Paramore / You Me At Six / Twenty One Pilots
Allphones Arena, Sydney 11/01/2014
Review: Sarah O’Connor | Photos: Peter Zaluzny
Bursting on to a bare stage in a sparsely populated Allphones Arena, Twenty One Pilots AKA singer/rapper/pianist/hype man/ukulele slinger Tyler Joseph and drummer/hype man Josh Dun made for a confusing first impression of the night’s festivities. Despite the extreme over-reliance on backing tracks, the duo’s brash dance/pop/rap collision, slick stage show, not-quite synchronised dance moves and creepy balaclavas had the growing crowd completely enthralled in short measure. These guys will be huge.
It’s been a good while since You Me At Six have graced our shores, and with a shiny new album to push, Josh and the boys set about winning the unfamiliar crowd over with their polished tunes as well as a good serving of showmanship. With a large portion of the crowd recent converts to Paramore, no doubt thanks to their successful radio blitz in the last year, You Me At Six had their work cut out to introduce themselves and snag some new fans, which they did with aplomb. New tracks “Lived A Lie” and “Fresh Start Fever” went down a treat while older numbers “Liquid Confidence”, “Crash” and “Underdog” had the rapidly filling arena going crazy, even if the exhortations for more crowd surfing may as well have been in Spanish for the good they did the audience. Who would’ve guessed that 10,000 people flashing their mobile phone torches in a darkened arena would look so magical?
Of course, the highlights from the supporting acts were soon forgotten as Paramore’s classy stage show got under way. Now comfortable as a three piece with another three back up musicians, the set design, lighting and back drop took the show to another level – somewhere in the realm of seizure-inducing spectacle judging by the reaction of the hyperventilating masses on the floor. Though that may have just been Hayley Williams’ extremely tight leather pants.
Williams may be one of the tiniest women in existence but that voice filled the cavernous surrounds with ease, Paramore tearing through a large chunk of their latest record in a compelling fashion (including the ukulele interludes which gave the show a certain vaudeville charm.) Of course the classics were aired, receiving an expectedly rapturous reception. The real surprise now is just how many of them Paramore have – it’s not just the Misery Business show anymore. From spiky rock (“Ignorance”) through goth melodrama (“Decode”) to tear jerker ballads (“The Only Exception”) and fizzy pop (“Still Into You”), not to mention the less developed early pop-punk, the band can seemingly turn their hand to any musical permutation with flair and knock out a hit.
Steering clear of a moody, sullen stage show or scripted, eye rolling banter, the vibe coming from the stage (if you missed it from Williams’ frequent chats with the crowd) was one of all inclusive, all ages fun; a far cry from the (allegedly) cool and dangerous world of rock. Be it singling out dancers in the bleachers for putting in extra effort, joking about conning Metallica into opening for them at Soundwave across the park last year or a lengthy discussion on the inspiration for non-album track “In The Mourning”, this was the feel good hit of the summer with nary a joint to be seen.
Special mention must go to drum monster Aaron Gillespie (formerly of Underoath), whose ferocious playing added another level of power to the overwhelming proceedings plus the addition of an actual choir to the gospel flavoured funk of “Ain’t It Fun”. And they were right, it sure was.