Paramore @ The CIA, Cardiff. 14/12/2009

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With the sudden influx of mass support for Paramore increasing due to their song Decode being used as the soundtrack for the ever so popular Twilight Saga’s first film, conveniently called Twilight, it came as no surprise that tickets for this gig were elusive to say the least. Thankfully, 6 tickets were secured by yours truly a first time poster here at WICID! for me and 5 other friends. Soon after, it was announced that the Paramore gig at Cardiff’s CIA were all sold out. Lucky us.

The downside of this, however, was the fact that our tickets were bought all the way back in September. The agonizing 3 month wait leading up to the day were almost unbearable. Constant reminders by myself and the others on a day-to-day basis were a common recurrence by early October – “Only 90 days ‘til Paramore!” one of the others announced. 90 days later, we all realised that we’d counted wrongly. There was still a week to go. By this point, we were almost tearing each others hair out, let alone our own, in sheer desperation of seeing Paramore in concert.

Finally, the day was upon us.

Naturally, I woke up earlier than usual. It was a Monday, so waking up early was no shock to me, but when I saw that it was just gone 5:30 AM, I knew that I needed more sleep. No such sleep came. I was bleary eyed when the clock struck 12. Nevertheless, I ploughed through right until the final moments of the day – I didn’t plan on missing any of the performance.

5 hours later, the 7 of us were sat in Pizza Hut, taking full advantage of the restaurant’s Happy Hour service (from 2pm 6pm, a very long hour if you ask me), I won’t bore you with the details of what we ate, but I can tell you for certain that there was Pizza involved. Funny that.

As 6:30pm approached, we ventured from Pizza Hut, across Cardiff to the CIA. We were greeted by one of the less exciting sights that we were to witness in the next few hours. A queue. Not a problem, we would simply walk to the back of the queue and queue like normal Brits do. One issue, though. We couldn’t actually see the end of the queue. As we walked along, passing fellow Paramore fans (or Twilight fansI’ll let you decide that one), it seemed the queue would never end. We walked and walked and walked until finally we reached the end of the queue. We stopped and waited, occasionally shuffling forward as the rest of the queue also shuffled forward. Eventually, the 6 of us were inside the concert hall itself, 2 of us with brand new Tour T-Shirts, the word PARAMORE blazing across our chests. It was here. After counting, counting, counting wrongly and counting again the days gone by, we had arrived. The lights dimmed, the crowd screamed, and Paramore began.

Err, not quite, unfortunately. There were 3 support acts to endure first. We started with Now, Now Every Children immediately winning the award I’d made up especially for them “The strangest and most questionable whether it actually makes any sense Award.” A prize well deserved. Due to Paramore’s huge set, this group were only allocated the very front of the CIA’s stage, which sadly for them did not help their efforts to win some fans. The music, however, was surprisingly listenable, a very unique style that hardcore indie fans will admire. Not one for my own personal collection, but satisfactory nevertheless.

The second support act was one of more popularity than the first, having released a self-titled EP back in 2006. Paper Route had a small following from a group of fans all the way at the front of the crowd (you know, where the bouncers are, hardcore territory), singing along to every word of their 5 song set. These were much more to my taste, with some good guitar riffs and banging of drums, they certainly caught my eye. Their following will have gained at least one new member after their outing, undoubtedly many, many more.

The third and final support act is one that surely most of you will have heard of. This band has risen to huge fame since their release of their first studio album “Take Off Your Colours”. Yes, you guessed it – You Me At Six were on. These really got the crowd going, their light bouncy style of music got people of all shapes and sizes jumping, giving an all important boost in excitement before the main event. However one song in particular got the crowd buzzing. Their penultimate song features a song titled “Always Attract”, an acoustic love song. The song contains a duet between a male and a female vocalist. The male vocals were easily supplied by Josh Franceschi, but who on earth could supply the female vocals? Oh, of course! Miss Hayley Williams! And there she appeared, along side Franceschi, singing probably the best song You Me At Six have ever written. The vocals from both were spotless, the song ended, and You Me At Six parted the stage to huge applause from the crowd. Whether applause out of enjoyment, or the sheer desperation for Paramore, however, will never be answered. My applause was a mixture of both.

The lights came on, and a sense of anxiousness could be felt in the thousands crammed inside the “really big room” (as Hayley Williams described it) of the CIA. This was the perfect time to quickly run off to the toilet before the gig started. I did so, and returned with seconds to spare. No later than I’d got my place in the crowd, the lights went out; the screams pierced my ear drums. One man and his guitar (Josh Farro lead guitar) had walked on, playing a very-Paramore repeated strumming, as one by one, the members made their way onto the stage, take their weapons of choice, and begin playing. What followed was sheer hysteria, as Paramore finally played their tunes.

Paramore played all their big hits. Ignorance, Brick by Boring Brick, Misery Business, I Caught Myself, Decode, Emergency. Along with a mixture of favourite album tracks from their 3 albums (a favourite of mine, The Only Exception, an acoustic love song, with Josh Farro taking his acoustic guitar to a seat next to Hayley Williams before she unleashed her effortless voice onto the onlookers). This was all that anyone had hoped for from Paramore.

Also, in a world of high-tech gadgets, guess what effects Paramore used – 2 guitars, a bass guitar, a set of drums, a microphone and some lights. That was it. This was a true concert, no fancy light shows designed to wow and amaze us all, they just played their music, and incredibly well at that. Paramore are, well, not old-fashioned, but they stick to what they do best good music. They keep the crowd’s eyes on them the whole time, no clever videos behind them or pictures, just them. An honest performance from an honest band, that’s how I can sum it up perfectly.

Sadly, there was one downside to the concert – Paramore were only on stage for an hour or so. Being the headline act, you’d expect a good 90 minutes 120 minutes from them (like Green Day did when I saw them back in October, where they performed for just over 3 hours, but that’s a different story, one I may go into detail in the future), but sadly 70 minutes was all we experienced, and considering 3 albums, I was expecting more, as only three songs from Riot! being performed. Maybe too much time was given to the supports or maybe too many supports all together but what I can safely say is that the concert was definitely value for money. £22 for 4 bands? Effectively £5.50 per band, and that’s a bargain in my book.

To summarise, the concert was excellent, with all 4 bands providing solid music (the standard increasing to its peak with Paramore) that the crowd enjoyed. They will most likely return to the venue in future, and when they do, I’m already in the queue on Ticketmaster.


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