Anyone who's ever made it to an age above 25 knows what the hallmark of getting older and growing up is: change. And when you're doing all this changing and growing up and figuring life out, there is often particular music or a particular band that speaks to you.
90s teens had Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Radiohead. 80s teens had The Smiths, The Pixies, and R.E.M. Millenials had, and still have, Paramore.
Whether it's the lyrical content, the style of music, or some other intangible factor, all of the above bands have struck a chord with a lot of young people and provided a soundtrack to their lives. With Paramore, it seems to have been a perfect storm of all three.
The band has grown up with their fans – frontwoman Hayley Williams was just 14 when the group formed in 2004. And as for the music, Paramore's particular brand of pop rock came along at the height of the “emo”era, when Warped Tour ruled the summer and when Hot Topic ruled the closets. While their melodic guitar-fueled hooks and pounding drums stood up to any band in their era (and in many cases, straight-up took them out), Williams' voice and the members' talent helped elevate Paramore to a level of admiration few bands can attain.
Paramore hasn't played Cincinnati since their run as the headlining act in the 2010 Honda Civic tour, and a lot of changes have come since then – both for the band and its fans. They've endured breakups (founding members Josh Farro, lead guitarist and songwriter, and Zac Farro, drummer, both left the band in 2011) and started new relationships (Aaron Gillespie, formerly of Underoath and current frontman of The Almost, has been acting as the band's touring drummer since February 2013).
They've documented relationship ups and downs in songs, held meet and greet cookouts with fans, gotten tattoos, gotten married, moved away from home and just gotten older. And, as products of the MySpace and LiveJournal era, they've brought their fans along on the whole ride through the internet.
Last year brought the band's first album release since 2009– a self-titled work that reflects all this changing and growing up. Of the time after the Farros’ departure when the band needed to write a new album, Williams said, “It was pretty wild, to be honest. It was the wildest time of my life, and it was also the most boring time of my life. I needed to sit back and just waste away for a minute in order to get to know myself. That in the end is what helped make the record so exciting. I wasn’t writing about life on tour or what it’s like to be in a famous band. I hate it when people write about that stuff, because that’s not relatable. People aren’t on tour, they’re not flying around every day playing shows. People are just living their lives, and that’s the idea that I had to fall back on. Who am I in the most normal ordinary setting, and do I still like myself? Do I accept myself? Those were the things I would think on every day. I think I became a lot stronger, and I think the guys did too.”
All that change and growth paid off. In its review of the album, DrownedInSound says, “Paramore feels far more human and honest than anything the band have committed to tape to date, and even at its most intense, the record feels intimate (or at least like a gig happening in the back corner of your mind). To harness everything that's great about this band and to bring that humanity to their radio-friendly, stadium-bound songs is an impressive feat for everyone involved. “
So, for Paramore fans, the band's return to Cincinnati after four years of being away is a lot like hanging out with the hometown friends you had in high school but haven’t seen much since going off to college. You either pick right up where you left off, or you find that you no longer have much in common.
Through it all, Paramore has always been a “fan's band”. So I'd bet that Saturday evening is going to be a great reunion for everyone – band and fans alike.