Papa Roach @ Rock City

‘You know what? Best night of the motherfucking tour.’ This is what Jacoby Shaddix, vocalist for the Californian quartet, proclaimed during the encore of their sold out show at Rock City on Sunday night, and with good reason. Never having seen Papa Roach, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had, however, seen the support, Nothing More, back in 2015, and I was extremely excited to see them again. I interviewed Mark Vollelunga, Nothing More’s guitarist, earlier in the day, and he mentioned that most of the crowd on this tour are there for Papa Roach, so they would take a little winning over. That night it didn’t take long at all.

By the end of the opening song, ‘Let ‘Em Burn’, the energetic third track from their latest album The Stories We Tell Ourselves, the crowd was hooked, cheering them into the rest of a fantastic set. From the heavier ‘Christ Copyright’ to the emotional ‘Fadein/Fadeout,’ and the fan favourite ‘Go To War’ with its brutally passionate chorus, Nothing More gave every song all of their energy. I almost forgot that they weren’t headlining.

In the break before Papa Roach took the stage, I slipped away from the main stage to get some water; fans had started to pack the floor in anticipation and there wasn’t quite enough room to breathe. The age range of the crowd was large – unsurprisingly so, as the band passed their silver anniversary (25 years) in 2018. I was standing by the bar when the lights shut off and the first notes of ‘Last Resort,’ the crowd-pleaser from Infest, their 2001 release, resounded from the speakers. Within seconds almost every voice was shouting the words with Shaddix.

A mosh pit had formed within the first couple of songs, and during ‘Traumatic,’ from 2017’s Crooked Teeth, Shaddix made the familiar motions to separate the crowd into a ‘wall of death,’ waiting for the drop to smash into each other. Although I didn’t have a great view, I was pretty safe by the bar. Or so I thought.

Spontaneity isn’t my strong point, but I’ve been working on saying ‘yes,’ so when ‘Crooked Teeth’ began, and a stranger next to me extended his hand and asked if I was going in the mosh pit, I said yes. I’ve always kept out, for fear of broken teeth and black eyes, but it was surprisingly fun. I only stayed in there for one song, but I ended up with a perfect view of the stage and the animated crowd. And it was clearly not just the crowd who felt something in that room, with Shaddix, sweaty and grinning, saying ‘Man can you feel that fucking energy?’ at the end of ‘Not The Only One,’ from their new release Who Do You Trust?.

After a set that incorporated songs from their very first album right to their 2019 material, Papa Roach ended their encore with ‘Born for Greatness,’ from Crooked Teeth. Shaddix seemed genuinely surprised at the crowd’s sustained energy and was adamant by the end that Nottingham was the ‘best night of the motherfucking tour.’ The band left the stage expressing gratitude; for the last 25 years, for the music, and for the community. It was a sensational night.

Photo credit – Lindzrs Media Photography

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