When we broke the news earlier in the day that Papa Roach were going to be playing the certified Triple Platinum Infest in full at the Roundhouse and we got a huge response from fans of the Californian Nu Metal legends. Many of whom that had grown up with the bands original Hip Hop and Metal fused roots. Since Lovehatetragedy the band have strayed away from the Hip Hop elements and have grown into a more traditional rock band touring with the likes of Guns n Roses & Motley Crue to earn their stripes as a true rock and roll band with a diverse set list. I have enjoyed the work of Papa Roach in recent years but I too am one of those that grew up in the Nu Metal heyday and for me Infest is still one of the best records I’ve ever heard, the bands breakout song Last Resort was the first CD I bought in an East London branch of Woolworths.I’ve seen Papa Roach many times over the years and as with most bands with a long tenure they start to drop older material to fit in a wider representation of their back catalogue, but thankfully this year being the 15th anniversary of their debut album they announced they would be surprising audiences with random songs and some cities would have the album played in full. London was the first city to get this surprise as we continued to break the story to those attending the gig outside whilst filming an episode of the Queue & A.
The band was in great form from the start kicking it off with the albums title track Infest which told us that we were in for a big night. “My names Coby Dick, Mr Dick if you’re nasty” was all it took to get this nostalgic crowd to pop as the band set the tone for the evening. What followed next was a rarity that was a situation where an honest representation of an album in order of its original tracklisting was played yet it felt like hit after hit without any ‘album filler’ starting with Last Resort and then into Broken Home, Dead Cell and Between Angles and Insects.Frontman Jacoby Shaddix or rather more fittingly the alter ego Coby Dick introduced the next song as a shoutout to UK sensation Bring Me The Horizon which I had been anticipating as I saw Lee Malia arrive with a crew of people just before the Papa Roach set had begun. As Jerry Horton hit up the unmistakable opening riff to Blood Brothers, you could feel the energy in the room.
It wasn’t until Binge was played that Jacoby made the first clear reference as to what they were playing that night as he introduced the addiction inspired track with “We’re gonna give you guys some more of this Infest Record”. Unless you were a die hard fan you may have been oblivious to the order of songs but the feeling for most of the night was that the building was full of hardcore fans that either could tell exactly what was going on or had found the news that we broke online earlier that day and outside during the RN crew were filming the Queue & A. What followed next was probably the highlight of the set for me, hearing songs like Revenge and Snakes back to back really drove home how special it was to be witnessing this show, since it was songs like these that until this tour hadn’t been played in many years, some over a decade. Never enough highlighted the raw emotion that this album was famous for, full of energy and an unapologetic truth that was felt through the lyrics and even down to the great Bass lines setting the tone of the album provided by Tobin Esperance.
The crowd were split down the middle for Thrown Away as an amped up still in ‘Coby Dick mode‘ Jacoby dived into the crowd, another great non-single of the Infest album getting a play for this special “Throwback Thursday” setlist.Since Jacoby had posted his teaser online earlier that day there was speculation whether or not hidden track Tightrope would make it into tonight’s set. They had played it previously in recent days and the teaser image mentioned it but there was still that ‘clutching at straws‘ feeling about whether or not the band would drop their reggae inspired hidden track on us and when they did it was the calm at the end of the storm that was Infest.
The band left the stage and it wasn’t long before the “We Want More” chants were spreading through the packed out Roundhouse. When the band reappeared for their extended encore it was the chance for those craving a dose of newer Papa Roach material to get their fix as the band kicked into a thunderous performance of the title track form their most recent album F.E.A.R.The band went into another new track Warriors which has a great anthem like chant of “We are the Warriors” which goes down great live as you would expect and they followed this up with another hard hitting new track, Broken As Me. It was at this point that I started to feel a nice throwback feeling to their older style, maybe it was seeing Jacoby with his Lovehatetragedy esque blonde tint and his always energetic stage presence. But I think it was more than that, hearing the blend of the upbeat all out rock and roll style and Jacoby’s throwback rap verse in Warriors and powerful screams in Broken As Me, really gave the feeling of a band that knew how to blend their diverse range of styles.
Whilst filming the Queue & A before the gig we raised the question of whether or not there was a place in the live sets of such energetic, hard hitting rock bands for ‘sad songs‘ and what would be placing for them tonight if they were to play Scars. It was very well placed in the set and shows other bands exactly how to position a song like this. Dropping the pace and tone gradually with Lifeline, the band managed to ease fans into a calmer state to really appreciate the emotional and slower paced Scars which as always had the crowd soaring at the top of their voices along to the climatic bridge leading into its final chorus.
Next was the last song of the night and it was done by building the crowd back up with an intro inspired by the Ramones hit Blitzkrieg Bop. Psyching the crowd up with “Hey! Oh! Lets Go!” the band quickly cut into To Be Loved when an already rowdy crowd could not help to let loose one last time.
Papa Roach did a great job at finding a balance between their hardcore and more casual fans, giving their newer fans something to go home happy with even on a night on which they had treated their older fans with something many had been waiting to see for more than a decade. I highly rate the performance of Papa Roach and their dedication to do exactly what I feel was needed for their diverse fanbase in 2015. Something that needs a mention is Tony Palermo’s fluidity in playing the entire album. Whilst it was a shame not to have an appearance of original drummer Dave Buckner like they did at Aftershock Festival in 2013 when a slimmed down Dave made a special appearance behind the kit for a rendition of Last Resort, it was great seeing a brilliant sticksman like Tony who is obviously associated more with Papa Roach’s recent work, do so well at making Infest his own. Set lists made up of entire albums have been happening more and more frequently in recent years and it’s great to see Papa Roach finally do something like this as well. Next up, Lovehatetragedy…please?
Watch our episode for the Queue & A for this special event below;