Paramore embraces recalls 2010s roots in nostalgic ACL performance


leila saidane

Paramore performs on the American Express stage at Austin City Limits on October 9, 2022.

Sage Dunlap, Life and Arts Associate Editor

While performing the chorus of 2007 song “That’s What You Get,” Paramore’s lead singer Hayley Williams looked out at the bustling Zilker Park, put down her microphone and began conducting the audience, completely aware most of the crowd could sing the hit word for word 15 years later. 

Formed in 2004, pop-rock hitmakers Paramore made their Austin City Limits debut this year ahead of upcoming album This Is Why. With their 2010s grunge appeal continuing to draw a large fraction of their long-standing fanbase, the group delivered nostalgic throwbacks while preparing fans to enter their new era. 

In a collage of vaporwave and pixelated flashes, Paramore referenced older technological trends that embraced the period for which fans know them best.The set’s visuals often relied on Y2K-inspired projections and strobe lighting, recalling popular aesthetics from when the group first gained popularity. During an energizing performance of 2013 hit “Ain’t It Fun,” the song’s lyrics floated behind the performers in computerized text and early-internet emoticons, adding to the show’s nostalgic feel.

Commanding the audience to “show up and show out,” the group dove into a performance of their breakout hit “Misery Business,” which they brought out of retirement one week ago after declaring in 2018 that they would stop performing the track “for a really long time.” With surging guitar lines underscoring Williams’ powerhouse vocals, the singer belted the song’s anger-fueled lyrics from her knees at the edge of the stage, adding intensity to an already high-energy set. 

Williams conjured the same frenzied grunge energy that she brought fans in Paramore’s early performances. During the group’s performance of “Ignorance,” she delivered as much angst as ever, screaming the song’s lyrics into her mic through a megaphone under strobing red and white lights. Sporting red gloves and her signature red hair, the singer seemed secure in stepping into her edgy persona, confidently leading fans and encouraging them to lose themselves in the set.

“I want you loose. I want you to look absolutely ridiculous,” Williams said to the crowd. “Don’t care what anyone says — this is your moment.”