On a day Hayley Williams should have been so happy shecould just scream, the 20-year-old Paramore singer could barelymanage a yelp. Her voice hurt too much.
The newly blonde Williams, kicking off a 19-date U.S. tourwith her Nashville quintet on the day its third album, “Brand NewEyes,” was released, departed the stage frustrated Tuesday night afteronly 11 songs and 37 minutes, her pipes shot.
After an uncomfortable five minutes, guitarist Josh Farro(who was celebrating his 22nd birthday) led his singer-less bandmatesback onstage and addressed the standing-room-only crowd at the FoxTheater in Pomona, 35 miles east of Los Angeles.
“We have a slight issue,” he said. “Hayley’s voice isshot, completely gone. She’s upset – she feels like she let you guys down.But we’re gonna play some music for you and you guys can sing.”
And sing the crowd did. As Farro and bandmates — brother Zac Farro,Jeremy Davis, and Taylor York — pounded out “Misery Business,” the fansnearly shook the rafters of the newly restored theater, a 2,000-plus capacity room that reopened in May. It was an exhilarating andunifying moment for fans bent on making Williams their generation’sGwen Stefani.
From the beginning, Williams – whose band played “TheTonight Show With Conan O’Brien” in Hollywood on Monday night andthen did a breakfast show for radio behemoth KROQ-FM at theTroubadour on Tuesday morning – was overmatched by whatever bug shecaught earlier this week.
By the second song, “Ignorance,” the concert was a game ofcall-and-response with the crowd, fans gleefully taking her cue tocomplete her couplets. Still, Williams gamely bounced around thestage, her fans pogoing with her during “That’s What You Get” off the band’s 2007 platinum-selling album “Riot!”
She worked her way through “Looking Up” beforetelling the crowd, “This is everything we’d hoped it would be, andmore. We’ve been waiting a long time for this record to come out.Thank you for celebrating with us.”
But the first line of one the band’s early singles – “Ithink we have an emergency” – foreshadowed impending doom. Shesoldiered through that song, “Emergency,” and “CrushCrushCrush”before throwing whatever she had left into “Turn It Off,” one of thehigh points of the new album.
It’s a contemplative mid-tempo rocker in which Williams wrestles mightily with her demons, the kind ofsong that sets Paramore apart from the emo/punk/hardcore maelstrom ofthe Warped Tour scene that helped launch its career. On this night,the song’s big chorus seemed to sap her.
“I got sick a couple days ago, so I apologize,” she said,taking a breather.
During “Conspiracy” she sounded as if she needed a shot orthree of Tennessee bourbon, then, after “Where the LinesOverlap,” promised the crowd, “Because you give us what you’ve got,we’re gonna give you everything we’ve got.”
It was false bravado.After valiantly delivering “Decode,” she tossed the mic stand andexited.
The awkward finish did little to diminish the fans’adulation, but it might have taken the shine off Paramore’s moment oftriumph, especially after spending the summer caddying for No Doubt.
And Williams has less than 48 hours to get ready forThursday’s sold-out show at the Hollywood Palladium. Gulp.
That’s What You Get
Turn It Off
Where the Lines Overlap