The Portsmouth Pyramids is not used to having such Rock Royalty as Papa Roach in to play so the air is understandably electric right from the minute doors open and a lot of people are already filed in early enough to see openers American Fangs make their UK debut.
As the intro tape of “Hey Little Sister” from The Lost Boys soundtrack fades out there are suddenly a lot of hoodies on stage, leaving you wondering what sort of fresh hell is going emanate next, but surprisingly the band are pretty good, frontman Gabe Cavazos interacts well with the crowd while the rest of the band leap around appropriately behind him. Jumping into the crowd during closing number “Get the Fuck On” certainly got people paying attention and talking about them in the smoking area afterwards. It’s difficult to say what the band sound like, but I know fellow TINAS scribe Simon Crampton would love them. That probably makes you not want to listen to them now though, doesn’t it?
Next up was Middle Class Rut, a band who started out much like The White Stripes with just guitar and drums, but more rocking and are touring this current album “Pick Up Your Head” with some extra bodies on guitar, bass and percussion. Opening with “Busy Bein’ Born” the new line up sounds thick and tight and like it’s always been that way. Exuding high energy right from the get go the band rattle through a set covering their 5 years of releases including a fantastic rendition of “New Low” which whilst it may have set a few heads bobbing sadly Middle Class Rut didn’t seem to win over an awful lot of new fans, whether this is down to bad judgement on what the Papa Roach fans like or just the majority of those in attendance not getting them I don’t know, but it was a real shame as it was an excellent performance by an excellent band.
It’s Papa Roach everyone is here for though and by heck is it Papa Roach they get. Tearing straight into “Burn”, fists pump with every chorus and the crowd bounce furiously to “Silence is the Enemy” and “Blood Brothers”, by the time they start “Give Me Back My Life” Jacoby Shaddix has the audience in the palm of his hand and very few people in the room are even bothering to watch anyone else in the band. It’s here where the set takes an unexpected turn as the Roach launch into classic bouncy headbangy end of setter “Between Angels & Insects” showing that since the last time they were top billing the band has given the set a real overhaul, although it seems to be at the expense of certain periods of their career.
Whilst “Born With Nothing, Die With Everything” is played well and includes a nice breakdown in the middle with band introductions it is the only track to be played from the “Lovehatetragedy” album, the same going for “Lifeline” and “Metamorphosis” – what happened to live favourites like “Hollywood Whore”, “I Almost Told That I Loved You” or “She Loves Me Not”? Regardless of what you may think is missing there is no doubt that Papa Roach have a plethora of hard hitting gig worthy material, leaving the audience absolutely shattered by the time the main set ends on “…To be Loved”, luckily there are enough reserves in the fuel tanks for the encore triumvirate of “Getting Away With Murder”, “Dead Cell” and, of course, “Last Resort”.
The band were tight throughout, Jacoby was as insane as ever (seriously where does that man get his energy?) and the entire audience went home happy. Papa Roach, the champions of Ladcore, are back. Not that they ever really went away.