REVIEW: Paramore dances through “Hard Times” at Shoreline Amphitheatre

Paramore, Hayley Williams

Photos: Chloe Catajan and Mike DeWald

MOUNTAIN VIEW — No artist turns personal hardships into danceable and empowering anthems quite like Paramore. Mixing rock, pop and occasionally even ‘80s glam, the Tennessee band brought its “Tour 5” to Shoreline Amphitheatre Saturday. The group went straight into “Grudges,” a catchy tune about letting go of bad blood, off 2017’s After Laughter.

With a catalog like the one Paramore has, every song performed felt like a fan favorite. The Hayley Williams-led group played the giddy “Still Into You” from its 2013 self-titled next, followed by “Rose-Colored Boy.” The latter was blended with Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Given the cover song’s title, the wish was easily fulfilled. Fans everywhere got on their feet, lost in the music.

Paramore, Hayley Williams

Paramore performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View on July 21, 2018.

Adding to Paramore’s immersive energy, the stage production lighting made the live experience even more all-encompassing. Songs like “Crushcrushcrush,” the fiery single off 2007’s RIOT!, were set to orange-hued lights that flared to the beat. The band then closed the first part of its set with mostly After Laughter tracks, such as “Fake Happy,” Forgiveness” and “Pool.”

Paramore exited the stage as the venue fell dark and displayed an illuminated note that read, “We’ll be back in a sec. Love, us.” The sextet returned with an acoustic set-up and broke into an extremely well-received cover of Drake’s “Passionfruit.” Genre was clearly no border for the crowd as the amphitheater echoed the hip-hop hit word-for-word.

The stripped-back segment continued with “Misguided Ghosts,” off 2009’s Brand New Eyes, which Hayley Williams described as a pensive reflection written amid the group’s success with RIOT! Next came the somber “26,” which Williams dedicated to anyone going through a rough time.

“It feels like it might be long, but you’ll make it through,” Williams encouraged.

Paramore went into another intermission and then returned fully geared with new songs “Caught in the Middle,” “Idle Worship” and “No Friend.” The band ended up fitting almost all of After Laughter into the performance, while peppering in old favorites like “Misery Business” and “Ain’t It Fun.”

The encore included “Told You So” and another cover; “All That Love Is” by HalfNoise (drummer Zac Farro’s other band). Then, to retro pastel-colored lights, Paramore closed with “Hard Times.” It was an appropriate send-off from a night all about forgetting the bad and living in the moment.

Foster the People, Mark Foster

Foster the People performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View on July 21, 2018.

Paramore was preceded by Foster the People. When time neared for the SoCal rockers to take the stage, the ominous film score for psychological thriller Obsession rang out. A giant neon sign that read “Sacred Hearts Club,” the title of Foster the People’s latest LP, was slowly lowered onto stage, cuing a grand entrance.

Foster the People started with Sacred Hearts Club opening track “Pay the Man,” which set an effortlessly groovy tone lasting the band’s entire performance. Right away, lead vocalist Mark Foster introduced some slick onstage footwork—a hybrid of moonwalking, shuffling and more—that indubitably hyped up fans.

Foster picked up his guitar for the next couple of songs: “Helena Beat,” off 2011’s Torches, and “Coming of Age,” off 2014’s Supermodel. With the catchy chord progressions of the former and the breezy ambience of the latter, Foster the People demonstrated a timeless knack for creating danceable indie pop tunes all throughout its catalog.

“It’s so good to be here,” said Foster, a San Jose native, between songs. “[Shoreline] is one of my favorite venues in the world; I love playing here!”

Foster recounted his favorite memory at the Bay Area venue. It took place at the 2012 Bridge School Benefit concert, during which Eddie Vedder gave an impromptu performance due to a delay in Guns N’ Roses’ set. Foster attributed Vedder’s musical spirit as a personal driving force for inspiration. He then urged the audience to embrace the evening’s spirit before going into the rest of the set.

Fans danced to “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls),” an old favorite. Foster the People followed with “Lotus Eater,” mixing in a cover of The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The band closed with “Pumped Up Kicks” and its latest single, the love-struck “Sit Next to Me.”

Fellow Bay Area native Jay Som opened the show, excited to make a homecoming performance.

“We’re from here!” vocalist-guitarist Melina Duterte yelled. “It’s really cool to be here; all our parents are here right now.”

Jay Som played a dreamy six-song set, which began with her 2017 LP’s title track, “Everybody Works.” Much of her performance consisted of songs off the same release, including “One More Time, Please” and popular single “The Bus Song.”

Jay Som, Melina Duterte

Jay Som performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View on July 21, 2018.

Lyrically, Jay Som’s music covered a lot of emotional ground. On “One More Time, Please” she sang of heartache, while “The Bus Song” resonated with melancholy but was tinged with a glimmer of hope. While Jay Som’s melodies are tender in nature, she and bandmates bring them to new life onstage with drum-heavy song transitions and other unexpected, tasteful, embellishments.

“Baybee” ended with a key change and an extended psychedelic outro that made its live experience extra mesmerizing. Jay Som’s set came to a close with Duterte wishing her grandfather a happy 87th birthday and then going into “Pirouette,” an upbeat jam released earlier this year.

Follow editor Chloe Catajan at and Mike DeWald at

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