Popular rock group, Paramore, performed in Columbus at Express Live Thursday night for the latest stop on their “After Laughter Summer Tour.”
Going into the show, my expectations were very high. Not because of any past performances I’ve seen of the band, but because this was my first experience at a Paramore show – a band I’ve loved for about a decade now.
From playing their songs on “Guitar Hero” using expert difficulty, to binge-watching all their music videos on Youtube back in middle school, I was ready for the experience of a lifetime, and I was not disappointed.
As soon as Paramore hit the stage, the crowd erupted as they performed a medley of “Grudges,” “Still Into You” and “Rose-Colored Boy.” Even though the official members of the band are lead singer Hayley Williams, drummer Zac Farro and guitarist Taylor York, the band performed with four other supporting musicians who honestly elevated the set and shined during numerous solos and music breaks.
As beloved and popular as Williams is, I didn’t know what to expect from her, but she was a big ball of energy throughout, and her vocals didn’t slip once throughout the two-hour set. Paramore has been touring since 2005, with all members under the age of 30, and even though they have the energy of a young, upcoming band, they perform with the confidence of a seasoned veteran group, which impressed the hell out of me.
However, long before the band hit the stage, the crowd was treated to opening acts, Nashville-based band Soccer Mommy, whose set I completely missed, and Foster the People.
I’ve never been a fan of Foster the People, but their set was solid as they ran through songs like “Helena Beat,” “Sit Next to Me” and “Pumped Up Kicks.” Moreover, lead singer Mark Foster, had a lot of energy and was very charismatic, hopping between different guitars and keyboards effortlessly.
However, towards the end of their set, it was pretty obvious from the energy that most people in the crowd were ready for the headlining act.
For every minute Paramore was on stage, there was never a dull moment throughout the show — whether York ripped through guitar solos with the manic energy of a madman, letting a fan hop on stage and sing the last verse of “Misery Business” or Williams screaming the lyrics of “Ignorance” to the crowd through a megaphone.
However, it wasn’t all high-energy solos and mosh pits.
After a quick intermission, the band brought out stools to the front of the stage and sat down for an intimate mini-acoustic set.
They performed deep cut, “Misguided Ghosts” and “26” to sea of phone-lit LED flashlights. However, the highlight was the performance of their viral cover of Drake’s “Passionfruit.” They also even nodded to the ghostwriting controversy around him.
“We didn’t write this, but we wish we did,” Williams said jokingly. “I’m not even sure if Drake wrote this whole song himself.”
After the acoustic set, the band went back to performing high-energy cuts like “Idle Worship,” “Ain’t it Fun” and “Caught in the Middle.”
Before the band closed out their set with “Told You So” and “Hard Times,” Williams explained how they wrote the album from a really sad and hurt place, but touring those songs have brought nothing but happiness and joy to the band.
“Whatever pain is in your life right now, just know that it does pass because feelings are temporary,” Williams said.
And as a Paramore fan, I couldn’t have taken away a better message.