Review: Paramore takes Tour Two to the Tower

“After Laughter” is a fearless comeback album that features songs that sound happy but disguise negative feelings of depression, loneliness and having no regrets.

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This review was originally posted for The Sentinel on October 18, 2017.

On Oct. 6, Paramore brought its “After Laughter: Tour Two” to The Tower in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, for a night of singing and dancing, along with the depressing pop music belonging to the group’s newest album.

Radio 104.5 (an alt-rock radio station in Philadelphia) sponsored the sold-out event.

Los-Angeles based rock band Best Coast opened for Paramore, offering the crowd its unique sound that is a cross between Paramore circa 2009 and Hey Violet. Although they only played for a half hour, they succeeded in pumping up the crowd for the powerhouse performance yet to come.

Finally, the lights dimmed over the golden arches at The Tower and the bass finally began to beat in our hearts, humming in tune with the rhythm of our anticipation. As a red spotlight coated the stage, Paramore bounced onto center stage while new-wave beats drowned out the crowd.

The band decided to stir up the crowd’s energy by beginning with a familiar song – their Billboard No. 3 hit from earlier this spring – “Hard Times.” As lead singer Hayley Williams jumped around, the technical crew projected spunky and colorful graphics and patterns onto the large, circular light board towering over the band as they performed.

The set-list comprised of 16 songs with a three-song encore included tunes from the band’s albums, excluding their debut. They also played two songs that belong to two other bands; Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” and “Scooby’s in the Back” by Halfnoise, which is the band’s drummer Zac Farro’s solo project that he began in 2010 after leaving Paramore. Farro rejoined the band earlier this year.

In the middle of the set, Paramore slowed down their exuberant performance in order to address the “crazy world” we live in and play an acoustic song. After shining a single, mellow spotlight, the crowd began to hold up the modern version of lighters, the smartphone flashlight, in order to salute Williams and guitarist Taylor York as they sang the euphonic and sentimental song titled “26.”

At the end of the set, pre-encore, the lead singer sat on the edge of the stage to become more intimate with the crowd. She remarked: “We’ve been a band for a really long time … The coolest thing is that we got to grow up with many of you, and that’s an honor.”

The group returned on stage for the encore with a depressing tune hidden underneath poppy, new-wave chords, with “Caught in the Middle.” Laughing on stage in a red jumpsuit, Williams exclaimed, “Still got your dancing shoes on? We’re gonna wear them out!” Paramore chose “Rose Colored Boy” as their final song, and Williams truly expelled all of her energy as she head-banged, kicked her legs up in the air and encouraged the crowd to dance their feelings away.

“After Laughter” is a fearless comeback album that features songs that sound happy but disguise negative feelings of depression, loneliness and having no regrets. It’s a record that encourages self-awareness, hope and recovery, something people of all ages can hold onto.

In bringing its “Tour Two” to the Tower, Paramore made sure there was not a single fan in attendance sitting down and clapping along idly; every person was moving, shaking, grooving and waving their arms around as if this were the last concert they’d ever attend. Truly, “After Laughter” is a vibrant album filled with songs to both dance and cry to, which has opened new doors for not only the band but also fans struggling similarly.


By introducing a new sound that has varying textures, beats, tempos and unique instrumental intensities, Paramore has revolutionized the idea of a “depressing” album. Though many of the tracks comprise of negative thoughts and pessimistic feelings, the band encourages those feelings to surface and heal. Paramore has never been a conventional band; their music and image will keep evolving into something bigger, better and without a doubt, bolder. Fans will come and go, but the memories they’ve formed because of this band will remain forever.


Filled with hope for a better tomorrow, excited reverie and already sunken in post-concert-depression, fans funneled through the exits vowing never to forget what brought us all together in the first place during that memorable October evening; a passion for live music, crowd dynamics, and “After Laughter: Tour Two.”

Photo by Pinterest user Cryharddanceharder

The Universe Is Always Listening

If you told me as a high school senior that I’d be exactly where I am today, I would have NEVER believed you.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on December 18, 2017.

