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Concert Reviews:
Paramore turns misery into musical ecstasy at The Fox

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Saturday, September 16, 2017

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DETROIT -- In the midst of the first big test of the city's entertainment district on Friday night, Sept. 15, Paramore's fans stood apart.

With an eclectic range of folks headed to see Kid Rock at Little Caesar's Arena, goth-clad metalheads checking out Danzig at the Fillmore and Tiger devotees (the few, the proud) arriving at Comerica Park, not to mention the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame inductions at Orchestra Hall up the road, Woodward Avenue was a smorgasbord -- and cluster -- of people. The Paramore crowd? It was mostly female, clean- cut youths trooping to the Fox Theatre, ready to hear a band that's made a misery a platinum business model.

The Nashville-formed group's 100-minute show was anything but downcast, however. Save for the odd ballad ("Hate To See Your Heart Break") and a duo acoustic version of "26," the seven-member band kept the Fox faithful rocking and singing along throughout the duration of the 19-song set, with frontwoman Haley Williams -- in permed-out blonde hair, gold jacket and a glittery gold sleeveless top -- moving around the stage like the edgy kid sister of Katy Perry or Gwen Stefani.

That's where Paramore's music is these days, too. The seven songs from the new "After Laughter," which has fully pushed Paramore from Warped Tour punk to mainstream pop, gave the show a decidedly frothy feel -- not necessarily lighthearted given the serious tenor of the album's lyrics (written from what Williams referred to as "fragile times") but definitely buoyant and filled anthemic choruses that even had the Fox balcony bouncing significantly during "Forgiveness."

Adding to the exuberance was the return of original drummer Zac Farro, who left Paramore during 2010 but returned last year. Williams called attention to Farro a few times during the show, and he come off his kit to sing lead during an encore rendering of "Scotty's In The Back," a song by his band HalfNoise.

The show looked great, too, thanks to clever visuals encased in a large, square projection screen hovering on an angle behind the band. Encasing three rings of lights and rimmed by others, the rig bathed Paramore in a unique kind of glow, sometimes from trippy, neo-psychedelic images that accompanied more than a few songs.

Beyond the "After Laughing" material, meanwhile, Paramore covered all the right bases, rolling through fan favorites such as "Ignorance," "Still Into You," "Playing God," "That's What You Get," "Fake Happy" and "Ain't It Fun." The group also covered Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere," and Williams brought a fan named Ellie onstage to help the band deliver the last part of "Misery Business." Williams also seemed near tears at times as she spoke about the new material, giving the show a kind of rock 'n' roll group therapy vibe, and she was effusive in her thanks for support, recalling Paramore's first Detroit appearance at the Shelter and even namechecking out an early fan known as Papa Smurf and thanking him for the earrings he gave her in 2005.

The Tigers were finished while Kid Rock and Danzig were still going strong at their respective venues as Paramore released its fans back onto Woodward -- after another night of turning misery into musical ecstasy.

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