The crowd that filed into Toyota Music Factory to see Paramore on Saturday was a particular group; if you didn’t know what band was playing that night, you could reasonably guess the lineup on the marquee from the attendees. The throng of people entering skewed heavily female, their brightly dyed hair — the type of dye that washes out easily before the first day of school — illuminating the sea of heads with flashes of pink and blue and green.
It was a predominantly younger crowd, although the aroma of beer and liquor in the air announced a large amount of recently turned 21-year-olds in attendance. Short shorts and spaghetti straps were worn in preparation for a heat mostly not present in the amphitheater as a cool breeze provided relief from the sun.
As the opener, San Francisco artist Jay Som, played her collection of mellow but captivating songs, the crowd found seats with no hurried movements. People casually ordering drinks savored their Saturday with increasingly curious eyes darting back to the stage to take in the new act. The hundred that filled the pit in front of the stage stood orderly, no signs of being antsy as they enjoyed their space that was ready to accommodate hundreds more.
When Foster the People took the stage next, appreciative shrieks erupted from pockets of the crowd for the duration of the set. The band came out hot with song “A Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon,” raising the energy of the slow-moving audience. The sun shone straight into lead singer Mark Foster’s shade-covered eyes but didn't cause him to miss a step.
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The crowd was still moving slowly enough to prompt Foster to ask people to raise their hands to clap as the band went into its second song, “Don’t Stop,” causing even reluctant boyfriends along for the ride to start moving their heads without realizing it. Foster, pacing the stage in a white tank top, repeatedly attempted to rally the audience into moving more, ultimately proving successful as the band did a cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop” to a now electric amphitheater.
It was all the more drastic, then, when Foster the People went into the next song, “Are You What You Want to Be?” The energy from the crowd almost immediately deflated. Even when Foster the People started playing “Helena Beat,” a more commercially recognizable song, the crowd remained planted in their spots until Foster prompted them to clap. They were by no means a rude audience and applauded loudly at the end of each song, but they didn’t seem emotionally connected to the performance. “Pumped Up Kicks,” heavily played on the radio, finally brought people to stand from their chairs and broke the lawn out into dance.
The sleepy atmosphere transformed into deafening roars when Hayley Williams and her Paramore bandmates stepped in front of the crowd. The sound from fans somehow became even louder when they started their second song, “Still Into You,” with people dancing in the narrow passageways.
Everyone moved forward as much as security would allow and screamed along to each word. The pit pulsed rhythmically, a living organism that swelled and contracted in matching pace to the tempo of each song. By the time the band started “That’s What You Get,” it didn’t matter if the person was 15 or 50 — he or she were jumping up and down and already going hoarse from yelling.
Any doubt from the showing of Foster the People that the crowd might not be a lively group was dispelled by the outpouring shown to Paramore.
The show rested heavily on the charisma of Williams, who looked more than comfortable with the weight. She exhaustively continued to fill the stage, each dance step momentarily eclipsing one strobe light before her next bounding move to block another. Throughout the night, she turned the mic to the crowd, which gladly would have sung her entire discography back to her.
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The only odd moment of the set was when Paramore momentarily left the stage as the crew arranged equipment for an acoustic performance. The crowd took this as a prompt that a full intermission was happening, so when the band took the stage only minutes later, people were running from the bathroom back to their seats.
At one point in the evening, Williams said to the cheering fans, “Just in case you might have forgotten ... we’re Paramore.” It was evident from the fans’ reactions that they wouldn’t forget the band — or the night — for a long time.
Paramore set list:
"Still Into You"
"That’s What You Get"
"Passionfruit (Drake cover)"
"Caught in the Middle"
"Ain’t It Fun"
"Told You So"
"All That Love Is (HalfNoise cover)"