I’ve never been a religious person – I don’t know if there’s a god or several gods – but I do know that faith can be a stronghold when nothing else seems plausible. Besides in myself, my intuition, and my family, I’ve always placed my faith in one constant thing: the universe. If the past year has taught me anything, it’s that the universe is always listening.

I’ve had a rough year. Plainly put, it really seemed like all forces of nature had turned a blind eye to myself and my family this year. We have gone through a lot – both emotionally and physically – in the year of 2017. With American politics and also the state of my future being in constant turmoil, it’s been hard to keep my head up this year. This past summer, I hit the lowest of lows and the rockiest of bottoms. I thought returning to school would fix everything, but that wasn’t the case. It was extremely difficult to keep going and keep acting like everything was okay.

I wanted to give up pretty much every day until a couple weeks into September when I received a call from an executive board member of my student-run theatre group. They were calling with an opportunity, that after much deliberation and a long phone call with my mom, I immediately accepted. Accepting that opportunity was the best thing I’ve done all semester and it might as well have saved me.

After the summer, I truly believed that if there were a higher power out there – whether it be the universe or a god of some sort – that they had given up on me and my family. After receiving that call from my theatre company, I knew that I was wrong in my belief. I needed something to dedicate myself to and there it was as if it had been hand-delivered by fate itself. It sounds cheesy, but I truly mean it when I say this opportunity was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

Because opportunities have stemmed from it. Those further opportunities won’t just benefit me in the future of theatre, but it will also help me to grow as a person in other organizations and in life in general. Just when I thought the universe had given up on me, things started to be okay again. I was still dealing with issues that were difficult to maneuver, but they weren’t anything I couldn’t handle.

I don’t know that the universe makes everything happen for a reason and I don’t know if the things that happen are to make you stronger. I don’t know if the circumstances in each one of our lives are meant to make or break us. I don’t have those answers. What I do know is that when you are completely drowning and you give some effort to try to stand again, someone or something somewhere will reach out a hand to grab you and hold you up.

Even when things seem like they’re never going to improve, by the graces of wonderful, passionate and good people, you will see the light of day again. The universe is always listening, and even when it’s not, someone is always willing to see the potential in you – even when you can’t see it in yourself.

I am beyond thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been granted thus far. If you told me as a senior in high school that I would be where I am today as a junior in college, I would have never believed you. I had no idea my dreams would manifest in the way that they have. I had no idea I would change my future path a thousand times to adjust and adapt to my passions and goals. I had no idea I would get knocked down by heavy wave after heavy wave only to stand up after what seems like eons of impossibility. I would have never thought that I’d be the strong and resilient individual I am today.

I am so incredibly blessed to have people looking out for me – whether it be my friends, family, professors, colleagues, or kind strangers on campus. Without these people, I would not be standing so strongly where my feet are planted today.

Even when it seems like you’ll never be happy again, better days are coming. The universe is always listening to you and success is always just a step ahead of you. Remember that.

 

Honesty Shouldn’t Be Convenient

You should value honesty all the time because it will always benefit you, even if you don’t realize right away.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on December 11, 2017.

I’m an incredibly honest person; this can be both good and bad, depending on the situation. No, I don’t go out of my way to be mean to someone, but I’m not afraid to say what I think, even if the truth may hurt. People usually either really enjoy my honesty or they absolutely hate it. They perceive me as a bitch who doesn’t care about anything, which isn’t true. Here’s the thing though: honesty shouldn’t be mixed up with self-interest. If you value honesty at all, you should want others to be honest with you all the time, not just when it’s convenient for you.

Many people think that in a close relationship, people should enable one another and support each other’s decisions, regardless of whether they’re wrong or right. I think if you’re willing to ride or die for someone, that’s one thing, but you shouldn’t enable them or lie to them. A healthy relationship, whether intimate or not, means that you both feel safe and secure in being honest with one another. If you don’t feel comfortable being honest, there’s an issue that should be fixed.

We live in a world where people are very two-faced; it can be hard to recognize how someone truly feels. I’ve been lied to way too many times to turn around and treat someone the awful way I felt after being betrayed. I know it’s hard to trust people but honest people are often the most trustworthy because they have no motivation to lie.

