Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Paramore delivers vibrant pop-punk

Under normal circumstances, pop-punk is not a flavor of music I find myself enjoying too often. The genre has a tendency to be a bore, coming off drab and lifeless at times. With that said, Paramore has helped me inject some faith back into the style of music that happens to dominate a good portion of what we consider “mainstream rock” today. The first band up on Tuesday night, Set Your Goals, was exactly everything I loathe about pop-punk – each song sounding like the last, indecipherable lyrics, and an overall sloppy performance. After they finished their set and most of the crowd could recover from it (it was good to know I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t a fan of them), The Starting Line took the stage. Not the kind of band I can appreciate on record, The Starting Line actually sounded decent in a live setting – whether if this has something to do with the acoustics of the venue or not is beyond me. But the real spectacle hit when Paramore initiated their set with “For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic,” the first track off of their latest album, Riot. It was pretty damn clear that this was going to be a relentless set from the opening three songs. Not since Green Day has a band from the pop-punk clique sounded so tight and vibrant onstage. Not only did they sound fantastic, but they’re fun to watch as well – performing borderline acrobatic moves while still holding the sound down. The real treat came in the form of a quite unexpected cover. When they performed “Faces In Disguise” by Sunny Day Real Estate, they most definitely earned some indie cred in my book. The sombre track was a welcome performance after a barrage of intense songs such as “Let The Flames Begin” and “Never Let This Go”. Not only was it a pleasant surprise, but they actually did the song justice and urged their fans to check out Sunny Day. After plowing through their set, the band reappeared for an encore in full on children-sized Halloween costumes (which were fairly ill-fitting for all but frontwoman Hayley Williams). When they tore through their last song and biggest single, “Misery Business,” it was impossible to hear Williams singing over the crowd’s chanting of every verse and chorus. It was a truly magical ending to a wonderful set – proving that not only are Paramore worthy of their success, but they’ll most likely be infiltrating mainstream rock radio for years to come.-Neil Miller, Jr.