Papa Roach

support Blindside
author PP date 22/10/17 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

For a while, it felt like Papa Roach were a closed chapter in the music industry. Declining concert attendance, diminishing song quality, and general lack of interest in their style of music meant there wasn't much excitement around then. Much of that was completely obliterated when it came down to their live performances, which time and time again proved to be high-energy onslaughts of live music as a performance in the literal meaning of the word. Though they've visited a couple of times in supporting roles, the last time two years ago with Five Finger Death Punch, it's their 2013 Amager Bio concert that still holds a special place in my memories where the band defied all expectations and delivered a brilliant concert on a Tuesday night. Tonight they're back in the same venue and the concert is sold out, and better yet, there seems to be a new generation of Papa Roach fans in attendance, no doubt due to the strength of their new album "Crooked Teeth" that they're out supporting. The venue is massively packed to an extent where it's difficult to even move around, far more than usual when Amager Bio is sold out. Did they squeeze in extra fans?

Karateside

Blindside

But first, let's talk about Blindside. The Swedish post-hardcore act hasn't released any records since 2011's "With Shivering Hearts We Wait", nor played any concerts in recent memory. In fact, tonight is their first show in nearly two years, singer Christian Lindskog announces amidst a mental bout of showmanship that makes many of his peers pale in comparison. Karate kick jumps, swinging mic stand like a lunatic, violently shaking his head while screaming, kneeling on stage, and other antics ensure the show is at least entertaining even if the sound isn't all that good especially in the vocal department. The passionate performance and movement are mirrored by his colleagues who twist and turn their instruments on many an occasion. Songs like "After You're Gone" and "My Alibi" are aired from the older mid-2000s albums, eerily echoing the emotionally charged post-hardcore world of that era when bands like Hawthorne Heights and others were all the rage. As such, their soundscape feels slightly dated, but the frantic stage presence ensures a solid all-around show, where "Pitiful" even has a fan up front singing a part of the song into the mic when offered together with a few others nearby.

7

Papa Roach

So the new Papa Roach album features a re-introduction of the hip-hop/rap element of their early work in a carefully calibrated balance between their old and new soundscape. As such, the intro track "Simon Says" by Pharoahe Monch doesn't feel out of place at a rock show. The stage is covered by a giant "Crooked Teeth" curtain before a robotic voice announces: "This is a public service announcement. Crowd participation...is required. Put your middle fingers up in the air and shout fuck Papa Roach". Certainly an unusual opening to a concert that immediately gets the crowd amped up. So does the scene show, which features pillars upon pillars of sharp spotlights traversing the venue walls and the crowd, alongside a set of strobe lights in the background. A little too bright if you ask me because whenever you were in direct line-of-fire from one of those bad-boys, your options were basically to look away or feel a burning sensation at the back of your eye sockets.

Papa Roach

Either way, the band immediately open with the fast and aggressive title track off "Crooked Teeth", and the crowd is into it. "Getting Away With Murder" might get the bigger sing along right after, but heads are banging and feet are moving in the pit. Off to a good start, then. Old school track "Between Angels And Insects" is seventeen years old but still gets the crowd going. The lights shift to boxed yellow colours for "Face Everything And Rise", and throughout the concert, the light show is equally simple, yet extremely effective in providing a backing setup to vary the showmanship on stage. Because Jacoby Shaddix might be drenched in sweat after just a couple of songs on stage from all the movement, but realistically he's just bouncing back and forth the stage and the platform up front from which he commandingly holds the crowd in the palm of his hand.

Papa Roach

"She Loves Me Not" is played for the first time in fifteen years in Copenhagen, which is a nice treat to any "Lovehatetragedy" fans out there. It's a difficult album for Shaddix due to its personal nature and the dark period he was living through at the time, which he also later on references in a tribute to Chester Bennington after "Forever" features a snippet of "In The End" by Linkin Park, while mentioning that he struggled with the same kind of darkness at the time, and for anyone else doing the same you need to just hold on. Hence it's rarely present on setlists these days.

The new album also features a number of curveballs. The electronic atmosphere of "Periscope" is one of them, and while it features a surprisingly big sing along, it's just too weird of a track to ever fall right at home within yours truly. Similarly, the straight up hip-hop of "Gravity" from F.E.A.R feels like it drains the energy from the show rather than contributes to it, which is probably why the band cover Blur's "Song 2" to pick up the pace again before their own mosh-pit inducing "Traumatic". The latter features a wall-of-death in the crowd followed by an active pit as commanded by Shaddix on stage. "I fucking love you Copenhagen", he says, after most of the venue has sat down on his indication and jumps up at the end of the song.

Papa Roach

We're treated to a quiet version of "Lifeline", which isn't as good as the original anthem if you ask me in a more acoustic format. "Help" follows just before an encore, and then we're back for the real bangers. "Dead Cell" has a massive sing along, but not quite as echoing one as "Last Resort" has right after. "You thought we were done, huh?" asks Shaddix right after, before revealing they've got more. "...To Be Loved" finishes a set that has lasted well over the 90 minutes it was originally intended, and as usual, Papa Roach has delivered a high-energy dose of rock entertainment that underlines why the band is still relevant in 2017. Not QUITE as great as four years ago, but rock solid nonetheless.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Crooked Teeth (Kabuki drop)
  • 2. Getting Away With Murder
  • 3. Between Angels and Insects
  • 4. Face Everything and Rise
  • 5. Born for Greatness
  • 6. She Loves Me Not
  • 7. Scars
  • 8. Periscope
  • 9. Gravity
  • 10. Song 2 (Blur cover)
  • 11. Traumatic
  • 12. Forever
  • 13. Blood Brothers
  • 14. American Dreams
  • 15. Lifeline
  • 16. Help

— Encore —

  • 17. None of the Above
  • 18. Dead Cell
  • 19. Last Resort
  • 20. ...To Be Loved

Photos by: Peter Troest

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