CAMDEN, NJ—Over the last four years, female-fronted rock group Paramore have barely been above ground. While they released a few singles now and again, the band kept almost entirely quiet. Their hibernation seems to have done some good, as their new self-titled album has taken the rock world by storm. Singer Hayley Williams is just as in-your-face as before, but with the fiercest determination music has ever heard.
Writing a new album with bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York must have been a new experience for the most part, considering ex-member Josh Farro wrote a lot of the music. Even with the departure of Farro and his brother Zac, this band won’t seem to quit. Evolution occurred, and a truly fantastic record emerged. A comeback is hard feat to accomplish, but due to their genuine connection with fans, relatable lyrics and high-energy live shows, Paramore pulled it off. For the first time in over four years, the guys (and gal) hit the road to get fans hyped. In the midst of their dates, they stopped off at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden to play the Radio 104.5 Birthday Show.
The venue was packed with kids, teenagers and the usual parent chaperones. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones finished their performance as I walked into the concert area. I gladly took my seat a few rows back from the stage and turned around to see almost every seat occupied. The lineup consisted of fantastic acts, so the large mob of people wasn’t entirely surprising. Silversun Pickups played a strong set, and then the stage was prepared for Paramore. You could almost feel the energy shift in the room as the host introduced the Tennessee rockers. Every Paramore follower had been waiting for this moment, and it was finally upon us all. The view from the photo pit was filled with hands in the air and jumping teenagers as the band ran onto the stage.
Hayley and the guys burst into a fan favorite, “Misery Business.” The crowd was screaming, and the cameras were in the air as far as the eye could see. Williams had a mixture of colored smudges across her eyes and temples, and a noticeable ferocity about her. She jumped around while managing to sound completely flawless, as usual, throughout the entire set. Older songs such as “Pressure” brought back memories of my teenage years, while new jams “Fast In My Car” and “Still Into You” had the whole place dancing. After their third song, “Decode,” I exited the photo pit. I raised my hands in the air and clapped in amazement, and Hayley looked over at me and pointed with an approving “thumbs up.”
The rest of the setlist included the always-emotional “Let The Flames Begin,” “Ignorance,” “Brick By Boring Brick,” “Renegade,” “For A Pessimist I’m Pretty Optimistic,” “Looking Up” and “That’s What You Get.” During the outro of “Let The Flames Begin,” Williams laid down on her back as she sang “Father, oh Father, I am ready, so won’t you let it begin…” After finishing the powerful lyrics, she didn’t stand again until the crowd finished cheering. The swell of emotion filled the room while everybody quieted down, and Hayley emerged from the stage floor. The show was brought right back to a happy mood with upbeat songs and tons of pink and orange hair in the wind as Williams began to headbang.
As “Brick By Boring Brick” came to a close, the audience cheered loudly while confetti blanketed the crowd. As the wind carried the colored paper throughout the rows of pleased fans, the band exited the stage. Nobody in the Susquehanna Bank Center that night could even attempt to diminish such a strong musical revival. Paramore are most definitely here to stay.