Live Review: Papa Roach - Manchester Apollo, Manchester 11/10/2017
We caught American nu-metalers Papa Roach in Manchester at the Apollo earlier this month, our writer Joe Mellor and photographer Jessie Jones was there to witness the new tour for their latest album 'Crooked Teeth'.
The support act for the night was in the form of American hip-hop duo Ho99o9. Having heard of this band before but not listening to their songs I thought it was a good idea to give their album ‘United states of horror’ a listen before I attended the gig. To my surprise I really like their sound, the deep hard hitting lyrics had a clear message and with heavy drums backing the heavy rapping they offer something different to the scene whilst staying relevant with political views resonating through the whole album.
Before the gig we were advised by friends and colleagues to be vigilant during their performance as they are known for having rather wild shows. The band opened up with ‘When Death Calls’ from their recently released debut album ‘United States Of Horror’ and I was instantly disappointed with the sound quality, whether this was the venue or the band I wasn’t quite sure but I found the lyrics really hard to understand. The band weren’t very well received by the mature crowd that were there to see Papa Roach and I couldn’t help but think this wasn’t the best band to support a band of Papa Roach’s calibre. This being said with them only having one album it was a big opportunity for the crowd to be introduced to them.
The set soon picked up a little pace when they played my personal favourite song ‘War Is Hell’, and with fantastic fast paced rapping in song ‘Moneymachine’ we were finally seeing a glimpse of what this band were capable of.
Although there was a lack of atmosphere the two rappers were very energetic and I can’t help but think the performance would be much better than what I witnessed given the right type of crowd. The only cheer worth noting was when the drummer performed a solo. With most people more interested in talking and being distracted by their phones than watching Ho99o9 perform I was left disappointed and with a final comment from a fan next to me ‘I won’t be in a rush to go see them again’ I think the majority of the crowd also were a little disappointed in what they had just witnessed. I haven’t let this performance change my opinion of the band and I still really like them, I would urge anyone who likes heavy rap to listen to their music and to go to a headline show of theirs coming up later in the year for the band to show what they are made of.
Time for the main act for the night and with a deflated atmosphere from the crowd, Papa Roach needed a strong start to pick the mood up a few notches. With a 'Crooked Teeth' flag draped in front of the stage (something I hadn’t seen before) whilst the crew set up, the atmosphere was building and the stage was set for Papa Roach. Before coming to the stage there was an announcement from the speakers asking for the crowd to put their middle fingers in the air and chant ‘Fuck Papa Roach’, which the crowd acknowledged and with these words echoing around the venue Papa Roach burst onto the stage with title track ‘Crooked Teeth’.
Opening with the title track was a bold move as the band have a new sound with their latest album, one which I know had mixed reviews amongst the fans. I personally love the new upbeat sound and the album I enjoyed at home sounded even better live and instantly got the crowd moving and singing along. By the third song ‘Between Angels and Insects’ the crowd were in the full swing and with a little help from lead singer Jacoby Shaddix, a pit had already broken out and a few crowd surfers had made their way down to high five Jacoby. That said for a hard rock/nu-metal band there was not as many mosh pits as one would expect, this could have been down to the age of the crowd being older than usual and therefore more mature.
On with a few more older songs such as ‘Face everything and Rise’ and ‘Geronimo’ before my favourite song off of the new album ‘Born for Greatness’ it felt like the whole building was moving to this one, this upbeat dance song is simply incredible live. A fan favourite and one which will sure feature in many more sets from the band in the future.
With plenty of crowd interaction from the band they certainly knew how to command the stage and you could tell they had perfected their art over many years at the top with the sheer effortlessness and flow in which they drifted into each song. With Jacoby asking for everyone to put their phones up in the air for the emotional and heartfelt ‘Scars’ this song had everyone singing along throughout the whole song. ‘Periscope’ was next to follow and with lead singer Jacoby even slowing down for this one and not jumping around the stage this song clearly meant a lot to him, and the fans certainly kept their voices and phones high for this one.
The band decided to cover a few songs in the form of ‘Song 2’ by Blur which was one of the best cover versions I had heard of this song. They then played parts of ‘Forever’ and linked in a snippet of ‘In the End’ by Linkin Park which was dedicated to Chester Bennington by lead singer Jacoby. Which was met by a crowd tribute to Chester by chanting his name at the end of the performance which was simply spine tingling.
Papa Roach played a great slowed down version of ‘Lifeline’ which was a nice change of pace before closing out the set with ‘Help’ another off of the latest instalment ‘Crooked Teeth’ before leaving the stage. With “Papa Roach” and “one more song” being chanted amongst the crowd, the boys came back onto the stage in quick succession and opened up the encore with ‘None Of The Above’ a song Jacoby announced was his favourite song to play live.
With a five song encore we were left waiting for the big hit from Papa Roach ‘Last Resort’, that said it was certainly worth the wait and it was the cherry on the cake from a great performance and night. Papa Roach were incredible and I would certainly go to see them again. The new songs in my opinion were better than the older songs, with the song of the night being ‘Born For Greatness’ and I felt the band enjoyed performing the new album to the loyal fans who seemed to engage well with the fresh but familiar sound of Papa Roach which is unique to them in the genre and keeps them relevant with the new rock era and shows how versatile they can be with their sound.