Coming back to the UK for the third time this year, rock megastars Papa Roach make the trip up to Newcastle. They bring with them somewhat strange supports, in Madina Lake and Heavens Basement, but tonight is most definitely sold out, and with new record Metamorphosis keeping their album sales firmly in the 7-digit region – they must be doing something right.
Solely flying the flag for the UK tonight is Heavens Basement. Taking a more gutterish, ballsy rock ‘n’ roll approach than the other bands on show tonight, they quickly whip up a massive storm with opener Tear Your Heart Out. Moshpits erupt for songs that shouldn’t even be moshable, and the quartet sound sharp, loud, and above all – entertaining.
Frontman Richie’s faux-American accent is somewhat grinding, considering he’s not American at all, but it can be overlooked for such an impressive performance. Closer Executioners Day sounds especially well played, and major kudos goes to the band for a great display; a brilliant feat considering they only begun playing together last year. A very satisfying opener.
Many would argue that Chicago pop-punks Madina Lake aren’t the right choice as a band to support Papa Roach, but they certainly blow those accusations out of the window tonight. It seems just as many are eager to see the 4-piece as tonight’s headliners, and tracks like the phenomenal House Of Cards and favourite Here I Stand prove necessary to tonight’s fun.
Barefooted frontman Nathan Leone gives the crowd their fair share of participation, urging everyone to step forward so he can give out high fives along the front row. New tracks like Let’s Get Out Of Here and the brilliantly played Welcome To Oblivion garter massive feedback from a crowd loving every second; sweat upon sweat seeps from the energy of the pits, and the sing-a-longs are incredible. The band on record is one thing, but live they utterly slay, and their music oozes a really heavy undertone, riffs even a metal outfit would look upon with pride.
They seem to disguise themselves as nothing more than pop-punk, but beneath it, there’s a real rock band coming out to play – Madina Lake seem to know how to tangle with the big boys, and they’ve proved it tonight with a sterling set and a classic performance.
Papa Roach have just sold out this show today. They should of sold it out months ago, this is a band that used to be world beaters, get in the mainstream charts, play arenas. Nonetheless, two-thousand fans have packed in tonight to bear witness to how a rock show is supposed to be played. Intro Days Of War is greeted with a mighty cheer as frontman Jacoby Shaddix steps out onto the stage and launches his band into a brilliant Change Or Die.
From then on in, the room positively explodes. Bodies fly everywhere, all in the name of a good time. The set is heavy with material from new album Metamorphosis, and ultimately the more rock ‘n’ roll direction the band have taken these days. The nu-metal comes back into favour with a fantastic rendition of Dead Cell, rapped to perfection and sounding near to a soundtrack for a street brawl, it’s got so much intensity. Tracks like a near-anthemic To Be Loved and Getting Away With Murder sound great – the band are so tight as a unit, new drummer Tony Palermo fits in perfectly, even impressing with a drum solo midway through State Of Emergency.
Shaddix’s vocals are picture perfect – clear, loud, and with that cocky swagger that can only come from someone like himself, he conducts the crowd like a dictatorship; they’re under his little finger. The set is marred slightly by the inclusion of a lot of slower, more mellow tunes (although the mid-set rendition of Scars is possibly the best song of the night with some beautiful vocal work), killing the rhythm of the set somewhat.
That said, a final goodbye of old favourite Between Angels And Insects sharply warms the crowd back up to boiling point, and an encore of a brilliant wall of death seperating the whole Academy floor in two during Into The Light coupled with “the” Papa Roach song, Last Resort, which sends utter chaos to the masses in the form of a nu-metal anthem, certainly cements that Papa Roach are here to stay for good, and that they’re most certainly one of the sharpest, tightest and overall best in the business today.
– George Cannings.