Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams has arguably more charm than many whole bands, and she has a reputation for showing it off in concert. Last night’s performance at Red Rocks was a perfect example, where the five-piece band (plus one for the touring lineup) entertained for nearly two hours. She never lost a beat, nor even so much as slowed down during that time. If anything, Williams’ energy grew as the night went on, both feeding, and feeding from, the band’s infectious “mall punk.”
To be fair, labeling Paramore as merely a tangent of pop-punk falls short of their musical mark. Their set featured examples of smart, quick, emo-based rock, to slightly hardcore tunes (both softened and lifted by Williams’ vocals), to acoustic ballads, to nearly overwhelmingly-cathartic numbers.
The band tore through an impressive set of singles in the first 40 minutes, including “Pressure,” “Emergency,” “Ignorance” and “Playing God,” before slowing down the atmosphere in bringing a couch on stage and creating an “unplugged” setup of all acoustic guitars and a pared-down drum kit. Williams and bandmate Josh Farro performed a cover of Loretta Lynn’s “You’re Not Woman Enough to Take My Man,” which adequately set the tone for the rest of set. While they played acoustic versions of “Misguided Ghosts,” “Decode,” “When It Rains” and others, William’s Nashville roots began to show as she channeled more Reba McEntire than Gwen Stefani or Avril Lavigne (two vocalists to whom Williams is too often compared).
Almost as quickly as it started, the acoustic portion of the show was over, and the band burst into another loud and raucous set, including the popular “Crushcrushcrush” and a moving version of “The Only Exception,” before adding a confetti-filled encore that ended with the explosively fun “Misery Business.”
Canadian twin duo Tegan and Sara played shimmering, folky Britpop for just under an hour that recalled both the Smiths and the Indigo Girls. The young audience loved it, especially when one of the two quipped about her coif’s similarity to Justin Bieber’s. She assured us all that hers came first.
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Tina Hagerling is a Denver photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. Check out more of her concert photography.