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Concert Reviews:
Paramore returns triumphant after "weird drama" of past few years

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013

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DETROIT -- Near the start of Paramore's sold-out show on Friday, May 10, at the Fillmore Detroit, singer Hayley Williams noted that "it's been awhile...a little too long" since the Tennessee rock group had been this way.

And much happened in those two and a half years.

During the interim, Paramore lost two of its founding members, an acrimonious split that left the group a trio of Williams, guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis. The trauma is all over the band's new self-titled album, but Paramore hasn't seemed to suffer for the split; "Paramore" is the group's first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, the single "Now" lodged quickly into the Top 20 of the Alternative charts and the absence of brothers Josh and Zac Farro clearly didn't affect the allegiance of a single soul at Paramore's 19-song, 95-minute show at the Fillmore.

There's still an understandable chip on Williams' shoulder over the whole affair; it's no accident that Friday's show began with "Interlude: Moving On" from the new album, during which Williams -- accompanied solely by York -- declares "I've counted to 10 and I'm feeling alright." But bygones very quickly became bygones as the six-member touring unit of Paramore charged into older hits such as "Misery Business" and "For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic," both statements unto themselves of course. Nevertheless, there was a celebratory feel throughout the concert -- complete with streamers and confetti late in the show -- as Paramore stayed in a hard-rocking first gear, catching its breath only during the mid-show ballad "The Only Exception," which was accompanied by one of the crowd's many singalongs.

Sporting a sleeveless Siouxsie & the Banshees T-shirt, plaid pants and a painted band of eye makeup, Williams seemed fully recovered from the virus that forced her to cancel a concert in Utah earlier in the week, careening around the stage as she roared out anthems old and new, from "Decoded," "Ain't It Fun" and the glammy "Fast in My Car" to "Whoa" (before which she referenced Paramore's first Detroit concert, at the Shelter), "That's What You Get" and a powerhouse rendition of "Let the Flames Begin." She brought a bunch of fans onstage to join the group for "Anklebiters" from the new album and also gave a shout-out to the Flint band the Swellers, who were in attendance at the Fillmore.

Williams also paid repeated tribute to Davis for soldiering through the show with a foot injury, and thanked the fans repeatedly for sticking with the group through all its "ups and downs and weird drama." On Friday, however, it was clear all that had resolved into a happy ending.

Giving the night a good star, meanwhile, was Kitten, the Los Angeles quintet whose frontwoman, Chloe Chaidez, announced that "we're only here for one reason -- that's Paramore" and then gave the Fillmore crowd another reason to be there. Though the group's music was more ambient and layered than Paramore's but still intriguing, while Chaidez was her own brand of livewire, diving into the crowd, doing a handstand and climbing one of the speaker banks. Anyone at the Fillmore will definitely be paying attending when its first full-length album comes out later this year.

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