Photos by Alexa Chihos
The one birthday present I give myself every year is a couple of days off from shows. I know that seems insane. Most people want to go out on their birthday but, as someone who is out almost every night, staying in is an absolute treat. Well, today is my birthday so that means I’m off for the next couple of days and, as much as I am excited for a couple of days off, I knew I needed a show that would help get me through a short break. I knew that out of all of the amazing shows happening on Wednesday night, Paramore was going to do the trick.
If you frequently use cats in your imagery, I’m going to be in love with you right off the bat. Add a perfect sound, innocent look, angsty sound, and a truly remarkable live performance and, well, you will be my new favorite band. Let me introduce you to my new favorite band- The Linda Lindas. The Linda Lindas were the first band to take the stage at the Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday night. Although people were still flooding into the arena meaning there was a lot of people watching that I had to get done, my eyes were glued to the stage and my ears stuck to the speakers.
Looking at this band, it’s a bit tough to really figure them out. They definitely have a DIY-punk vibe to their look but it’s almost too random to really seem cohesive. I love this about The Linda Lindas because I feel like it nods towards their versatility. There were points throughout their set on Wednesday night that leaned into the indie-pop vein of things and others that definitely had a more punk attitude that had me wanting to shoot out of my chair and start shoving those around me. I refrained (somehow) but definitely got lost in the energy they brought to the massive stage.
I would give next to anything to see this band perform in an intimate space like The 7th Street Entry but I know that will probably not be happening. Even though this band is young (and I mean super young– their ages range from 12 to 18), they are making waves in the music world and are playing on bigger stages than most bands can even dream of. I love to see it. If you’re ever having doubts about the future of music, I highly suggest you dig into The Linda Lindas a bit. Young and with a fire in their souls– they are the future.
Following The Linda Lindas was a band that I’ve been slightly addicted to lately- FOALS. Hailing from Oxford, England, FOALS is one of those bands that have really put their heart and soul into the music they make and that’s what makes them a stand out in my mind. That heart and soul comes through loud and clear every time they perform but I was afraid it wouldn’t translate into the giant arena… I was afraid for nothing.
As soon as the band kicked into their eight-song set I felt myself get lost in the atmosphere they were creating. Their vibe was definitely a bit different than the punky attitude of The Linda Lindas but it was just as amazing. FOALS focused more on the groove and funk of the music rather than the angst and energy that The Linda Lindas did. This kept the energy high while shifting the feeling of the night a bit. Although their set felt short, it was an impactful set that I think was perfect for a crowd that may not be familiar with the band. Much like The Linda Lindas, FOALS has been making waves throughout the industry for years and it was nice to see them play a show that seemed to reflect all of the blood, sweat, and tears that they have put into this.
FOALS and The Linda Lindas had already given the packed audience a hell of a show but we still had the main event to go and, right at 9 PM, it happened– Paramore took the stage and the audience broke down into a mix of nostalgic emotion and pure energy. Playing for just about two hours and performing right around twenty tracks, I was in awe throughout Paramore’s performance for many reasons. Before I get into said reasons, let’s dig into this band a bit.
Full disclosure– I was one of those emo kids that hated Paramore. I definitely used the words “Paramore” and “posers” in the same sentence multiple times and just straight up did not give this band the time of day back when they blasted onto the pop-punk scene. I was young and dumb. What can I say. Now that I’m older, I am realizing just how solid this band is and how I was an idiot for trying to deny their goodness. Watching them perform on Wednesday night drove that point home and, by the end of the performance, they had me singing and dancing along to their infectious tracks as if they had been my favorite band for decades.
Paramore is a huge band and the Xcel Energy Center is a huge arena. There’s no denying either of those statements yet somehow Paramore had everyone feeling like they were right there. I’m not sure how they did it and it has been a long time since I’ve felt that from a band in an arena but the way they manipulated the stage using a floating “ceiling” and vocalist Hayley Williams’ just overall demeanor made it feel like a club show, not an arena performance. I wasn’t the only one who felt this. It was clear that everyone around me was getting the same feeling with the way they would reach out to try and “grab” Hayley’s hand when she would reach out into the audience or the way that everyone seemed to dance along with her. It was bizarre in all of the best ways.
Although I find Paramore’s songs to be more fun than overly emotional, I loved the way people were having such a visceral reaction to the music and performance around me. I really felt this as the band played through “Running Out of Time”. Right before playing the song, Hayley gave the audience a heartfelt thank you for all of the support over the years. She went on to say that the next song had nothing to do with that and more to do with being perpetually late. “Running Out of Time” is a fun song that was enhanced by Hayley doing the “running man” dance on stage. I picked up on the fun and quirkiness of this song instantly but some of the fans around me seemed to be getting emotional over the track. At first, I didn’t quite understand why as this is truly just a fun track but then I realized it’s not for me to understand. I have those songs that come and instantly make me teary-eyed for no apparent reason and this was just one of those songs for some people. I didn’t feel the same emotions during Paramore’s set that a lot of people in the audience did but I did feel a strong appreciation for this band and everything they have accomplished and continue to accomplish.
I don’t have another show until Sunday but I think I’ll be okay. The energy and passion I got from all three bands on Wednesday night will be more than enough to get me through.