Honesty shouldn’t be convenient; it’s not something that should be utilized when one party is comfortable and then cut out when that party becomes uncomfortable. Honesty is meant to benefit both sides of a situation or circumstance, but perhaps in different ways. Wouldn’t you rather someone be upfront and real with you rather than saying one thing, only to turn around and say something else?

If you would rather have someone lie straight to your face so that you can preserve your feelings or self-interest, you may need to reevaluate yourself and your expectations. That’s not a healthy dynamic.

You shouldn’t value my honesty for entertainment and then turn around and act like I’m this terrible person for telling you the truth later on. Just because you’ve changed your perspective given the circumstance doesn’t mean that I’m a bitch. But sometimes you need to be a bitch to get shit done and almost always you need to be honest to communicate effectively in every circumstance.

You should value honesty in someone no matter what the circumstance; it takes bravery to stand up and say what you truly think about something. Even if you think the truth doesn’t benefit you, it probably does in some way. Just try and keep that in mind.

 

12 Reasons Why I Won’t Find Prince Charming Anytime Soon

It’ll happen when it happens.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on December 6, 2017.

I am at a point in my life where many of my friends are in long-term relationships. Many of those same friends wouldn’t mind spending the rest of their lives with their current significant others. I have always been the single friend who gives everyone else advice, and while I’m a little tired of third-wheeling, I don’t think I’ll be in a relationship anytime soon. Here’s why:

1. I am terrified to make the first move.

When I see a cute boy, I pretty much keep my mouth shut… forever. I’m not likely to ask them to even hang out as friends, nonetheless on a date. I will never make the first move… I have zero confidence.

2. Commitment is kind of scary.

Not to sound old-fashioned or generalize, but commitment isn’t what it used to be. People are usually never satisfied these days, and it’s scary to see something so good go south so quickly.

3. Sometimes I expect too much.

From both myself and others. I get upset when I don’t receive the results I expected, too. This would be a factor in a relationship that’s hard to work with.

4. My mental health hasn’t been great lately.

I cried over not being able to successfully cook ground meat yesterday.

5. Feelings are dumb.

Feelings can really blind you from seeing something for how it truly is.

6. Dating apps will never be my thing.

I’m never gonna be able to message first. I’m never gonna wanna hook up and I’m never gonna be smooth enough to interact with boys on Tinder.

7. I have zero time to relax.

My schedule is jam-packed with schoolwork, regular work, and other commitments. I don’t even know when I’d be able to make time for a possible date.

8. I am not a patient person.

I’m working on it, but patience is so not my strong-suit.

9. I don’t know how to flirt.

?????Is there a class for this??????

10. I don’t go out enough to meet someone.

The parties I do go to are with friends and friends only.

11. I’m incredibly awkward around boys.

Palms sweaty, mom’s spaghetti awkward.

12. I’m not actually actively looking for anything.

It’ll happen when it happens, right?

 

20 Candidates For 2020 That Are Better Than Trump

In the case that America still exists in 2020, here are 20 candidates better than #YourPresident.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on November 12, 2017.

Half of our news articles seem like Onion articles lately and sometimes we can’t tell the difference. Many of us are ready for another election, myself included. In the event that the world still exists, here are 20 people who are politicians, influencers, celebrities and all-around good people that are better candidates than Trump.*

*This article is mostly a joke and is not to be taken seriously. Next election, please, for the love that is all the good left in this world, don’t elect a celebrity. If the world still exists by next election, think with your brain and make sure the next candidate doesn’t and can’t get a star on the walk of fame.

1. Elizabeth Warren

She’s very conscious of women’s rights – something we will need after these four years of disassembling easy access to birth control and Planned Parenthood.

2. Bernie Sanders

Sanders has been a senator in Vermont for several years now, and he did run for president last year. He cares deeply about the financial status of our nation and he’s a champion of health care regulations.

