Paramore at the Air Canada Centre, Nov. 21, 2013
There just aren’t that many modern day rock chicks anymore who can really belt it out.
So I applaud the arrival of Paramore’s Hayley Williams, a whirling dervish of a singer in a compact little body with a big voice and flaming red hair that she likes to whip around more than occasionally.
Granted, Williams and her Tennesse emo-pop-punk outfit, rounded out by bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York, and three other touring musicians on drums (Aaron Gillespie), guitar (Taylor’s brother Justin) and keyboards (Jon Howard), are hardly new.
Paramore, who arrived at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night to play to 5,000 fans in the building’s theatre setup, are now four albums into a career which is as notable for Airplanes (which Williams sang with another artist, B.O.B); their 2008 Grammy nomination for best new artist (they lost to Amy Winehouse); their 2010 hit The Only Exception, and numerous personnel changes.
And it’s been a sometimes rocky road, most significantly the acrimonious departure of brothers and founding members Josh (lead guitarist) and Zac (drummer) Farro in 2010 after a long wait between 2009’s Brand New Eyes and this year’s self-titled fourth album which debuted at No. 1 and spawned the hit Still Into You.
“We’ve had our share of ups and a lot of downs,” admitted Williams before In The Mourning -- which she said was about the band deciding to continue on -- that came towards the end of Paramore’s hour-and-50-minute show.
In a nice mashup, the Stevie Nicks' penned Fleetwood Mac song Landslide was also added into the mix.
“It’s just really good to be here,” said Williams earlier. “This (new) record shows all our different sides. ... The more music that you love, the happier that you will be.”
The two standout moments saw the addition of a student choir in red robes on either side of the stage during Ain’t It Fun and a girl picked out of the crowd to sing alongside Williams on the set ending Still Into You.
Both times the energy ramped up considerably - there were some odd bits of acoustic interludes that dragged the show down - although you could never accuse Williams, who often stood on top of small platform in the centre of the stage, of being lazy.
She never really stopped moving -- except to play the keyboards on When It Rains and Last Hope -- and talked to the audience early and often, especially rambling before Crushcrushcrush.
Williams was also prone to skipping or running wildly around the stage in a black leather jacket - which she had ditched early - shorts and red Doc Martens when she wasn’t waving to fans or even handing one a set list once the show had ended.
The audience, in turn, were happy to sing and clap along on such songs as tThat’s What You Get, Ignorance, Now, Day Dreaming, and Ain’t It Fun.
By the time a stream of green and yellow balloons and bright orange confetti has fallen onto the crowd on the floor, it was an all out celebration as if to say Paramore was grateful to still be here.