Paramore and Fall Out Boy Are the Ultimate Monsters of Rock
Summers are made for big name band package tours, bills sold to audiences as pairings meant to fill outdoor venues by combining fan base forces. These tours are also usually made up of bands consisting of old rock dudes. (For examples, see the 2014 summer tour package circuit: Rod Stewart/Santana, Steve Miller/Journey, The Offspring/Bad Religion/Pennywise to name a few.)
Last night at Red Rocks, the big name package tour was not old, nor was it all dudes -- it was Paramore and Fall Out Boy, bands that brought equally fervent fans together for an incredible show. Though I don't think either band would have trouble filling the amphitheater on its own, it felt more like a gift to fans of both groups to get to see them live, together.
See also: Wisdom From Paramore's Hayley Williams
New Politics bravely opened the show, but the band was just not enough. It's placement made sense -- New Politics has that same retail-soundtrack vibe Paramore and Fall Out Boy found fame through initially. But even with all its commercially catchy choruses, songs like "Just Like Me" and "Harlem" were virtually indistinguishable.
The only defining moment came when guitarist Søren Hansen pulled out a ukulele -- but even that just made the band sound like a Target commercial. Lead singer David Boyd was at least bouncy and fun to watch on stage, throwing down his boy-band choreography mixed with breakdancing while talking to the audience much more than he was singing to it.
New Politics set thankfully moved swiftly, and Paramore took the stage at 8 p.m. on the dot, just as the sun was setting. There is no question that Hayley Williams is the star of this band -- yes, she's the lead singer. Yes, she is the only woman on the stage. Yes, she wears the best stage attire I've seen on any self-styled non-costumed pop star since Gwen Stefani. But she also has an undeniable fucking fire that she expelled in droves over the course of an hour.
Pogoing across the the stage in her neon and black attire -- a most likely unintentional but welcome throwback to the '90s Fly Girl style, complete with knee pads -- Williams set it off with "Still Into You." In perfect time, she shot her fist in the air and the massive, dwarfing LED screen behind her flashed pink to the beat. The older track, "That's What You Get," followed, packing the same punch as Paramore's more recent, glossy maneuvers.
Williams shared that the band was celebrating its ten-year anniversary, which seemed impossible considering how young its members are -- but its evolution proves the time has passed, with each phase of Paramore seeming better than the last. Williams talked openly about that evolution, thanking the fans for sticking around even as the members themselves were unsure of what was next.
While some acts save the explosives and streamers for a big finale, Paramore let it all loose through out its hour-long set, shooting off bright strings of paper and and ticker tape every few songs. It kept the already energetic crowd screaming for more, Williams acting as the inciter of her own all-for-fun riot, jumping and kicking mid-air through songs like "Ignorance" and "Decode." Williams' manic energy clearly connects and inspires the band's fans, and being able to see her in action as she sings, smiles, waves and stops to chat with an amphitheater full of thousands of people was not only believable, but endearing.
The band brought it down a bit for "The Only Exception," which Williams dedicated to Robin Williams. But the solemn feeling quickly dissipated and "Brick By Boring Brick" and "Misery Business" shot through the night, the audience singing along passionately with the lead singer. At one point toward the end of the set, Williams rested on the floor in child's pose, her slight frame almost disappearing into the large, dark stage.