AU ABROAD

Live Review: Paramore + You Me At Six + Twenty One Pilots - Allphones Arena, Sydney (11.01.14)

If you could mix together a blend of emo, pop punk, fast paced alternative rock and a dash of rap you would be pretty close to summarising the different genres and sounds you’d hear at tonight’s concert. All of this would be delivered in large high energy doses courtesy of all three acts.

Twenty One Pilots have never visited our shores before despite having released three albums already, and it seemed that a good portion of the crowd was familiar with some of their songs. Comprising of Tyler Joseph predominantly on piano, with some keytar, and ukulele and Josh Dun on the drums. For a duo they make a lot of noise, assisted by some added pre-recorded synth material but it’s surprisingly big and brash.

Their short set almost entirely comprised of songs off their latest record Vessel including “House Of Gold” with its preppy poppy ukulele and foot stomping bass drum. “Holding On To You” is urban rap meets emo pop punk with a dash of electro and has Joseph running around the stage or jumping off his baby grand piano. Set closer “Guns For Hands” takes them in a different musical direction with its dance electro vibes and even got the crowd jumping as both musicians come to the front of the stage to finish off the song by pounding on a separate set of toms.

British alt-rockers You Me At Six turn the energy levels up a few notches and start out by getting things darker and heavier. Opening with “Reckless” it’s a fast paced dose of pop punk. Both ‘”Lover Boy” with its roaring bass line and heavy guitars and “Little Death” with its bold brash heavy hitting drums has the crowd surging and writhing. On the other hand though when they pull out the power ballad “Crash” and encourage the entire arena to light it up with their phones, anybody who had seen Birds Of Tokyo supporting Muse last month would’ve seen the same shtick during “Lanterns”.

With a new record titled Cavalier Youth about to land soon they perform both “Fresh Start Fever” and “Lived A Lie”. The former with a building crescendo that explodes in the last quarter. The latter with its marching drum beat retains that pop punk style. During “Stay With Me” the guitarists take an opportunity to rush around from side to side of the stage and engage with the first few rows of crowd, and frontman Josh Franceschi does the same in the next song “Bite My Tongue”. When the band perform their set closer “Underdog” the crowd goes wild and it’s evident that the musicians on stage are throwing every last bit of energy into it.

There’s no other way to describe Paramore’s entrance other than with a spirited enthusiasm and youthful sense of fun. “Grow Up” is that bridging song, for the kids in the crowd who clearly feel like it’s time to ditch their parents and immediately affirms the band in the hearts of the audience. With a swift beat change on the drums from touring member Aaron Gillespie we’re thrown into “Fast In My Car”. Frontwoman Hayley Williams engages her strut mode and pretty much swaggers throughout the entire show with an air of confidence and authority.

Tracks “Ignorance”, “Daydreaming” and “crushcrushcrush” all maintain the high energy levels that Paramore are known for, but they break it up by throwing in “Interlude: I’m Not Angry Anymore” and “Interlude’ Holiday” both of which sound like a little ukulele hoedown to effectively break the fast and slower paced songs up and give not only the band but the audience a breather. Williams is such a classy frontwoman too, and knows exactly how to engage the crowd, from those in the first couple of rows of the mosh pit, right to those in the back of the arena. Just before “crushcrushrush” begins she urges every single member of the room to get on their feet and dance just for the next 3 minutes. Moving from stage left to stage right and to the middle to encourage every single person to dance, no matter how awkwardly.

The majority of the room stays standing as this leads straight into the boppy “Ain’t It Fun” off the current self-titled record Paramore and Hayley invites the Hillsong Choir to come out onstage to join the band. Gear change down to “The Only Exception” the big power ballad and again the arena lights up with phones held aloft. “In The Mourning” which features a little excerpt of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” is probably the only Paramore song that seems to stick out like a sore thumb, mainly due to its slight country twinge. Just before we reach the encore break Williams seeks out an audience member and drags an excited Caitlin up onto the stage to sing the last chorus and verse of “Misery Business” with her. To wrap things up “Part II” and the enormous inescapable radio hit “Still Into You” and a whole bunch of balloons and confetti explode across the mosh pit and it’s all over.

Paramore are full of youthful vigour and make music that emulates that energy. It’s almost impossible to not enjoy the high octane ride that you’re on once they get onstage. Each of the band members take turns rushing from side to side on the stage, or doing backflips off each other. As previously mentioned, Williams is the epitome of a frontwoman, engaging, charismatic, dancing, fist-pumping. Her vocals are commanding and powerful with a hint of vibrato but almost constantly on-key save for the odd moments where she has to catch her breath. There was clearly no need for Williams to remind the crowd “We are Paramore!” during the concert, everybody in that room already knew, and if they didn’t, you’d definitely walk away remembering.