Concert Reviews

Papa Roach / Nothing More Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 02, 2019    
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Papa Roach / Nothing More - O2 Academy, Newcastle (UK) - 23 April 2019

There are two rooms in the Newcastle Academy building. Both were occupied on this night (with Monster Truck playing in the smaller one), meaning the queue outside was still lengthy well over an hour after the doors actually opened. Fortunately the pub across the road afforded a good view of proceedings and it was possible to wander over without having to stand around waiting unnecessarily.

This was the fifth time I have seen Nothing More and on four occasions they have acted as support for higher profile acts. Taking to the stage at 7.45pm they had a little longer than usual and made the most of their fourty-five minutes with a high energy set that impacted on many levels. As I took my place in the photo pit I was curious about the ladder-like item that had been erected to the side of the drum riser. I was as surprised as most when front-man Jonny Hawkins climbed to the top as the band opened with an intense version of 'Let Em Burn', from the most recent 'The Stories We Tell Ourselves' album. Hawkins is a veritable Tasmanian Devil throughout and provided a challenge for anyone with a camera.

Nothing More Live

The NM musical style is highly percussive and the song structures and arrangements are bordering on progressive with a very melodic edge. Bass player Daniel Oliver and drummer Ben Anderson provided a solid backbone for guitarist Mark Vollelunga's fiery riffs, whilst Hawkins cut through with some emotive vocals. The crowd responses were positive in every way and the temperature levels were raised so high that the most powerful air-conditioning system I have ever come across kicked in and blasted the room with a force so cold that gloves and thermals were needed.

I have never been anything less than entertained by a Papa Roach show and during the last dozen or so years have caught them on every UK tour. Space in the room was at a premium as 9pm approached, but I made it to the front in time to take my place in the photo pit once more as 'Last Resort' got things under way. Jacoby Shaddix is another energetic front-man and though he very rarely remains in one place his vocal delivery is always impressive. With ten albums to draw material from it was a bold move to include seven tracks from the recently released 'Who Do You Trust'. I was slightly critical of the songs in my review so was pleased that they took on an added lease of life in the live environment.

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Though essentially a four-piece outfit (also including guitarist Jerry Horton, bass player Tobin Esperance and drummer Tony Palermo) the band is augmented by Anthony Esperance (Tobin's brother) who is a percussionist and rhythm guitarist and helps create a fuller sound. Old favourites such as 'Getting Away With Murder', 'Between Angels And Insects' and 'Forever' were now joined by the newer 'Renegade Music', 'Elevate' and 'Not The Only One' and overall the set had a nice balance.

Papa Roach Live 1

The more reflective 'Scars' provided something of a breather, but even then the crowd reaction was still electric. Instructing the crowd to part down the middle Shaddix walked through and made his way slowly to the back of the room (with security displaying a great amount of concern) where he took in some water from the bar next to where I was standing and then began the next song, 'Hollywood Whore'.

Papa Roach Live 2

The encore began with a scorching version of The Prodigy's 'Firestarter', dedicated to the late Keith Flint, then the band took us all the way back to the 2000 'Infest' debut and a well-received run through the title track. The night came to a close with 'Born For Greatness' and the room wass literally bouncing, regardless of drinks in hand and the return of the tropical temperatures.

A five-minute walk back to the hotel provided time to reflect on another great Papa Roach performance. The PR/Nothing More pairing is an inspired combination and will definitely be up there as one of the gigs of the year.

Dave Bott

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