Review by Vanessa Monaghan
Photos by Alessio Michelini
Paramore kicked off another set of gigs in Ireland and the UK in Dublin on November 6th, wrapped snugly around an MTV EMA appearance. Hardly surprising then that B.O.B was also on the bill.
First up though were Scuba Dice, a pop punk foursome from Wexford who’ve changed a hell of a lot since their spec wearing (shouldn’t they be sponsored by…) ‘You’re a Star’ days. It’s all for the better. Throughout their half hour set, Scuba Dice got the ‘up for it’ audience in the palm of their hands, singing back lyrics.
The band gave their all and you could see they were loving every minute, they showed great showmanship and interacted well with the crowd. They look cool and sound cool, more should be made of the pop punk scene in Ireland.
Next up was B.O.B, Bobby Ray to his Mum ‘but you can call me Bob’. While there were questions about how his more pop urban sound would go down at the gig, there needn’t have been. B.O.B. fitted right in.
Armed with a fistful of hits and a great live band complete with backing singers and dancers, it didn’t take B.O.B. long to have himself ‘a crew right here’. The set started with ‘I See Ya’ from his current album ‘The Adventures of Bobby Ray’ before heading straight into ‘The Kids’. Dare I say it, you wouldn’t miss Janelle Monae on this live version.
The pop punk audience embrace the hip hop vibe, arms in the air side to side and when B.O.B. is joined onstage by Playboy Trey for ‘Bet I’, the O2 became a huge hiphop club.
While his album features many collaborations B.O.B works the live set well so you don’t miss the other artists including Lupe Fiasco on ‘Past My Shades’. His command over the audience is incredible helped by an incredible live sound and onstage energy.
There’s another twist in the B.O.B. tale as he plays guitar on stage and looks like a proper rock guitarist. Two songs into his guitar playing he swaps his Strat for a Gretsch for ‘Letters from Vietnam’. Nice! The track has a slight blues vibe to it when played live. The audience didn’t react as well to this as his other material, though that’s hardly surprising, it’s not a track that would be as instantly catchy or have immediate hooks but features some great guitar work. Onstage, B.O.B. bounces off the other guitarist on and takes the opportunity to include the bass player and key player.
From the opening notes of ‘Magic’ the O2 starts shaking at its foundations. The audience becomes a mass of bouncing in unison. The energy from the stage is quite amazing, with B.O.B. being quite animated and posing in almost superhero/cartoon character mode.
B.O.B. leaves the stage tipping fans hands, no need for the band to sing the chorus, the audience are doing that. The track ends to deafening screams before Bruno Mars’ vocals can be heard on a backing track. ‘Nothing on You’ goes down storm showing B.O.B.’s mass appeal. The end of the song gets a reggae vibe before the audience finish it off acapella style.
B.O.B then asked for more energy, if that’s possible before launching into an uptempo version of MGMT’s Kids which has the venue erupting again.
There’s only one way B.O.B could finish his set. He is joined by Hayley Williams onstage for ‘Airplanes’. The decibel level rises even more. Hair in pigtails and dressed in a puff coat, Williams struts her hiphop stuff across the stage to the delight of her adoring followers.
On this performance B.O.B. showed himself to be a talented performer and musician, I’d love to see him headline his own show. Extremely enjoyable.
It wasn’t long before PAR-A-MORE chants were echoing around the building. A curtain draped across the front of the stage, showed the band’s silhouettes before they appeared. The deafening screams are a full time thing as the band start into ‘Ignorance’.
The teenage angst ridden audience are hanging on every word but it’s hard to hear Hayley Williams’ vocals from this writers vantage point. Williams runs across the stage, making up for the lack of movement from the rest of the band. By the end of ‘Feeling Sorry’ she stands on a box at the front of the stage, statue like, as the the audience shriek a bit more.
The drums are set up on stage slightly to the left so there is more more one side. The set decoration is a simple series of 4 light screens, 3 along the top and a wider one on the bottom. Throughout the night the visuals vary from home movies, to stop motion animations to basic animated text. But it works. Depending on the lighting for the song, there are also about six small stacks of lights inbetween the instruments onstage.
The band work their way through fan favourites from their three albums. ‘That’s What You Got’, ‘For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic’ and ‘Emergency’ follow. The audience love it but there’s a distinct lack of different guitar sounds through these songs. Hayley Williams seems to carry the band with her ‘frontperson’ skills.
I’m still waiting to be blown away by the band when a backstage couch is brought on stage and the band start an acoustic set. First up, a Loretta Lynn cover ‘You’re Not Woman Enough to Take My Man’, which Williams nails.
Williams mentioned to the crowd’s delight that they sound ‘ridiculously good’ while sitting up on the back of the couch. Then we enter Axl Rose territory. Glow sticks are being thrown on stage, missing the band but Williams says that the next one that comes in our direction, you’ll get these (holding a bundle of glow sticks) in your face.’ A Teddy Bear is thrown at the stage but he’s ok.
The band continue with its acoustic set with ‘Where the lines overlap’. The audience help out with every word of the song. It ends with Williams wanting to address the ‘issue’ of the glow sticks, mentioning sarcastically that they must have techno beats and that the show must be a rave. She then asks the engineer if she can get auto tune on her microphone before saying that ‘I’m a singer and real singers don’t need auto tune’. Maybe but no need for the attitude love, the people who bought the glow sticks also paid to see you.
The tempo is taken back up a notch with the full rock ‘Crushcrushcrush’, where Williams has to duck to miss a flying shoe thrown in her direction. She throws it back to the audience, she also throws the handful of glow sticks.
At 23, Williams knows how to command her audience and runs to the edge of the stage, revving them up again. At this point of the show there is also a lot more movement from the other members of the band on stage.
During ‘Pressure’, Williams asks who has been to a Paramore gig before and who hasn’t and welcomes the newbies to the Paramore family. She introduces the band before guitarist Josh Farro returns the honour to rapturous applause.
The white/blue lights from mobile phones and the yellow glow from lighters light the auditorium for ‘The Only Exception’. A brief interlude follows before the band return for ‘Brick by Boring Brick’ and ‘Misery Business’. Megan from Donegal is brought on stage and sings with the band and fair play to her, gives it socks.
The devoted audience loved it, hanging on every move Williams and the band made. For this reviewer though, the singles from the band stood head and shoulders above their other material, being musically more varied. The acoustic set did it’s job well at splitting up the main set from what could have been just one song running into another.
The audience loved it, I’m still waiting to get it.