Hayley Williams is quite the little firecracker.
Physically, the Paramore singer sort of looks like a firework, with her bright red hair and ruler-straight body. Personality-wise, she's a dynamic burst of energy. At her show at the Dodge Theatre last night, she ran around the stage, igniting the crowd by jumping up and down, whipping her hair around and giving the audience pep talks to get more energetic.
She even singled out audience members who were sitting down in the theater, telling them if they wanted to sit down they could have stayed at home on their couches. But this was a rock show, and if people wanted to get their money's worth, they would become involved with the party she seemed to be hosting.
But she didn't want things to get too wild. When a fight broke out in the crowd, the feisty 21-year-old called the pugilists out: "Security guy, just push them out. Don't listen to them...If I see someone fight again, I'm going to punch myself in the face until I bleed, and then you're going to feel guilty."
She led the band as they played songs off their three albums, with the majority coming from their most recent, Brand New Eyes. Following a killer performance at this past Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards, the band was energetic and put just as much effort into this concert as they did that performance, though it was evident Williams' voice was a little hoarse during the set. Her vocals got drowned out a bit because there were three guitars, a bass and drums, but the packed crowd sang along to every song and gladly helped sing when she threw the microphone out.
While she impressively sprinted across the stage while not missing a beat vocally, she sounded best during the acoustic songs. The band paid homage to their hometown of Nashville with a cover of Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)", and they brought out a couch and lamp on-stage to create a living room vibe for a string of their own acoustic originals.
After that, it was back to rocking out, though. While the band utilized props such as dangling light bulbs a la their "Ignorance" video, plus a couple cute new videos made for the tour, the show relied on Williams' crowd interaction, both during the performances and between songs. She made fans laugh constantly, such as when she reminisced about when the band was first starting out and toured in a van.
"It smelled like Taco Bell and farts all the time," Williams said, "but it was awesome."
She may be only 5"2 and wore a Girl Scout sash, but Williams managed to be a commanding force to be reckoned with, spouting off on everything from her new shoes to the way she feels about music.
Fireworks sprinkled down from the ceiling before the encore, a fitting cap to the show. For the closer "Misery Business," Williams invited three fans on-stage to help her sing. One young man kissed her on the cheek, but ever the independent woman, Williams declared, "Never kiss a girl unless she says she wants you to," before sending the guy to the other side of the stage.
Then huge bursts of confetti flew into the sky, and no matter how many people may call the band boring, they proved they can still throw one heck of a party.
Personal Bias: This was the third time I saw Paramore, and I own all their studio albums.
The Crowd: High school and college age kids, with a good mix of boys and girls.
Overheard in the crowd: "I feel old," by a woman in her late 20's.
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Random Notebook Dump: Sara Quin, of openers Tegan and Sara, makes a really good boy.
That's What You Get
For a Pessimist I'm Pretty Optimistic
You Ain't Woman Enough (Loretta Lynn cover)
When It Rains
Where the Lines Overlap
Crush Crush Crush
The Only Exception
Brick by Boring Brick