Reading Festival: Paramore

Hayley and the boys triumph despite sound problems

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Paramore first played Reading in 2006 on the Lock Up stage. Since then, they have been dramatically rising in stature on the bill, acting as sub headliners to Blink 182 in 2010 and The Cure in 2012. Two years and a giant record later, it’s their time to shine as they share headlining duties with Queens Of The Stone Age

As soon as they kick into Still Into You, it’s plain to see that Hayley Williams, bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York exude confidence, and the crowd lap up every second. Paramore start confidently, streamers bursting out of the stage and sound desk before the song ends, proving they can hold their own at the top. Older songs That’s What You Get and For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic are taken to new realms. Every inch of their more pop-punk orientated material has been meticulously honed into headliner perfection.

Since they last played at Reading, Paramore have been around the world and back, literally sailing the seas on the Parahoy cruise, and this relentless touring has turned the trio (backed up by ex-Underoath drummer Aaron Gillespie) into a well-oiled machine. However, even the slickest machines break down at times and this happens to Paramore at Reading as the PA cuts out twice during Ignorance. Unaware, the band play on and it quickly becomes embarrassing, despite encouragement from the crowd.

After someone in production finally tells Hayley that no one can hear them, they exit the stage. Upon their return Hayley, Jeremy and Taylor all sit on the side of the stage and play a heart-warming and mainly acapella version of The Only Exception. As the song climaxes, the rest of the band kick in behind them and the entire scene turns from potential farce into something quite special and unique.

Consummate professionals, the band proceed to give 110% for the rest of the performance, including a huge rendition of Misery Business where a fan dressed as a dinosaur is invited to sing the final chorus with Hayley. It looks like it makes her life — let alone her day — and little touches like this still cause mass hysteria. For the chosen one, it’s a night they’ll never forget.

Giving a big shout out to QOTSA, Paramore finish off their set with Ain’t It Fun as more and more confetti bursts from all sides and dozens of glitter balls glimmer in the lights. A lesser band would have let the power cut destroy their performance, but Paramore held their own and pretty soon, they won’t even need to co-headline. The top billing is theirs for the taking.