Just before I was old enough to not have a bedtime, I’d always linger in front of the TV to watch Rove Live. It was this Aussie talk show that was absolutely hilarious. Rove had a way with celebrities that was all his own. You know, before he sold out, became Rove LA and only appeared on pay TV. But that’s neither here nor there. At the end of each of his interviews, Rove would ask his celebrity guests the same question:
“Who would you turn gay for?”
It became such a regular occurrence that when gay former Greens senator Bob Brown came on the show, Rove asked him who he would turn straight for. For the record, it was Missy Higgins.
I never actively thought of an answer for this question until I discovered a certain band with a certain firecracker frontwoman.
The band? Paramore.
The firecracker? Hayley Williams.
Which brings me to the night of Thursday, the ninth of January at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
As a rule, I don’t care if I go to a concert stag (can girls say that? Let’s pretend they can) or with a group of people. If one of my favourite bands are playing close by and I can afford the tickets? I’m there. If someone wants to come with me, great! I was telling my boyfriend at the time about a concert (coincidentally, it was a You Me At Six gig, but I’ll get back to those guys) I’d been to and he asked me the question everyone does:
“Who’d you go with?”
“No one,” I replied.
“What, seriously? If I’d known that I would’ve gone with you.”
I just looked at him.
To fill in the blanks, he listened to rap, hip-hop, and trance. You Me At Six is decidedly not any of those. They’re pop punk. So the idea that he would pay money to watch a band that he doesn’t like just so I wouldn’t be alone seemed like a massive waste to me. Concerts are for the fans. If you’re not a fan, then get out of the stadium.
I’d discovered that Paramore were coming to Brisbane months ago and casually let it slip to a friend. Next thing I knew, we were going to Paramore together.
Then they announced the supports, and I was ecstatic. You Me At Six? Fuck. Yes. The other guys didn’t matter all that much to me (sorry Twenty One Pilots). So my friend and I decided to use their set as extra drinking time.
Have you ever gone to a concert tipsy/drunk? I highly recommend it. It makes dancing so much easier. Especially with an injury. (Sidenote: my joggers gave me a massive blister while I was on the treadmill. I found shoes that didn’t rub so I wore them to the concert. I was too drunk on vodka and excitement to realise all the jumping and dancing would make my shoes rub that damn blister anyway…).
That man that you can barely see is Mr Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six. I found these guys on the sampler CD attached to Rock Sound years ago. It was love at first ear-gasm. Josh’s voice is just…wow. I have seen them live three times now. Once at Soundwave where I almost passed out under the Brisbane sun, amid a crush of fans clad in black.
You Me At Six never disappoint. Franceschi has an energy about him that just fires up the crowd. Plus that voice…And he was wearing leather! Goddamn. A sexy British musician wearing leather? I’m surprised us girls didn’t rush the stage.
I hated that these guys only got a half hour set. But, apparently, they’re coming back later this year. Headlining. Guess who’ll be in the front row?
I was surprised when they played Liquid Confidence. It’s a slower song, but one of my absolute favourites. Thing is, supports are supposed to rile up the crowd; get them ready for the main event. But You Me At Six was having none of it. They’re actually a pretty big deal in the UK. So they slowed us all right down and played their set the way THEY wanted to play it.
They ended the set with a song called Underdog. How damn appropriate. Not only one of their better known, and catchier, songs but I like the metaphor. You Me At Six are underdogs on this tour, overpowered by Paramore’s star status. But does that stop them? Hell no!
And I’m down,
Down but definitely not out (definitely not out)
Yeah, why did you call me again?
Now, for the main event. Paramore. These guys have undergone some serious changes in their time. From the angst and distortion of Riot! to the folksy, mellower stuff of their self-titled album, Paramore have grown up right under our noses. I love Paramore for that. They never sold out, they never did what was expected. They could have relased five more albums exactly like Riot!, which went platinum back in ’08, and made a tonne of money. But Paramore isn’t like that. Music means something to them. So they are honest with it and therefore, honest with us.
Paramore do respect how much we all love Riot!, though, and played a few tracks from it for us. Including “When It Rains“, a slow song. A ballad, even. But one that resonates with so many people, particularly teenagers. Particularly me.
You made yourself a bed
At the bottom of the blackest hole
And convinced yourself that it’s not the reason
You don’t see the sun anymore
I will always love that album. It’ll be one of the ones I subject my grandkids to when I’m forced to babysit. You know, way in the future when everyone’s forgotten what a guitar looks like.
I am not the biggest fan on Paramore’s new album. Shock horror. I fell in love with Paramore for their distortion, so the shift away from that has been problematic for me. I even had issues with Brand New Eyes, but that’s just me being scared of change. All that being said, two of the songs on their new album got me through a really difficult few months. And both of those songs were played. “Grow Up” actually opened the set. I went ape. Well, as ape as I could go. The alcohol had started to wear off and my foot was aching. But it was so worth it. I jumped and screamed with the best of them.
Then, later “Ain’t It Fun” started playing. And Paramore brought a CHOIR on stage. In full choir regalia and everything. It was incredible. Especially when the choir, Hayley, and the crowd all started singing the punchline:
Don’t go cryin’ to your mother, ’cause you’re on your own in the real world
I can think of so many people that remind me of that line.
This concert made me re-evaluate my stance on this LP. Some of the songs I’d cast aside sparkled under the stage lights and the vibe from the crowd. I think I’ll have to lock myself in my room and do a little soul-searching. How dare I second guess Paramore?!
One of the best, and worst, things about Paramore is that Hayley is constantly tellig the fans how much she, and the rest of the band, love us. It’s incredible because it leads to awesome decisions like getting a member of the audience to sing the bridge of “Misery Business” right next to Hayley. But telling the fans how much you love them takes up time. Time that could be used playing more of that Paramore goodness. I honestly think we could have heard at least two more songs if Hayley had curbed her speeches, just a little. That’s not me complaining, mind you. It’s just a suggestion. I guess Hayley needs a bit of a break on stage every once in a while because She. Goes. Off. It’s like she’s a redheaded Energiser bunny. She goes and goes and goes.
The reason I would totally turn gay for Hayley is that she is everything a female celebrity, for lack of a better word, should be. She dresses how she wants, eats what she wants, does what she wants and doesn’t let anyone dictate any other way to be. I’ve seen so many girls rocking the “Misery Business” hair. And I actually dyed my hair the colour Hayley’s was in the “Decode” video. She has the perfect figure, but it’s not shoved down your throat. Except for this particular night. She was wearing a crop top and leather tights. Way to make me feel inadequate, Hayley!
The night ended with the Paramore song of the moment: “Still Into You“. With Paramore, I can never tell which song they’ll end with. I’m always convinced it’ll be “Misery Business”, but at Soundwave however many years ago it was “Decode” (because it was the Twilight song. And Twilight was still a thing), and then the last time I saw them, the song was “Brick by Boring Brick“. I love that Paramore do that. It’s a nice surprise. Even though I should’ve guessed this time: there were balloons strapped to the ceiling. If you watched the video like you were supposed to, you’ll understand what I mean.
I’ve rambled for long enough now, so I’ll leave you with this:
– See Paramore live if you can.
– Give You Me At Six a go.
– Never ever ever rely on your first impression of an album.