Paramore's Hayley Williams comes out kicking, screaming, and flailing right from the start - and she hits the high notes of the band's staunch hit song Ignorance straight away too.

The 21-year-old might look like a petite, pretty, and slightly boyish whippet of a thing, but don't mess with her.

You see Paramore are not a typical pop-rock band. They love playing pop music but they attack their songs with the intensity and brazenness of a hardcore band while still having fun. It's no surprise Williams is wearing a T-shirt with the name of Washington DC hardcore legends Minor Threat emblazoned across it.

And having just come from a long string of dates in Australia, including a billing on the metal-meets-rock road show of the Soundwave festival alongside Faith No More and Trivium, it's no wonder the five-piece are tight, loud, and slick on their first trip to New Zealand.

The band, from Nashville, Tennessee, formed in 2004 and started making waves with their 2005 debut and 2007's Riot!. Then they hit the big time in 2008 with Decode, the lead single off the Twilight soundtrack, and last year's Brand New Eyes, was an accomplished and slamming pop-rock statement.

Tonight the short 70 minute set takes in both old and new songs, including Never Let This Go from their first album; they get a pulsing 80s I Love Rock'n'Roll groove going with Crushcrushcrush and That's What You Get off Riot!; and the pummelling pop highlights are Ignorance and Careful off Brand New Eyes.

Williams is a beaming bundle of fun throughout and she never misses a note as her voice moves from plain and girly, to high and soaring. But it's at its best and most unique when its raw and overwrought as she vents that pent-up energy and angst.

While Where The Lines Overlap, with the recurring lyrics "no one is as lucky as us", is a little like a Telethon song, and Decode sounds laboured and soppy compared to the melodic chunk of finale Brick By Boring Brick, the crowd leap, bounce and throw goat salutes. They even swoon and sing-a-long to lilting acoustic love song The Only Exception.

But most of all, the girls - easily the predominant group here - scream that deafening scream that only teenage girls can muster. They love it, and a few us big kids don't mind it either.