With alumni like Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, and Dashboard Confessional, Paramore has some big shoes to fill by headlinging the Honda Civic Tour this summer. Raising the stakes even more is the fact that last year's incarnation of tour was canceled. With support from New Found Glory, Teagan and Sara (on most dates), and newcomers Kadawatha, the tour has a little something for everyone. I caught a show early on in the tour on July 28th in Mansfield, MA.
Kadawatha kicked off the night with a five-song set. The band was originally formed as a solo project by Sri Lankian Daniel Kadawatha in 2008 before rounding up some of his Swedish brethren to fill out the band. The tour marked not only the group's first time in America but also their first real tour, making their 25-minute appearance all the more impressive. Their brand of alternative rock fit perfectly in the stadium setting, even if the crowd had yet to fill in. It's their loss, however, as the band has the potential to go places. While most of the attendees were unfamiliar with Kadawatha prior to the concert, it was evident by the time the members collapsed to the ground during their set's conclusion that they will not remain unknown for long.
A pleasant surprise for this date was that Relient K was filling in for the absent Teagan and Sara. I was a little disappointed that their setlist only contained material from the last three albums. They did throw in a cover of Toto's "Africa", but most of the young audience was unfamiliar with it. The crowed cheered loudly for "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been", which would have been a great closer, but the band instead followed it with "Devastation and Reform" to end the set. Despite these minor gripes, they sounded tight and put on a good show.
This was my fourth time seeing New Found Glory in less than a year, and they never disappoint. Despite being the elders of the tour, they have energy like no other. Their 45-minute set was more accessible than usual, busting out audience-friendly songs like "It's Not Your Fault" and their cover of "Kiss Me". They still played some fast-paced tunes, including "Something I Call Personality" and "Don't Let Her Pull You Down". During the latter, people came on stage with signs to prompt the audience to participate in the "Don't" "Let" "Her" gang vocals during the chorus, and at one point they held up alternative signs that said "Buy" "Our" "Merch". The band had no trouble getting the audience to sing along when they ended their set with their biggest hit, "My Friends Over You".
Paramore came out to the piercing screams of the thousands of fans in attendance. Light bulbs swayed from the rafters while the band kicked in with "Ignorance". Living up to her vivid red hair, vocalist Hayley Williams ran out onstage like a little fireball while she sang. About halfway through the set, a couch and lamp were brought onto the stage, making the large venue feel like a cozy home. The band proceeded to play four acoustic songs, including a cover of Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)", which the band dedicated to their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.
Paramore's set included a couple of cuts from their debut ("Emergency", "Pressure"), their latest single ("Careful"), and bit of everything in between. As the band played "The Only Exception", Williams ceased singing to alert security of a crowd member who was fighting. She was met with cheers and seamlessly went back to crooning. At the end of the song, a barrage of sparks rained from the ceiling before the arena went dark. The band came back out a moment later to conclude their set with an encore of "Brick By Boring Brick" and "Misery Business". During the latter, confetti was blasted from a canon to cap off a top-notch show with a bang.