3. Michelle Obama

While Barack was president, Michelle made waves in terms of familial health, women’s rights, higher education and service families. She and Jill Biden created Joining Forces, an initiative to aid current people acting in the service and also veterans and their families. She went above and beyond to create a program to encourage students to go to college.

4. Joe Biden

Joe has been fighting against sexual assault and rape for a decade. In 1990, he introduced the Violence Against Women Act, which protects women of all races, ages and ethnicities against the injustices that often occur next to domestic violence, date rape, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.

5. Barack Obama

One of Barack’s biggest projects was working on the affordability of higher education and making community colleges cheaper. He helped increase employment and helped the economy. In addition to this, he halted the Dakota Access Pipeline, which helped Native Americans in a huge way.

6. Melinda Gates

Melinda and Bill created the Gates Foundation, which focuses on the strengthening of human dignity and the increase of equity around the world. By 2020, she hopes to deliver contraceptives to more than 120 million women across the world.

7. John Lewis

Lewis is an influential American leader who not only does he ride or die for civil rights, but is also a huge supporter of income and family security.

8. Anderson Cooper


A true warrior against adversity, Cooper came out last year joining just a handful of openly gay television news anchors and hosts. He’s made it clear he isn’t afraid of DJT which is fantastic in this political climate where journalists are being silenced.

9. J.K. Rowling

I know she’s not an American, but “Harry Potter” has sold more copies worldwide than any other book series and has shaped people of all ages immensely. Being a bestselling author isn’t a qualification for president, but her fearless attitude and passion for world peace are an inspiring place to start.

10. Bono

Also not an American, but the man has worked hard to impact the world, taking strides in the fight against the AIDS and HIV pandemics, poverty in Africa, and has also worked diligently to save the environment both here and in Ireland. He definitely has his priorities straight.

11. Leonardo DiCaprio

His foundation focuses on restoring wildlife, improving the life of and life-span of both green space and living beings on Earth. They’ve invested and awarded over $20 million in efforts to help others fight to save the wildlife of the planet. At the very least he’d re-establish the EPA.

12. Lin-Manuel Miranda

Miranda has been an activist for the natural disasters in Puerto Rico, immigration rights, the DACA dreamers and diversity in film and theatre in just the past year alone. At least every tweet he composes is worth reading.

13. Chance the Rapper

Passionate about the state of Chicago public schools, this rapper has donated to and funded not only to the schools in the system but also to scholarship funds and grants for the students enrolled. We need someone to look out for our children.

14. Taraji P. Henson

Famous most recently for her academy award winning motion picture “Hidden Figures” and popular show “Empire,” Taraji is no stranger to the fight for inclusion and diversity in film and television. She firmly believes that more women should also be involved in these scenes in more leadership roles.

15. Joan Baez

Baez sang about social equality, justice, civil rights and peace. She worked closely with Bob Dylan and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to express her political views and promote freedom of speech and protest.

16. Whoopi Goldberg

She’s recently created an entire line of cannabis-based products that help women with period symptoms. Fighting for the legalization of cannabis, women’s rights and women’s health all in one? Perfect.

17. Billy Joel

A brutally honest and down-to-earth man, Billy Joel is a huge activist for child and domestic violence, cancer and autism since the 1970s and 1980s. He also supports music education, AIDS, Red Cross and Anti-Bullying campaigns among others. He could sing our pain away.

18. Ben and Jerry

Using ice cream to change the world’s view on climate change? Genius. Just as the ice cream melts, so do the polar ice caps. They’ve encouraged consumers to sign petitions and speak to government officials to fund clean energy and a cleaner planet. Also, they would absolutely be co-presidents.

19. Ellen DeGeneres

A talk show host who cares deeply for gay rights, gender and identity inclusivity, equality, charity, philanthropy, and making dreams come true, Ellen is truly someone we can afford to have in office. No, you can’t solve a problem by throwing money at it, but she is empathetic, something we need more of in this world.

20. The entire cast of Stranger Things

Earlier this year, after winning a SAG award, David Harbour said, “We will punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized. And we will do it all with soul and with heart and with joy.” Perfect and relevant, as always.

