The Final Riot!

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While the music industry struggled throughout 2007 and 2008, Paramore bucked expectations by sending four singles to the Hot Modern Rock charts and shipping over one million copies of Riot! Newcomers like Katy Perry also dominated the radio, but Paramore was one of the only rock bands to emerge from the woodwork, going platinum during a time in which most artists were happy to go gold. The band also toured extensively, and The Final Riot! -- a slick, attractive live album that features video and audio footage -- captures one of Paramore's final performances in support of that album. Given Hayley Williams' voice and Zac Farro's powerful, muscled percussion, Paramore has always been a better live band than the bulk of its competitors, and The Final Riot! is stronger than similar releases by Fall Out Boy (Live in Phoenix) and Taking Back Sunday (Louder Now: Part Two). That's not to say it's a perfect recording; the crowd noise is mixed much too low, which is problematic whenever Williams thrusts the microphone at the audience and invites them to sing along, and her occasional flat notes point to a lack of overdubs. That only serves to make The Final Riot! more genuine and Williams more human, though, and the tight set list (featuring the bulk of Paramore's catalog, as well as a snippet of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah") showcases both the band's prowess and the singer's road-seasoned voice. She's fantastic throughout, from her candid comments in the enclosed tour documentary (30 minutes long and well worth the view) to her performance on-stage, where she howls with finesse and pint-sized power. Few vocalists can rival that talent, and watching Williams lay waste to the crowd is one of The Final Riot!'s many highlights.

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