The sound of an air raid siren rings around Leeds O2 Academy as Jonny Hawkins, vocalist of lone support band Nothing More, is stood atop a ladder towering over the crowd. The American rockers launch straight into a blistering set of energy and big hitting songs to match. Christ Copyright is a crowd favourite but it’s Do You Really Want It? from their latest offering The Stories We Tell Ourselves that is the fieriest tune of the night so far. The pace of the set slows down for an emotionally charged rendition of Fade In/Fade Out- described by Hawkins as a track for anyone who has lost a parent. The mood stays sombre for the classic Jenny in which the lyrics tell the story of Hawkins’ sister who is struggling with mental health and addiction and Hawkins channels all of his emotion into the performance to which the whole audience are captivated.
This Is The Time (Ballast) is a great closer for the set but the theatrics aren’t over yet as Hawkins jumps onto a drum contraption that springs into the air yet still allowing him to perform some percussion. The music slows down into a memorable tempo and riff- We Will Rock You, the band perform the first verse of the track before they depart the stage. Even if some of the audience had never heard of Nothing More before the start of the night they will most definitely have left the gig a fan of the band.
Papa Roach have been a band for over 20 years and in that time have managed grow their fanbase over two generations of rockers. The room is packed to the brim of the “older” fans who grew up blasting Last Resort in High School and the “newer” fans who possibly weren’t even born when the famous track was first released. Storming onto the stage and diving head first into the aforementioned it set the night up to be more than just waiting for that song alone. Help and Who Do You Trust are full of energy and the room is bouncing with older classic Getting Away With Murder a huge singalong. Papa Roach have such a rich and extensive back catalogue, the opening tracks already showcasing the different eras of the band but it’s the older fans that are treated to classic Between Angels and Insects from the legendary album Infest. The introductory riff from guitarist Jerry Horton gets the audience wild and the moshpits start to form; Infest is turning 19 this year so all P Roach fans can keep their fingers crossed for a 20 year celebration next year so they can lose their shit to the other classics from that album.
Not The Only One has a Blur-esque riff to start; this could maybe be influenced from the band playing the Britpoppers famous track Song 2 on their previous tours in the last few years. The breakdown chorus has the fans bopping but it’s Traumatic that really brings the energy; the song continues to build throughout and by the end everyone is wild. Hollywood Whore is a pleasant addition to the set and the only track the audience got to hear from the album Metamorphosis.
Throughout the entire evening, lead singer Jacoby Shaddix has great rapport with the crowd, sharing stories about him riding his bike around Leeds during that day and speaking openly about how music has helped save his own life and how he’s proud to be still performing with his “brothers” every day thanks to music and his band. Screams of “Yorkshire Yorkshire” are roared towards the band by the booze-filled bank holiday crowd which hypes both band and crowd up even more.
The pace of the evening slows during Falling Apart with Shaddix showing some emotion during Forever. The track is lyrically beautiful and Shaddix felt the reaction and passion from the crowd and got a little choked up halfway through. Emo classic Scars rounded off a stellar sentimental section of the evening where, yes the tempo of the music decelerated, but didn’t threaten to disengage the audience at all.
The “AY OH” section of Blitzkrieg Bop is bellowed by Shaddix before dropping into the legendary track …To Be Loved, the bridge of the track calls for audience interaction and the crazy Yorkshire folk don’t disappoint. The band departs for the encore and when they return the infamous riff of Firestarter by The Prodigy rings around the room. “This song is dedicated to Keith Flint!” roars Shaddix- a great tribute to a legend gone far too soon.
Title track from Infest and Born For Greatness are two powerhouse tracks and superb closers for the show- Papa Roach continue to show how much of a great band they are even after 20 years in the business. Tips for younger bands might be; keep to your roots, play songs from your entire career within your live set and write an absolute banger like Last Resort- that helps.