Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
January 24th, 2018
Support: The Pits
“After the second and into the third album of Papa Roach’s career with (2002’s) Lovehatetragedy and (2004’s) Getting Away With Murder, we had a big backlash. Our fanbase just quit on us.”
Talking about their audience back home with The Music, Papa Roach‘s vocalist Jacoby Shaddix puts this need to focus on their American fans as the reason for their prolonged absence from Australia.
However, (even after nearly 25 years), the band’s first headline Aussie run has proven that their fans here have never given up on them. The band’s reciprocal eagerness to make up for lost time certainly shined through at their first of two Sydney shows on Wednesday night.
The Metro was a packed house, hours before the veterans took the stage. The steady buzz was immediately amplified as lights went down, before Pharoahe Monch track ‘Simon Says‘ signalled the night to come.
A few drawn-out minutes later, and the rip of the curtain was practically audible. The four-piece – and bassist Tobin (Esperance’s) brother and touring member Anthony – jumped alive onstage like a match to gasoline, with Shaddix urging the crowd to scream “Fuck Papa Roach!”
“Fuck Papa Roach!”
The aptly named Crooked Teeth Tour culminated into a blistering opening in the title track from the band’s ninth release. Being one of the record’s heavier songs, harking to albums of old, it was also one of the strongest live offerings.
The crowd roar immediately doubled as the group transitioned straight into fan – and personal – favourite ‘Getting Away With Murder’.
Jerry Horton‘s tunneling guitar. A huge bass groove. Shaddix’s dark whispers. The song carried seamlessly live, as did ‘Between Angels and Insects’, an Infest gem remaining a mainstay on Papa Roach setlists for the past few decades.
‘Face Everything and Rise’ from eighth album F.E.A.R. provided the perfect mosh tempo. However, the first of a few polarising moments came in the form of Crooked Teeth track ‘Born For Greatness’. Tony Palermo‘s huge drumming took centre stage and it sent the younger punters in the crowd jumping, but old-school fans were growing noticeably restless at the song – and new album’s – pop edge.
That dissolved immediately with ‘Scars’ (Getting Away With Murder). The singalong moment. Friends wrapped their arms around each other to lines like “I’m drunk and I’m feeling down”, and we reached to the sky with Shaddix as he lamented “I tear my heart open just to feel”.
“Our scars remind us that the past is real, I tear my heart open just to feel.”
There wasn’t much banter onstage, but that would’ve felt out a touch out of place for a band that’s matured incredibly, while ramping up the live intensity. What certainly felt right though was the frontman’s shoutout to Palermo after 10 years in Papa Roach, along with the rest of his ‘Blood Brothers’.
Now the only thing that could’ve made F.E.A.R.‘s ‘Gravity’ better was if vocalist Maria Brink from In This Moment came onstage to rip into her harmonies and solo bridge. Shaddix took her parts with grace, though, with Horton holding it down with the harmonies.
“No matter how hard we fought, we always knew, you will bleed for me and I will bleed for you.”
What came as an awesome surprise was actually a regular cover on the band’s setlists, Blur‘s summer party anthem ‘Song 2’, which got the whole Metro bouncing leading into newer tracker ‘Traumatic’.
Then came the night’s most powerful moment (in a sea full of them). There was a throwback to 11 years ago in the form of dark rock ballad ‘Forever’ off fifth album The Paramour Sessions. That turned out to be the ultimate summation of one icon’s legacy.
R.I.P. Chester Bennington.
Shaddix dedicated a tribute to his memory, before casting it out to the person in the crowd who was going through “that dark shit”. It was a moment that undoubtedly touched more than one fan, yet every individual was made to feel it.
That polarising feeling brought on amongst Papa Roach’s much older fans briefly returned with a string of Crooked Teeth tracks. However, ‘Help’ did generate a sizeable chorus singalong, while ‘None of the Above’ showcased some of Shaddix’s best screams.
To the crowd roaring and cheering, the band left the stage, awash in blue light.
Yet, fans old and new were waiting for the best to come (and not just ‘Last Resort’). Another debut record favourite ‘Dead Cell’ induced a huge roar amongst diehard roaches, before the group tore into their most popular track to date.
“Losing my sight, losing my mind, wish somebody would tell me I’m fine.”
Shaddix didn’t waste the opportunity to feel the appreciation oozing from the venue. He jumped atop the mosh halfway through, and when the song was done, he wasn’t. Admiring the crowd, he instructed the middle of the floor to start the classic circle pit fuelling ‘…To Be Loved’ (The Paramour Sessions, WWE RAW 2006-2009 theme).
It was an unforgettable end to an unforgettable night.
Us die-hard roaches have spent the last decades bemoaning the fact that Australia was a place still to be loved. But once the lights went down and the music started, none of it mattered.
Review by Genevieve Gao.
Photo Gallery courtesy of Mick Goddard (Mick Goddard). Please credit Wall of Sound and Mick Goddard if you repost.
(*Pics from the Jan 25th Show)