Review: Paramore treats fans to intimate club show at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa
Many powerful forces had to come together in order for Paramore to play an intimate, exclusive set at Tampa’s Hard Rock Café on Thursday – Clear Channel, Atlantic Records, one of the world’s largest casinos and a band accustomed to playing arenas and amphitheaters, to name just a few.
But what’s interesting is that once the show got started, it felt like it was just the band and their fans.
That, of course, was the point all along. After dropping out of December’s 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball at the last minute, Paramore promised they would make it up to fans in Tampa. And even though Thursday’s show lasted less than an hour, it’s fair to say the 700 or so fans who won tickets still got their money’s worth, as the pop-punk trio peppered hits old and new with stories and their signature pep-squad energy in a rare club gig.
“We don’t get to play clubs anymore,” singer Hayley Williams told the crowd at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, adding with a laugh: “It’s your fault, but we’ve moved up in the world.”
Despite being signed to formerly Tampa-based label Fueled By Ramen, this was Paramore’s first Tampa show since a 2009 date opening for No Doubt. But that was a very different Paramore – brothers Josh (guitars) and Zac (drums) Farro left the band on sour terms in 2010, and for a while it seemed like the band might implode altogether.
Williams didn’t address the drama directly, but speaking about her lyrics, she alluded to times in her life when “I felt really alone and I felt really judged.” Of Daydreaming, from the group’s self-titled 2013 comeback album, she said: “We were so sick of being in the place we were in. It felt hopeless or something. … 2012 was the year we thought it was all supposed to go away.”
Older hits co-written by Josh Farro, like Misery Business and That’s What You Get, still became all-out scream-alongs at the Hard Rock, with the feisty Williams kicking and pogoing all over the stage. But Paramore marks a winning reinvention for the band, polished and explorative in ways many critics did not expect. Two songs from the new album, the New Wavey opener Still Into You and power-pop closer Ain’t It Fun – with its goofy slappa-da-bass solos from Jeremy Davis – are as fun and genuinely danceable as any songs in the band’s catalog.
And with every release, the band is steadily proving it can dial down the volume and still be compelling. The gently rolling folk ballad In The Mourning – a 2011 single that segued into a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide; how’s that for a commentary on intra-band drama? – hinted at an ever-so-slight wistfulness for the small-town Tennessee life that Williams, 25, has fought so hard to leave in the past.
At only nine songs, this set will have to go down as an appetizer until Paramore -- who performed with Tampa drummer Aaron Gillespie, formerly of Underoath and The Almost -- returns this summer for a concert with Fall Out Boy at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. But it’s much more than fans would have gotten had Paramore kept their date at the Jingle Ball.
“This is way cooler and more fun, and we got to be with you for way longer,” Williams admitted near the end. “It felt a lot like the old times.”
1. Still Into You
2. That’s What You Get
3. Playing God
5. The Only Exception
6. In The Mourning (into Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide)
7. Last Hope
8. Misery Business
9. Ain’t It Fun
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*