Paramore and Jimmy Eat World at the American University Bender Arena, Washington, DC, Saturday 26 April 2008
Jimmy Eat World and Paramore seem like an odd pair for a co-headlining tour: The former has been a steady fixture in the emo scene since the mid-'90s, while the latter is a pop-punk band whose career is just starting to take off, with a Best New Artist Grammy nomination and a handful of hot singles.
When the tour hit town Saturday night at American University's Bender Arena, Paramore took the stage first, but played as if they owned the place. Frontwoman Hayley Williams's tormented vocals and infectious energy were captivating; even the antics that could've trespassed into cliche territory (fist-pumping, headbanging her bright orange hair) seemed genuinely enthusiastic. The singles "Misery Business" and "Crushcrushcrush" were the obvious standouts, but the band even pulled off a mellow ballad. "When It Rains" was the slowest song in Paramore's hour-long set, but Williams's emotive melody projected just as much power as on the rest of their angst-filled songs.
After that display of conviction, Jimmy Eat World could have seemed like has-beens by comparison. Instead, the quartet's set featured hit song after hit song -- and the ones that weren't actual hits sure sounded as though they should've been. The power chords, earnest vocals, harmonies and super-speedy rhythms that made "The Middle" and "Sweetness" such catchy tunes permeated every song, making for a set that was inherently danceable and singalongable, if a bit repetitive.
-- Catherine P. Lewis
.: Originally published: The Washington Post, 28 April 2008; Section C