paramore philly On The Road: Paramore, Tegan and Sara Take On Philly

Paramore photo by Andy Kahl/Wonderful Machine

One of the summer’s hottest tours features both Paramore and Tegan and Sara, and together they among our featured On the Road artists. The two groups played Philly this week, and we wanted to share an in-depth review by Chris Tharp, along with some stellar concert shots by Andy Kahl (which are broken into two galleries: Paramore and Tegan and Sara).

I could hardly wait to see [lastfm]Paramore[/lastfm] go on as I arrived at the Festival Pier for their Honda Civic Tour, but the anticipation from the overheated crowd had already reached a fever pitch. And I’m thrilled to report that they did not disappoint! They kept us in heightened anticipation as their silhouettes towered above us behind a black curtain and Josh Farro’s electric guitar zapped to life. Ranging from angsty punk to acoustic folk to embracing their Nashville country origins, the eclectic Paramore commanded the stage for an hour and a half and blew everyone away.

tegansara6 385 On The Road: Paramore, Tegan and Sara Take On Philly

Tegan and Sara; photo by Andy Kahl

Truth be told, I was most excited for Paramore’s opener, the adorable Canadian duo [lastfm]Tegan and Sara[/lastfm]. Even though I was pleasantly surprised when most of their set list came off of my two favorite albums–So Jealous, and their new Sainthood–they didn’t (maybe even couldn’t) live up to my expectations. It’s inevitable there would be something lost between the carefully mixed and nuanced sound on their records and a live performance, it’s just unfortunate. A more intimate venue than the wide-open Festival Pier would have been more befitting their humble personality.

That said, they still put on quite a show. Their fans went berserk, so much so that [lastfm]Tegan and Sara[/lastfm] interrupted themselves in the middle of Nineteen to stop a fight that broke out in the front row. They exclaimed that looking out at the crowd was like “watching babies being born, except teenagers!” They closed with the exhilarating Northshore off their new album and threw it out to the judge in California who repealed Prop. 8 to enthusiastic applause. In the end, not a bad set at all!

paramore6 385 On The Road: Paramore, Tegan and Sara Take On Philly

Paramore; photo by Andy Kahl

Then came the moment everyone had been waiting for. Stage presence is a lost art that is not lost on spitfire 21-year-old Hayley Williams who captivated the audience, belting out the restless lyrics to Ignorance–my personal favorite off Brand New Eyes. Hayley exclaimed, “I know what Philly is capable of, and I want to see whatever it is Philly does!” It became clear that [lastfm]Paramore[/lastfm] has a unique relationship with Philadelphia when Hayley reminisced about performing at the Pontiac Grille, and then the TLA, and now the Festival Pier. She then appropriately dedicated Where The Lines Overlap to all of her fans; after all, they had been singing her songs back to her all evening.

Midway through, [lastfm]Paramore[/lastfm] tossed it back to their country origins with You Ain’t Woman Enough. Immediately after, they transformed the stage into a cozy living room to adjust the atmosphere for their acoustic set–Hayley perched on a bright red sofa next to a dim lamp. Misguided Ghosts gave me goosebumps. They came back with the high-octane Let The Flames Begin and finished out the show with the powerful energy of sparklers, confetti canons, and Jeremy Davis doing a back flip over Josh Farro. Hayley Williams has been compared to [lastfm]Gwen Stefani[/lastfm], but she’s got more range than that. She embodies the gut-wrenching pathos of unplugged Tori Amos and the headbanger spirit of Brody Dalle. This was not a show to be missed! If you want my advice, you’ll keep your eye on these guys and see them the next time they come to town.

Tegan and Sara set list:
Don’t Rush
I Bet It Stung
Walking With A Ghost
So Jealous
Back In Your Head
On Directing
Where Does The Good Go
Speak Slow

Paramore set list:
Feeling Sorry
That’s What You Get
For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic
Playing God
You Ain’t Woman Enough
When It Rains
Where The Lines Overlap
Misguided Ghosts
Let The Flames Begin
Looking Up
The Only Exception

Misery Business

Review by Chris Tharp
Photography by Andy Kahl/Wonderful Machine

Check out On the Road for more live coverage of Paramore, Tegan and Sara, Rihanna, American Idol Live!, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

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