Written by Killian O’Neil
The more I get into music journalism, the more it becomes clear how many bands are actually not that good and totally suck.
When I saw that Papa Roach was coming to town, I was beyond stoked! The last time they took the stage, I was fifteen and in Florida at Buzz Bake Sale. It was one of the best performances I have ever seen. They were still on that list up until March 23 of this year, now I’m not quite sure what list they belong on. 10/10 I will not be seeing them again.
I normally am able to arrive at the show at least thirty minutes prior to the opening act, but due to Jersey traffic and shitty drivers, that didn’t happen.
I walked into the venue, literally five minutes prior to Papa Roach taking the stage. The air was riddled with the smell of stale beer and an uncomfortable level of humidity to the point it was hard to breathe. It almost felt like I was four feet from the stage and trapped like a sardine next to tons of people in a mosh pit.
The lights dimmed and the fog machines started filling up the theater. Then came the mediocre lights that were cued up for Jacoby Shaddix and the rest of the band. I looked down for a second and heard the screams from the crowd, and there they were in all of their glory, Papa Roach.
It seemed like years had passed to get to this concert and I finally was there. Shaddix hopped out on stage as if he was an energizer bunny or drank one too many vodka red bulls and ripped a gator tail or two. Nothing about this version of Papa Roach was recognizable. Now I understand that we just are starting to get back to normal, but this was something else.
They kicked off their set with a fan favorite, “Getting Away With Murder,” and everyone went crazy. The thing that still has me pondering the show is if the drummer fell off a click or the band did, but it was clearly obvious that Shaddix was lip-synching half the song.
It was really obvious, and at that point when I looked around at the crowd, my skin started to crawl. For instance, there was a man in his late sixties who was shirtless and sweaty, wearing black and white disco-checkered bell bottoms trying to fornicate with a railing. I remember thinking to myself “and this is only the first song, fuck.”
One thing that was still true about Papa Roach is that Shaddix knows how to work a stage; he’s a true entertainer in every facet. Admittingly, there were a few moments that didn’t totally suck; one of them being that he started talking and interacting with the crowd, speaking about how music and rock and roll gave him a purpose, and how music and the band gave him a way to wrestle his demons and connect with people.
Shaddix also talked about how Papa Roach began in a garage in 1993 and that nobody should give up on their dream. Right after his short TED Talk, he faded into scars and the theater erupted and everyone was singing in unison. It was a really cool thing to witness because of how emotionally and energetically charged everyone was at that moment. The only drawback about when they performed scars was how the visuals made zero sense. There was a giant jellyfish floating around on the back of the teeny tiny little screen behind them. It has still left me scratching my head days later. The visuals throughout the entire show truthfully reminded me of a Windows 98’ screensaver.
Towards the end of the show, he dropped one of his newest songs called “Stand Up.” I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s nothing that you would ever in a zillion years think that Papa Roach would come out with. When hearing this song the crowd was nearly silent and hardly bopping around like they were the entire night.
They say that a roach can’t ever be killed, but that might not be the case after their new album drops on April 8th. They decided to put out a record with their own record label and if “Stand Up” is any indication of what the album will sound like, don’t even bother.
Papa Roach’s new song is a mix of EDM/pop/80s music and some heavy bass and drums. If you heard this song without knowing the artist, you would absolutely have zero ideas of who the hell was playing on the radio. There is no way you’re able to identify that it’s them.
They closed out the night with “To Be Loved” off their album, The Paramour Sessions, and went into an encore. My favorite part of the entire set was the encore when they played “Last Resort” and brought out members from the Hollywood Undead and “Craig The Cockroach” who was playing the saxophone for the song, “Swerve.” Actually, that was a lie. The best part of the night was “Craig The Cockroach” who played the saxophone. Overall, it was an interesting adventure, and I was definitely underwhelmed with the show and the performance they put on that night. Papa Roach is a talented bunch of guys, but that night they just didn’t seem to have it together, but we all have those nights.
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