Hayley Williams - Paramore (Verizon Theater, Grand Prairie, TX) 10/26/13

My Two Favorite Shows of 2013

The Joy Formidable | Paramore
– Words by Michal Elizabeth Smith | Photos by James Villa –

THE JOY FORMIDABLE - Live at Trees (Dallas, TX) - April 29th, 2013 | James Villa Photography © 2013 On Tour Monthly LLC

I was faced with a myriad of trials throughout 2013, but two concerts acted as an I.V., keeping me strong during each adversity. I think we’re all ready for the New Year, but let’s take a look at what concerts 2013 brought us. The Joy Formidable and Paramore share three common threads: they’re interactive, a little rowdy, and obtain super-human musical qualities. Due to financial roadblocks, I only attended six concerts and one festival this year, but the aforementioned bands topped my personal charts for all previous attended concerts.

I first saw The Joy Formidable at 102.1 The Edge’s How the Edge Stole Christmas three years ago, and immediately fell in love. Frontwoman, Ritzy Bryan and bassist, Rhydian Dafydd were aggressive in the most wonderful way possible, taking turns punching the cymbals and coming close to [pretend] fighting. Bryan finished the night off by repeatedly slamming her guitar on the ground. Anytime TFJ comes to town there isn’t a slightest hint of worry by the ticket price because I’m willing to go to great lengths to see them live. The band made their final 2013 pit stop in Dallas back in April at Trees, and I’m proud to say it was packed to near capacity. I firmly stood my ground, and refused to allow anyone to push me away from the stage. TFJ put on a show you want to be front and center for; forget the lame seating sections- get up, get rowdy, and sing along! The “wall of sound” trio will be back in town for Fort Worth’s Untapped Fest in March 2014.
Paramore (Verizon Theater, Grand Prairie, TX) 10/26/13 // James Villa Photography

Paramore was my childhood obsession, and although their overall sound and image has changed, they will always be my favorite. Change is to be expected, and we can either embrace it or run from it, and I choose to adapt to their growth. Hayley Williams’ vocal performance has ripened over the years and is astronomically better now than it was eight years ago. Former drummer, Zac Farro was one of the primary reasons why I took up drumming, and he is missed dearly, alongside his brother and former guitarist, Josh Farro. Die-hard fans would throw dirt on me for not knowing the names of the replacements; however, I think we can all agree they put on an impeccable live show at Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie in October. Even though security blinded me with their “flashlight of shame” for sitting on my boyfriend’s shoulders and forced me to get down, I managed to peek over the trolls and giants, witnessing one of the greatest shows of 2013.

I’m thrilled to ring in the New Year, and excited to see what 2014 holds for artists and their fans. I hope artists, and everyone else for that matter, include humility and growth on their New Year’s resolution list because we all could use a little bit of each.

James Villa