There is no difference between Paramore and Babyshambles. This is the conclusion I came to after watching each band's set at the "Rock Am Park" festival in Nurnberg Germany on Sunday. Pete Doherty plays the part of the poet clown while Haley Williams plays the teen pop star.
I had tried to see Babyshambles play the day before, at "Rock In Ring" in Nurberg Germany, but the band did not show. The rumored explanation was that they were stuck in traffic. I had already given up hope that I would see them this time because I expected them to just not show up again. When i got a text from Warren saying that the band had actually taken the stage, I rushed over.
Babyshambles' music seems to be a complete reflection of Pete Doherty's personality. He stumbles around the stage in a drunken manner to the rhythm of the songs with ease. He helps himself to the various beverages set on top of the amplifiers. He takes long pulls off of his cigarette and then exaggerates each exhale slowly. Everyone smokes, even the techs, lighting up one cigarette as the other goes out. When not playing his guitar, Pete sings with one hand in his pocket, rocking back and forth on his heels. His banter between songs sounds like he's mocking Keith Richards. When someone in the audience throws a bottle on stage he picks it up and throws it right back at them. A shoe follows shortly after and he does the same. I look around and everyone seems entranced, they raise their hands into the air and clap along without any prompting. But the music isn't being played for the people to dance to. The music is being played so Pete and his band can look cool while playing it. The whole thing is an act, a well rehearsed, well thought out performance.
I had no plans to watch Paramore play this weekend. We played some festivals with them in the states this past year and I'd watched a couple minutes of their sets then. It's not my thing.We played on the same stage this weekend and both days our dressing rooms were side by side. We ended up playing a couple games of Foosball together and talking a little on Saturday. They seem like nice people. I decided I would watch their set on Sunday. Paramore are a tight band, they have obviously been on tour for a while now. You can tell the songs are muscle reflex to them. Their young crowd responds to them, they know every word to every song. They are rabid for them. After the show we somehow ended up with a copy of their computer printed set list. The breaks for Haley to talk to the audience were planned into the set. Three songs - Haley Speaks - two songs - Haley speaks - two songs - Haley Speaks - two songs - Haley speaks - last song. The whole thing is an act, a well rehearsed, well thought out performance.
Babyshambles make a conscious decision when they choose not to mute their guitars as they tune on stage. They could easily do so with a Boss tuning pedal. Costing around $100, they are a standard and every band uses them live. Babyshambles want the crowd to hear them tuning in between songs. It's as conscious of a decision when Paramore decides they want the 3 ego boxes up front on the stage for them to dance and jump on for dramatic effect. Pete Doherty sitting down on the drum riser mid set and taking off all of his necklaces for no apparent reason is a spontaneous act, but it's a planned spontaneity. It's as plotted when Paramore's guitarist runs, jumps into the air and rolls off the back of the bass player. There is no difference, both bands are putting on a show, their shows just have different aesthetics. Each band's members just have different philosophies in their approach to the stage. Paramore's dyed, flat ironed hair is no different from Babyshambles' "I can't be bothered to comb or style my hair" look. Both bands care about what they are doing in the same way. Paramore have their printed out set list and each member (guaranteed) does the exact same move, at the exact same time, in the exact same spot on stage each night. Babyshambles just kind of wanders on stage and jam into songs, each musician starting to play whenever they feel like it. It takes effort for Paramore to be so tight. It takes the same amount of effort for Babyshambles to be so loose.
Both bands have a frustratingly great sense of melody. I like Babyshambles' music. I own both of their albums. I don't like Paramore's music but cannot deny that, the morning after the show, I woke up humming the melody to one of their songs. There is no difference between Paramore and Babyshambles. This realization has greatly troubled me over the past couple days. I want to find some contrast, but I cannot.