w/ Best Coast
September 24, 2017
The Paramount Theater
Review by Jared Stossel
The anticipation inside of the Paramount Theater in Oakland can be felt as the lights go down. The Paramount is an unlikely place to see a concert (I’ve seen movies there, but never a rock concert). Yet here I am, waiting for the moment that Paramore, one of the biggest names in alternative rock music, takes the stage to return to the Bay Area after several years of inactivity. The band had taken a significant amount of time between the release of their 2013 self-titled album and their current, fifth studio album After Laughter.
A large reason for the great deal of anticipation surrounds the significant change in sound that Paramore took on with After Laughter, abandoning the angst-filled pop-punk that made up the bulk of their first three albums in favor of new-wave tinged, straight-up pop-rock tunes. But it’s clear from the first song of the set, “Hard Times” (also the first track from the new album), they are still Paramore.
With support from the talented alternative rock act Best Coast, it was nice to see how well-paced the show was. Best Coast was the only opener, which is all you really need to warm the audience up for a seated theater show of this kind. From the moment Hayley Williams and Co. made their way onstage, the energy throughout the Paramount was electrifying.
While I think it will still take a few more listens of After Laughter in order for me to fully get on board with the new sound that Paramore are offering, it’s evident to see how much fun they are having with this new material. Nothing feels forced, and everyone in Paramore appeared to be enjoying themselves. There are some bands that, when faced with a major sound shift, will scoff at or just completely ignore older material. It’s great to see that Paramore fully embrace their past, nodding to their time on Warped Tour before launching into tracks like “Misery Business” and “That’s What You Get”. These moments hit particulalry well among the crowd. I could tell, because you could feel the entire balcony bouncing as fans jumped.
The moments from After Laughter prove to be a bit more intimate, and one of the most memorable moments of the evening came in the form of an acoustic track, “26”. The audience was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. There were no cell phones in sight. It was akin to seeing a concert from the days before modern technology and social media, and it was a moment that I cherished.
The set concluded with an encore that featured “Rose-Colored Boy”, another well-received single from After Laughter. Oakland’s Paramore show began with the new, and ended with the new, ushering in the next era of one of the world’s most eclectic rock bands. There’s no telling what the future will hold for Paramore’s style of music, but rest assured that it will always be interesting. And there’s no doubt about it: they’re an incredibly compelling and entertaining live band.
Paramore Set List
Still Into You
Brick by Boring Brick
That's What You Get
I Caught Myself
Hate to See Your Heart Break
Told You So
Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Ain't It Fun
Caught in the Middle
Scooby's in the Back