Papa Roach formed in 1993 and have been rocking strong and relentlessly since their first major-label release album Infest (2000) went triple-platinum. They continued successfully with their gold album Lovehatetragedy (2002), platinum album Getting Away with Murder (2004) and further releases, their most recent one being F.E.A.R, which was released on 27th January 2015, and is the album they are currently on tour promoting.
I’ve been a Papa Roach fan since the tender age of 13, so I have had the pleasure of listening to all of their albums as they came out. I first saw them live on their tour for The Connection in 2013, and I held high hopes for it. I have been to gigs before where I felt disappointed in the show, mainly due to the band interacting poorly with the fans – but Papa Roach aren’t those guys. They know how to put on an incredible show.
The tickets for the F.E.A.R tour went on sale last year, and I picked mine up as soon as I saw them. The day came on March 12th 2015 at The Roundhouse in Camden, London. Although familiar with Camden from trips there as a young alternative kid, I had not ventured past the Lock, and so had never been to the Roundhouse venue before. It was incredibly easy to find, being a large building, but even if I somehow missed it there was no missing the huge crowd of people already waiting in line.
Papa Roach had been offering VIP upgrades to tickets, and fans were able to meet the band before the gig to get pictures and signatures, but I unfortunately was not that lucky. Fans waiting outside the venue during the day were able to see the frontman of the band Jacoby Shaddix being interviewed by the Roundhouse and waving to the crowds as he walked by. There were photographs being taken of the fans wearing Papa Roach merchandise and the atmosphere was lively and friendly. The doors opened at 7pm, and it was time for the crowds to start piling into the venue and securing their places in the front of the stage.
The first band to grace the stage were The One Hundred, who are originally from London and are currently unsigned. They came onto the stage with a huge amount of enthusiasm and energy, jumping right into their set-list with their intro song Breed. They played six songs in total, and put everything into their performance, but despite this they were unable to get all the crowd joining in when they tried to get a good old fashioned mosh-pit started. As for whether it was down to the crowd being unfamiliar with their music, or just that the band was not to their taste, who knows – I think their style would be more suited to those who listen to bands similar to Enter Shikari.
The One Hundred did not let this bring their performance down, however; they never let their enthusiasm falter. They had me laughing with their dancing, and I thought they had great potential to become huge. I’d like to see them headlining their own shows in the future. They thanked the crowd at the end of their set and mentioned how grateful they were to be playing and touring with Papa Roach, as it had been a dream of theirs.
Coldrain were up next. As a Japanese rock band they have a fairly large following in Japan, but are relatively unknown in other parts of the world. I was already familiar with a few of their songs, and like the band, but hadn’t had the chance to listen to them often or buy their music, due to the fact that it isn’t easy to get hold of outside of Japan. They got their set started with a bang and got everyone jumping, something The One Hundred were unfortunately unable to do. Their intro song was one of their most famous, The Revelation. They played six more songs including one of my favourites The War Is On, with time in between some of the songs where they would speak to the fans and get them up jumping and teaching the lyrics to the fans so they could sing along.
This was a brilliant way of Coldrain including the crowd, most of whom were unfamiliar with their music. It had the desired effect, as the venue erupted when the chorus to The War Is On played. Coldrain had an outstanding stage presence, and it was obvious they loved what they were doing and had experience in touring. They are easily talented enough to be a headlining act, and honestly I would have happily paid what I paid for the Papa Roach tickets just to see Coldrain. I’m already planning on seeing them again, and it’s rare that a supporting act has that effect on me. Obviously I wasn’t the only one feeling this way; a fair few people who had been at the front of the crowd moved away after Coldrain had completed their set, buying tickets to Papa Roach primarily to see Coldrain perform.
By now the crowd had tripled in size; I had room to breathe during the support acts, but this quickly changed with the anticipation of Papa Roach coming onto the stage. I ended up not even being able to put my arms down by my sides, and learned what it must feel like to be one of those poor sardines in the tin cans. It was hot, sweaty, I got hit in the head a fair few times and my feet literally felt like they were about to fall off, but I was not moving.
Papa Roach graced the stage at 9:30pm and immediately went into their intro for Infest; it was fair to say the crowd went absolutely wild. Shaddix had posted a handwritten set-list teaser and a photo of the Infest album on social media, hinting at a possible Throwback Thursday gig for the London Papa Roach fans. Papa Roach played the whole of their Infest album just as teased, and the reception they received was incredible. Jacoby jumped into the crowd, held hands with fans, threw his towels into the audience and sprayed his water bottle over the masses. He also took time to speak to the crowd and expressed his amazement and happiness at the liveliness of the gig.
After the band had finished Infest, Papa Roach left the stage. The fans, of course, chanted for an encore, and they came back to the stage to play F.E.A.R. I thought the crowd had reached its peak, but of course Papa Roach fans always have some energy in reserve, and the venue erupted again, singing along to the new songs.
Then they played through some all-time favourites, like Getting Away With Murder and Scars, before Shaddix got the crowd to shout ‘Happy Birthday Fucker’ to guitarist Jerry Horton. They ended the show with To Be Loved and threw their guitar picks, towels and drumsticks into the audience. The night was over for London fans, but it had been an incredible night. As the crowd parted ways I had to rely once again on the support of my own legs – after being accustomed to the collective support of all the other fans merging into one, it took a while to get used to. I was exhausted and dehydrated, but most of all, happy. I also managed to bag myself one of the drumsticks!
Although the F.E.A.R tour may be over for me, you still may have a chance to get yourself a ticket. Papa Roach are still on tour in Europe, hitting Glasgow first, then onto Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Dublin and Belfast before heading back to tour next month in America. Dates and tickets are on their website.