LIVE: Papa Roach, Manchester 02 Apollo, 11/10/2017

It certainly hasn’t been an easy ride for Papa Roach over the years, but 2017’s incarnation of the band finally seem to be on top of the world and on top of their game.

As their Crooked Teeth kabuki drops and they kick things off with…Crooked Teeth, it’s already game on between audience and band. After starting with a newer song, its straight into some P Roach classics- Getting Away With Murder and Between Angels and Insects take things to another level with an unbeatable response, especially for the latter. Papa Roach show experience but certainly not age. At times, it almost feels like the band are over-compensating- as if they know they’ve been around a while and they feel they need to up the ante. Regardless, this band aren’t falling short, so this really isn’t something they need to be concerned about- plus, the crowd energy levels are relentless throughout, despite the jump between decades.“Saturday mother fuckin’ night!” screams frontman Jacoby Shaddix, (despite the fact it’s just a Wednesday), “it just feels like a Saturday night, get on your feet this is a live show not television!”Born For Greatness garners probably the best reaction of all the newest material (thanks in no small part to the bouncy, groove infused rhythm of the track). If any setlist choice didn’t have the desired effect, it would be Periscope- which is a little lacklustre and drops the ball slightly. This isn’t surprising when looking at the crowd, there’s a lot of older fans here for some nu metal nostalgia, so a highly polished and commercial pop rock track likely doesn’t sit well with them.

A moment later and the vibe couldn’t be more different. When P Roach strike the opening notes to Gravity from their penultimate album F.E.A.R, it absolutely soars. Some dynamic dimension is brought to the show with Maria Brink’s poignant female vocals piped through the PA. Their cover of Blur’s Song 2 is a bold move, yet perfectly maniacal and expertly executed all in one go.Woven into the outro to Forever is a small snippet of Linkin Park’s In The End, met by a swelling chorus of voices- “This is for Chester and Chris Cornell and everyone else we lost this year, because I’ve walked through that same darkness” details Shaddix. Another highlight is a slower, alternative version of Lifeline, which fits the moment it was chosen for perfectly.

Returning to the stage with a hefty encore of five songs, Papa Roach renew their vigour for the last few tracks of tonight’s set. Dead Cell builds up to the culmination, while sheer, undeniable classic Last Resort, followed by …To Be Loved wrap things up in a flurry of mosh pits, flailing limbs and Jacoby throwing a vat of water over his head (breaking his in ear monitors in the process, but not hindering him one bit as the final two tracks are still note perfect).As veterans in their scene, Papa Roach are an unstoppable force. They’ve taken their age old, angst-riddled heavy rock and found over time, that life can actually be pretty good sometimes- resulting in the barrage of anthemic choruses on their latest album. They’ve been around a while and have seen many bands come and go, but the Papa Roach machine is far from tired.

Photos by Erin Moore

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