2014 marks the last time Paramore made the trip down under to grace us with their phenomenal pop punk sound. Four years later the Tennessee natives return to Melbourne bringing along a new sound with their latest album “After Laughter”.

Dedicated fans crowded the outside of Rod Laver Arena not long before 6pm as they anxiously waited for the gates to open and at approximately 6:30pm that’s exactly what happened as fans excitedly made their way into the arena, cheering once doors finally opened. This reviewer grabbed a cold one and took a seat for the exciting show that would surely follow.

At 7:30pm on the dot, from New York City, Bleachers burst onto the stage full of energy opening with Wild Heart. While I had not heard much of Bleachers prior to this it is fair to say that I am now a fan. The man behind the name Jack Antonoff’s phenomenal stage presence had the crowd full of energy and excitement as the room was full of life, everyone was jumping and having a good time. Bleachers played songs such as Everybody Lost Someone, Hate That You Know Me & Rollercoaster. Jack mentioned how this was their very first show ever in Australia and that himself and the band were honoured to be here.
Having only mostly attended metal gigs in my time, this overall vibe was new to me but rest assured it was welcomed and I was majorly impressed with the use of two drummers, two keyboardists as well as less common instruments being used such as the saxophone that was played by Evan Smith.

At one point Jack took a second once again to address the crowd and express his happiness of being in Australia stating that “Things feel a bit tense in America”, and that it “felt right” to be in Australia. Shortly after Jack acknowledged a drawn out “synth” note being played and begun to tell the story of songs he’d written in the past that would later become Bleachers songs.

Towards the end of the set Jack took the time to introduce each individual member of the live band as they performed a solo each for their respective instruments. Sean Hutchinson & Mike Riddleberger on the drums, Mikey Hart on bass guitar duties as well as some rhythm guitar, Evan Smith on keyboards as well as the saxophone and of course Jake on lead guitar and vocals. We were treated to one drum solo, and then a second, followed by a funky bass solo and then the impressive guitar vs sax solo duel, at one point the crowd was even repeating the notes of the saxophone.

They ended their set with Don’t Take The Money and were left with roaring applause from the crowd.

Fast forward to 8:40pm the crowd was growing more excited by the minute as the “Paramore” chants began and at exactly 8:45pm the lights went out and Paramore took to the stage opening with the first single off “After LaughterHard Times. Immediately after Hard Times came the classic favourite Ignorance which showed Hayley Williams using an actual megaphone to sing some parts of the song instead just using the traditional effect through her mic, it was awesome! Not even stopping for a moment the band continued on keeping the party vibe going with Still Into You the audience were jumping and dancing, the room was just filled with nothing but good vibes with Hayley showing she has no intention of slowing down as her voice was phenomenal as always even while she was dancing.

After a few more songs Hayley stopped to address the crowd, welcoming to “Tour Four”. Throughout the night the band mostly played songs off “After Laughter” I imagine to showcase their newfound sound and maturity. With these songs the party vibe was able to be bought down to a more chilled level showcasing some slower songs and creating a more than welcoming atmosphere for the audience.

Whether you’re new to Paramore or an old dedicated fan there was definitely something for you on this night as they kicked up the vibe some more with another classic That’s What You Get, the crowd sung along with pure joy upon hearing an old favourite, in fact there were a few people around crying tears of joy, I can honestly say I had goose bumps throughout many of these songs.

Taking another moment Hayley expressed her thanks towards us all for being there with them and thanks Bleachers for joining them on “Tour Four”. She then asked the audience if they “bought someone they loved and cared about to the show tonight”, at this point I thought to myself… well I did, but she’s down getting sweaty in “the pit” and I’m up in the seats. I wasn’t even mad though, I had an incredible view!

A highlight of the night for me was the audience holding their phone lights up during the slower songs, having nothing but those phones light up the arena really set the mood for those slower songs to follow.

Hayley once again thanks the crowd for their ongoing support over the years and spoke to us about the release of “Riot!”, it’s hard to believe that was 11 years ago. Hayley mentioned they were all around 17-18 years old back then and what an experience it was getting to see the world as teenagers. The reason for this speech was to introduce the ever classic Misery Business which as expected they absolutely nailed, the room was more alive than ever and I can guarantee everyone in the room suddenly felt their angsty teenage years flooding back to them.

Once they reached the bridge of Misery Business Hayley stopped the band and proceeded to say how the fans who have seen Paramore live before will know exactly what’s happening, luckily she explained to those who hadn’t (like myself) what was about to happen. She invited one lucky fan onto the stage who they just so happened to have met prior to the show to finish the song with them and he nailed it! I almost feel like I got more excited seeing this kid jump on stage with them than he was, but let’s be honest nothing can compare to taking the stage with your idols.

They played Ain’t It Fun before leaving the stage but let’s be honest, we knew that wasn’t it. With the crowd screaming louder than ever, Paramore made their way back to the stage and begun Grow Up.

Up next Hayley invited returning drummer Zac Farro front and centre so he could address the audience and then proceeded to sing a song from his side band HalfNoise.

With the end quickly drawing near, Hayley introduced the members of the band, first the touring members Justin York on rhythm guitar, Joey Howard on bass guitar, Logan MacKenzie on rhythm guitar and keyboards, Joseph Mullins on percussion and taking over for drums while Zac sung, and then official band member Taylor York on lead guitar, and of course returning original drummer Zac Farrow. Hayley mentioned how she “NEVER refers to her bandmates as “Mr” with the exception of on stage as she introduced herself as “Mr Hayley Williams” following laughter from herself and the audience.

Paramore gave their farewells and closed the show with Rose-Coloured Boy while sneaking in the lyrics of Whitney Houston’sI Wanna Dance With Somebody” in place of the original and just like that the show was over.

What an experience!

Bleachers Setlist:

Wild Heart
Everybody Lost Somebody
Hate That You Know Me
Rollercoaster
You’re Still a Mystery
I Wanna Get Better
Don’t Take the Money

Paramore Setlist:

Hard Times (w/ snippet of Blondie’s Heart Of Glass)
Ignorance
Still Into You
Forgiveness
Fake Happy
That’s What You Get
I Caught Myself
Pool
Hate to See Your Heart Break
Caught in the Middle
Told You So
Idle Worship
No Friend (with vocals from Aaron Weiss)
Misery Business (Fan chosen to sing bridge)
Ain’t It Fun

Encore:
Grow Up
French Class (HalfNoise cover)
Rose-Colored Boy (with Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ snippet)

YOU CAN STILL BUY TICKETS TO PARAMORE’S BRISBANE AND AUCKLAND SHOWS HERE!

PHOTOS BY Bethany Mafrici