Entertainment Music
Entertainment Entertainment Music

Concert review: Paramore at Chicago Theatre

The question prompted by this year’s remarkably underwhelming array of (repeat) Lolla headliners (including The Killers, Vampire Weekend and Mumford and Sons) was, “Where are all the headliner-caliber rock bands that have never played Lolla and, you know, are actually good?”

At Thursday's sold-out Chicago Theatre show, Paramore had the answer. Tiny Hayley Williams is leading a giant revolution, shooting sweet darts into the hearts and lungs of fans that belt out every cathartic word. (“Chicago, you’re making us blush up here,” the singer said in response to the extremely enthusiastic crowd.) At times the 24-year-old Williams, whose half-orange, half-pink hair mirrors the band’s aggression underscored by vulnerability, barely needed to sing, and she knew when to let the fans have their moment: During “Now,” a fantastic track from the band’s terrific, chart-topping new album, Williams wailed, “If there’s a future, we want it” and let the young crowd howl “Now!” If that’s not an anthem for a generation, I don’t know what is.

Expanded to a sextet on stage, the Tennessee trio represents the rare female-fronted rock band whose dynamic presence out front blends perfectly with the equally effective music behind her. (Don’t get me started on some of the new No Doubt stuff.) Paramore is just flat-out fun.

During the 95-minute set, seamless transitions between albums highlighted the depth and catchiness of the group’s catalog—among many highlights, “Misery Business,” “Looking Up” and “Whoa” were particular standouts—while sampling intelligently from the new self-titled record, which only gets better on repeat listens. The audience happily filled in for the gospel choir on “Ain’t It Fun,” while a handful of members selected from the masses happily sang “Anklebiters” on stage as Williams encouraged everyone in the venue to dismiss self-consciousness and party in a safe, judgment-free space.

In fact, Williams’ voice isn’t extraordinary, and she’s exposed in ballads like the just-OK “The Only Exception.” The show’s energy also dipped on the rare occasion she just stood at the mic and sang, as she did on “Let the Flames Begin.” Otherwise, Paramore played with force and focus, making good use of lights, background video and streamers/confetti falling from the ceiling. Not that they needed it—with material this solid and a fanbase this passionate, the “Looking Up” refrain of “We’re just getting started” still sounds true four years later.

As for the 40-minute opening set by L.A. dance-rockers Kitten, I can’t wait until their writing catches up with their performance. Singer Chloe Chaidez is explosive and even aggressive, her antics ranging from spontaneously sitting on an unwitting security guard’s shoulders to frequently smacking the backing musicians cranking out songs that sometimes sound like the Joy Formidable bowing to the ‘80s and losing the hooks during their trip back. With the 18-year-old Chaidez’s enormous voice and massive presence, though—I’m sure I’m not the only one who got sweat in the eye during her sprint from the back of the room back to the stage—it almost doesn’t matter. (Now’s an apt time to note how little 20-year-old Selena Gomez delivers in the vocal and performance categories, BTW.) In a more intimate club space, where mood can better compensate for music’s lack of urgency, Kitten would absolutely kill.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Yep, I took my dad to Lollapalooza

    I suppose I should be old enough to know by now that something doesn't become un-cool just because your parent is there.

  • Lollapalooza style portraits

    Lollapalooza style portraits

    Concertgoers pose at the three-day fest in Grant Park.

  • Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    And just like that, there’s only one day left of Lolla. Here’s what stood out to us from day 2. Best: The Tallest Man on Earth: Maybe it was just a right-mood, right-set situation, but boy this was the perfect mid-day act to take a breather, sit in the sun, and just chill and listen to and enjoy....

  • 50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    Shots in The Dark at Parliament Nightclub with 50 Cent and The Underground Nightclub with Wyclef Jean and Joey Fatone July 31st

  • Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    One day down! Here’s the best and worst we saw at Lolla on Friday, plus a few superlatives from day 1. Best: Anyone who knows me knows I was bound to pick Paul McCartney as my favorite act of the day. The Beatle came out and gave it his all with more than two hours of hits, tributes and jokes about...

  • Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    What can you really say about Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, pop music pioneer, worldwide cultural icon, and all-around great guy, that hasn't already been said? I mean, seriously. With the Beatles changing music for the better, becoming a pop culture institution and being "more popular...

Comments
Loading
70°