It’s been a rough three years for Paramore. In that time, they’ve gone through almost as many drummers as Spinal Tap, and had to deal with one of the most public and bitter band break ups in recent memory. However, they have returned with a self titled album that is a collection of tracks that bring to mind their early forays into emo and hardcore, as well as some of the most positive songs they’ve released in years. Since it’s been a while, they are warming themselves up with small venue tour. However, since they like a challenge, they brought Kitten along for the ride- a live experience so dizzying that only the most confident band should try to play afterwards.
I’ve been following Kitten for a number of years now, and I’ve always wanted to see them in front of a big crowd. In all of my experiences seeing them in front of a big room. Sure, they can work the club like no other, and frontperson Chloe Chaidez might be the most dangerous band leader since Iggy Pop, but I’ve never seen them play on a large stage with a barrier separating band from crowd. Well, this performance at The Warfield more than proved that Kitten are ready for more than ready for the big rooms. With all the extra space, Chaidez seemed like a kid in a candy store. She jumped off amps, jumped into the crowd, ran around, danced, walked on her hands, and did pretty much in her power to insure that she didn’t stand still for more than half a second. The 45 minute long set focused on material from their upcoming full length album, a work that continues the band’s evolution from punk band to aggressive synth project. The new songs sounded fresh & exciting live, and the packed house ate up every moment of it. And, throughout the break between Kitten & Paramore, a stream of patrons remained persistent at the merch table to buy t-shirts and records, and even after the entire event was over, there was at least 30 people in line to buy things and meet the band. I’ve been saying for years that this band will be big one day, and if we get them in front of a few more crowds like this, they will be superstars in no time.
Paramore’s set began with just Hayley Williams on vocals and Taylor York on acoustic guitar in the front right corner of the stage, and in the front left, there was a guy doing ASL along to the whole show. They opened with a brief acoustic reading of “Interlude: Moving On,” a short, almost jazzy number off their recently released eponymous record. It was a gentle warm up for the explosion that would be the next 90 minutes. They pummeled straight into “Misery Business,” the first single off the band’s breakthrough record Riot, and, for the most part, the song that introduced most people to this band. The whole band was spot on tight, and halfway through the song, Williams selected an audience to complete the song with her. She selected a woman wearing a Ramones t-shirt, and managed to sound so much like Williams, that I could barely discern the two voices.
From that point forward, we were treated to nothing but pure, adrenaline pumping, rock n roll. Unlike the tour for brand new eyes, which was a much darker, more atmospheric event, this show was practically staged to inspire a pit. Which, for the first time in the many years that I’ve been seeing Paramore, they got what they wanted. It doesn’t hurt that they new material is much more aggressive than the last record, or the fact that their new drummer, Ilan Rubin, was stolen from Nine Inch Nails. At one point in the set, Williams actually thanked the “shirtless guys in the pit.” In fact, there were more males in the crowd at this performance than any other time I’ve seen this band.
Of course, not acknowledging that this is the first full fledged tour since the departure of founding members Josh & Zac Farro was kind of the elephant in the room. It was strange- the three members remaining, who now make up “Paramore” were up front, in full lighting. The three hired hands that were filling out the sound were relegated to the back. It was strange how much more optimistic everyone seemed on this stage, however. Williams, York, and bassist Jeremy Davis were having the time of their lives on stage. Everything simply sounded “happier” than on the last tour. Before a rendition of “Anklebiters” that prompted Williams to bring a slew of audience members onto the stage, she confessed to being sick and worried that she might puke on the crowd. (One would have never known) She is a true professional on the stage, and really loves bringing fans on stage.
Definitely a solid show through & through. The energy of both bands was amazing, as was the musical performance. Seriously, don’t pass up any chance at seeing Kitten or Paramore. Your life is lacking without them.
Interlude: Moving On
For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic
Ain’t It Fun
The Only Exception
Let the Flames Begin
Fast in My Car
That’s What You Get
Still Into You
Brick by Boring Brick