As the strobing lights intermittently illuminate the stage, a Tannoy-esque ‘public service announcement’ politely requests that the audience partake in the ceremonious elevation of their middle fingers. Erupting into a fervent frenzy of anticipatory excitement, the crowd transforms into a delightful spectacle of blasphemous adulation.
Lead singer, Jacob Shaddix, and his band-mates made a magnificent entrance as they exploded on to the stage with the title track of their most recent album, ‘Crooked Teeth’. From the very first riffs of Jerry Horton’s signature white Tempest guitar, the crowd swiftly morphed into a jubilantly bouncing sea of heads and fists. From then on out, O2 Brixton Academy was heaving with non-stop mosh pits and sing-a-longs.
Papa Roach fully respected their roots by squeezing in all the hits that have established such a strong cult following after all these years. From the emotionally melodic alt-rock sounds of ‘Help’, ‘Between Angels and Insects’ and ‘Scars’, to the more rap-heavy sounds of ‘Last Resort’ and ‘Born for Greatness’ which have enshrined them in nu-metal history, Papa Roach moved seamlessly from hit to hit and strength to strength.
The stand-out moment of the night was when ‘Forever’ unexpectedly merged into a rendition of Linkin Park’s classic, ‘In the End’, in a heart-wrenching tribute to the recent tragic death of lead singer, Chester Bennington. The crowd sang along at full volume with an emotional Shaddix, who brought the song to an evocative end, exclaiming ‘We love you Chester’.
Papa Roach have established an ardently loyal fan base over the 17 years since the release of their first major label album, ‘Infest’ in 2000. They have also undeniably worked tirelessly on their act to deliver an incredibly slick and robust live performance, which made an otherwise ordinary and forgettable autumnal Tuesday evening, truly one to remember.