Come Out, Come Out To See Act V’s Dear Harvey

December 1st and 2nd at 8pm and December 3rd at 2pm in Memorial Auditorium.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on November 28, 2017.

For the past few years, Act V Theatre Company has presented a comedy for their fall play. This year is different; “Dear Harvey” is a true story that details the rise and fall of LGBT political activist, Harvey Milk. The heart-wrenching and brutally honest production is presented through memories and stories told by his closest friends and colleagues. In short, this is one Act V Theatre Company Production you don’t want to miss.

Written by playwright Patricia Loughrey with music composed by Thomas Hodges and photography by Daniel Nicoletta, “Dear Harvey” presents not only personal stories and anecdotes but also Milk’s legacy that he left behind after his tragically short political career. The play was written for the 30th anniversary of Harvey’s assassination, which happens to be coming upon us soon: November 27.

During his year in office, Harvey faced an outpouring of discrimination and prejudice. This never stopped him from fighting for the rights of LGBT citizens, both in The Castro and across the nation. Finding an ally in Mayor George Moscone, Harvey fought against the anti-gay campaigns of John Briggs and Anita Bryant, two people who fought tooth and nail to “constitutionalize bigotry.”

Milk fought against their attempts to discriminate against LGBT members of society within their homes, their workplaces, and even in the streets. “The fact is, is that in 1978 it is perfectly acceptable to fire a gay person from his or her job, not for any reason related to the job but simply because that person is gay.” 1978 was a year where gay people could be arrested for dancing in bars, teaching children, getting in fights, and other unfair offenses. It was a critical time for the LGBT community and Harvey Milk and his friends came together to reform LGBT rights.

Featuring trailblazers such as Cleve Jones, Robin Tyler, and Anne Kronenberg, “Dear Harvey” is a tale of green hair, open windows, a lavender pen, and eleven months. It is a story about Harvey Milk but it is also a story about all of us.

Join Act V Theatre Company in remembering Harvey and all of his friends during their production of “Dear Harvey” running from December 1-3. On Friday and Saturday, the shows begin at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, the matinee begins at 2 p.m. All productions will be performed in Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are $3 with SU ID and $5 for the general public.

8 Ways To Solve Your College Problems That Are All ‘Take A Nap’

Sleep is the best way to both calm down and avoid your responsibilities.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on November 22, 2017.

We’re at that point in the semester where the end is nigh, but not nigh enough. As I write this while procrastinating other work, I have a pretty good idea of what giving up feels like, as I’m feeling it right now. If you’re feeling anything like I am right now, you’ve probably got a ton of assignments and papers to start, but just can’t find the motivation. As per my expert advice, here are 8 ways to solve all your college problems that are all ‘Take a nap.’

1. Take a nap

Stressed? Anxious? Depressed? A nap will fix all of that (temporarily). But then you could always just…

2. Take a nap

Turn up the air conditioner, take off those socks (please), and curl up in bed. You need to relax and fuel up for your next big task which is to –

3. Take a nap

Napping can really take a lot of out of you. After napping, drink some hot chocolate, eat something good and then settle back down to fix your problems. It’s important to think about your to-do list and then after you feel overwhelmed, just –

4. Take a nap

Okay, now it’s time to get down to business. You know what you have to do, so you have to gather your tools. You probably need to charge your laptop and your phone and so the only logical thing to do next is to…

5. Take a nap

Make sure to watch or listen to something soothing and or happy before napping, this way your dreams are good. However, if you’re having any bad dreams, you know what to do.

6. Take a nap

Gather your laptop, gather your textbooks and homework and then head to the library. It’s important to find a quiet and isolated spot in the library so that you have peace to study, work and of course,

7. Take a nap

After a long day of stressing out over procrastination, studying and a pile of work so large it could probably fight Mount Rushmore, you should honestly treat yourself. Go home, put up those feet, turn on some sweet background noise and finally finish your to-do-list for the day. It’s important to follow through with your goals. The only way you can finally solve all of your college problems is to honestly, just bite the bullet and –

8. Take a nap

It’s simple, really.