost understand just why those cold grey slabs are so appealing.

Still only 20 years old, Hayley Williams is infectiously chipper, a huge grin spreading across her face as the crowd prove themselves to be louder than the PA, yelling along to every word of opener ‘Misery Business’. Back in the same venue they played their very first UK show at in 2006, tonight is all about the special. Getting such a big band in such a small venue is always an exciting prospect and Williams makes the most of it, borrowing cameras from the crowd and taking snaps, nattering warmly with the audience in between almost every song, gushing with thanks and letting everyone know just how “awesome” the whole night is. It gets even more, like, awesomer with a cover of Phoenix’s ‘Long Distance Call’ and when Williams announces the band’s Wembley Arena date exclusively to the whooping superfans.

‘Crushcrushcrush’ proves itself to still be one of the best emo-pop anthems ever recorded, with Williams’ powerhouse vox as gutsy as ever and ‘Decode’, otherwise known as ‘the Twilight song’, is relayed in full fangirl swoonerama. ‘Pressure’ and ‘That’s What You Get’ might be soundtracking scenes of ultimate devotion down in the pit, but the crowd know the words to the new songs, ‘Ignorance’ and ‘Brick By Boring Brick’, just
as well as the oldies – Williams faux-chastises the crowd for having listened to the leaked online versions of the later track. “You bad little kids,” she smirks, before the song sees her indulge in a brief spot of impressive Mariah-style operatics. See you at Wembley then guys? We’ll be the ones there 25 hours in advance.

Liam Cash

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