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Paramore Make the Best Out of Hard Times at The Armory

Paramore Concert Review

Featured Photo by Sara Fish

After striking gold with their most recent album After Laughter, Hayley Williams and company brought Tour 5 to a near sold-out crowd at The Armory in Minneapolis. With them were alternative rockers Foster The People and Los Angeles based instrumentalist Jay Som.

This was my very first time attending a show at The Armory and I was taken back by how incredible the space was. The 8,000+ capacity building is like an updated Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Seeing Paramore in a venue like this somehow felt intimate while also feeling like an arena experience. The audience was made up of mostly 20-30-year-olds. Everyone was dressed like Urban Outfitters and Hot Topic had a summer sale, while some super fans rocked glittery face paint.

Photo by Sara Fish

According to Paramore’s Instagram, the band hit up local Hard Times Café before the show! After their Minneapolis adventure Paramore hit the stage with lead singer Hayley Williams rocking a pink power suit. The band opened with the song “Grudges” off their new album After Laughter, followed by 5 hit songs back-to-back.

Few bands from the early emo era have been able to stay relevant and often bank on nostalgia. Luckily, bands from that era like Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy keep doing new stuff that maintains their relevance. Paramore continues to follow the trend as they have evolved over the years with each album marking an improvement over the previous work.

At one point in the show, Williams stated that she has been growing up with her fans. It’s absolutely wild to think that at age 16 she put out All We Know Is Falling, an album that would shape an entire genre of music and edgy AIM “away” messages. They have come a long way! The newest album features incredibly well written and personal songs, 80’s inspired dance synths, and the strongest vocals from Williams to date.

There were several high points of the night. One that stuck out was during crowd favorite, “Misery Business,” where Williams continued the tradition of bringing a fan on stage to sing with her. Tonight’s lucky attendee was a girl named Winter who looked confident as can be and had a surprisingly good voice. Seeing moments like this almost brings me to tears because I know this moment is such a dream come true for that special person.

Another high point of the night was when they took down the tempo a bit and played some slower songs. They surprised me by playing a deeper cut entitled “Misguided Ghosts.”

Photo By Sara Fish

The first opening act of the night was a set from Jay Som, who just recently joined the tour. It became evident why this band was selected to tour with Paramore as their overall sound was similar to the slower material on Paramore’s most recent album. On stage with some obvious nerves, Jay Som and crew struggled to find a powerful presence but found their stride during the last two songs. The highlight of their performance was the track “Baybee” which I would recommend checking out. They were an enjoyable way to start off the night.

Photo by Sara Fish

Following Jay Som was iconic alternative rockers Foster The People. I haven’t listened to this band much since their first album Torches, so hearing them gave me a wave of 2011 nostalgia. Lead singer Mark Foster had an incredible and commanding stage presence mixed with an excellent vocal range.

Opening with “Miss You” off their first album, their 11 song set was nothing but high moments. A memorable point in their set was when the track “Lotus Eaters” transitioned into a cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop.” They played their obvious jams like recent alt-radio hit “Next to Me” (a song my 3-year-old goddaughter adores), and of course, “Pumped Up Kicks.” The concert concluded with a powerful performance of “Loyal Like Sid and Nancy.” Following their set, the group performed a secret show at Honey MPLS which would have been awesome to attend, but sadly I did not go.

Photo by Dylan Novacek

I haven’t seen Paramore since they toured with Fall Out Boy in 2014 so it was so awesome to see them again. Although I wish they played some old songs such as “Brick by Boring Brick” and “Pressure” they still brought a great set that featured almost the entire After Laughter record, a Drake cover, and all the must-play Paramore songs. It was an incredible night at The Armory that can only be summed up by this exchange I had with a drunk Mom/Babysitter:

Her: I can’t believe I’m hearing Hayley Seinfeld play a Drake cover.
Me: You mean Steinfeld.
Her: That’s what I said!
Me: Her name is Hayley Williams.
Her: THAT’S WHAT I SAID!

Setlist:

  1. Grudges
  2. Still Into You
  3. Rose-Colored Boy
  4. That’s What You Get
  5. Crushcrushcrush
  6. Fake Happy
  7. Playing God
  8. Forgiveness
  9. Ignorance
  10. Pool
  11. Passionfruit by Drake
  12. Misguided Ghosts
  13. 26
  14. Caught In The Middle
  15. Idle Worship
  16. No Friend
  17. Misery Business
  18. Ain’t It Fun
  19. Told You So
  20. All That Love Is by HalfNoise
  21. Hard Times

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Written by Dylan Novacek

Graphic designer and photographer from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Fan of mid 2000s emo, late 90s boy bands and everything in between. Recent graduate from Concordia, Saint Paul. Check out my work: https://dylannovacek.myportfolio.com/

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