The O2 Academy in Bristol is a reasonably intimate gig by Papa Roach’s massive standards, having graced and dominated the main stage at some of the world’s biggest festivals, the genre-splicing, high-speed freight train that is Papa Roach, along with Coldrain and The One Hundred making a stop at an intimate venue like the O2 Academy was always going to be nothing short of special.
The One Hundred opened the show to a packed O2 academy, pumping the crowd by tip-toeing the line between Nu-Metal and Post-Hardcore in a way that Korn and even Papa Roach have done before them. It became apparent that the majority of the crowd weren’t too familiar with the songs, but didn’t stop vocalist Jacob Fields from doing his best to get the crowd animated, single-handedly trying to hype the O2 academy, the screams only getting louder each time he mentioned the headline band’s name and before long the crowd was singing along as best they could, but it seemed like the crowd and the band never really got onto the same wavelength for the first part of the show – a potential disadvantage of an intimate show, it’s not just a sea off faces, the band will instantly see how the crowd is reacting, but The One Hundred did well to not let it put them off and they still put on a great show in spite of that – meaningful lyrics dressed in a metal exterior that ultimately just sounded pleasing – with an EP on the way and a slot at this year’s Download festival (Friday), these guys are worth checking out.
After a little while Cold Rain did what you can really only describe as ‘exploded’ onto the stage, no slow orchestrated build-up or even any warning, just a raw ‘Here we are, take us for what we are’. One moment the entire Venue was in darkness and near silence, the next, Cold Rain were on stage and already powering through their set, I’m not sure if it was this cold start (pun absolutely intended) or simply that the music seemed to be travelling at a million miles an hour, but Cold Rain instantly sent the O2 Academy Bristol into a frenzy, by the end of their first song, vocalist Masato practically had the entire venue – myself included – eating out of his hand, and he know it, making up elaborate multiple-octave spanning crowd chants that could only be likened to the way Freddie Mercury dominated the stage at Live Aid back in 1985. Cold Rain’s music is a rare beast, the 5-piece hail from Nagoya, Japan so they lack the ‘training’ that a lot of bands growing up in the hardcore scene of the UK and US had, Nagoya doesn’t have a thriving Nu-Metal scene for Cold Rain to adjust their style to fit, yet somehow, their music still sounds like it could have come from anywhere, with a nice, almost whimsical twist on straight metal, with synth and traces of EDM, Cold Rain are a very exciting band we don’t know too much about that sound like a cross-breed of Bury Tomorrow, (early) Fall Out Boy, and Enter Shikari.
Papa Roach are a band that needs absolutely no introduction, the way they burst onto stage and set the tone for the rest of the night inspired the ‘freight train’ metaphor, being between Papa Roach and over a thousand screaming fans gave off a weird pushing force that’s impossible to describe, and they hadn’t even started their set yet. The band opened with ‘Face Everything And Rise’ – the eponymous track from their new album, which could have come off of any of their albums, with Jacoby (Shaddix, vocals) himself describing it as ‘that tech edge and that banging groove that we’re known for’ – 25 seconds into the first song and if the crowd were in a frenzy for Coldrain, I’m not sure if there is actually a word to describe what was going on, and it can only be attributed to ‘the power of music’ – Until then I had never seen a band take a stage and own it quite so well, all through their set, every single person there, myself, security and bar staff included, was amazed and how animated the crowd were, and how Jacoby was in complete control the entire time. As their set progressed, you get more of a feel for how much Papa Roach really have not changed, every seems to love and know every single song and, more importantly, the band seem to be genuinely enjoying it, it’s rare to see a band go on a long tour and still be so into it and so dominant this close to the end, but even the band looked like they didn’t want it to end.
After a short break, the band returns for an encore (with how loud “Pa-Pa Roach!” was being screamed, a riot would have likely ensued had they not returned) and for a while, the band were just stood there, the band knew what coming, the crowd knew what was coming, and the room suddenly fell quiet in wait. A short guitar intro precedes the legendary line ‘Cut my life into pieces, this is my last resort..’ and suddenly chaos fills the venue, this song is likely the only reason that a lot of the people attending ever heard of the band, and why they had gone in the first place, ‘Last Resort’ is the band’s biggest hit to date, with good reason. After a legendary live performance of what has become their calling card. ‘Last Resort’ came out 15 years ago, and with albums, tours and other things happening between then and now, people questioned whether the band were still worth going to see, as they only have a few songs that broke into the ‘mainstream’ – if tonight doesn’t prove that they are absolutely worth checking out for their new and old material, nothing will. Papa Roach played a few more songs and thanked the crowd for being ‘on another level’ and finished up a legendary night that the attendee’s won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
The One Hundred
For our interview with Papa Roach, click here.