April 12, 2018 Papa Roach Electrify The Paramount Huntington, NY 4-10-18 w/ Nothing More & Escape the Fate
Rock-n-Roll is about all unifying. Vital in a time when it seems division is a common trend, it bringing people of various backgrounds together, with, if anything, one mutual interest, the music! Take Eleven Seven Music for example, a dedicated Rock label that emerged back in 2006 who has since been the home of some of today’s hottest bands. No, they are not finding the cure for cancer or resolving social distress, but when they put together a tour like Papa Roach, Nothing More, and Escape the Fate, they are at least offering one of the best Hard Rock packages this side of the sun.
Led by Papa Roach, out on the final North American headlining leg of their Crooked Teeth World Tour, together with their friends Nothing More and Escape the Fate, members of Eleven Seven Music’s sister company Better Noise Records, they are burning down any obstacles in their path. Kicking off on April 5th, with plans to run through May 13th, on the otherwise ordinary Tuesday evening of April 10th the three-headed monster dropped by The Paramount in Huntington, New York, making the Long Island theater the place to be.
First up at just after 7 PM would the veteran rockers known as Escape the Fate. A band that has seen its share of change over the past 14 years, many may recall that the now Falling in Reverse frontman, Ronnie Radke, once led Escape the Fate. Thus beginning the band’s first major shift in sound, current Vocalist Craig Mabbitt, formerly of The Word Alive and blessthefall, took over without skipping a beat. Beyond that, it is really all thanks to the dedication and vision of Robert Ortiz that Escape the Fate has survived whatever storm surge has come their way, leading the band behind the drum kit since the start. Now, back with vengeance, they recently released their sixth studio album I Am Human back on March 30th, and it could be their very best to date.
That in mind, with Mabbitt on vocals, Ortiz on drums, they were joined by the consistent lineup of TJ Bell on guitar, Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft on lead guitar, along with touring Bassist Erik Jensen. Together, they took on the opening slot with professionalism and excitement. Not their first time visiting The Paramount, some may recall their performance back in 2013 supporting Hollywood Undead. In fact, some members of the audience may have very well been at that show!
Right up in the crowd’s face, at the edge of the stage, Mabbitt and company rocked through a tight packed list of recognizable tunes including the newest, “Do You Love Me” and “Broken Heart,” along with older favorites “This War Is Ours (The Guillotine II),” “Gorgeous Nightmare,” as well as the oh so catchy “One for the Money.” Although their performance seemed to be over in the blink of an eye, Escape the Fate broke the ice, paving the way for more heavy, emotionally driven music to come.
Speaking of emotional, there is really no other way to describe the output of Nothing More’s live set. A collection of passionate musicians, Nothing More – Jonny Hawkins (vocals), Mark Vollelunga (guitar, backing vocals), Daniel Oliver (bass, backing vocals), along with newest member Ben Anderson (drums) – have been through the fire and back. In some eyes, one of Hard Rock’s most promising new acts, in truth, Nothing More has been at this for over a decade now. Indeed veterans, who are wise and seasoned, it is thanks to their persistence they inked a deal with Eleven Seven Music in 2014, thus beginning their push into the mainstream public eye.
Since then, their 2014 album, Nothing More, grabbed the attention of many, setting the stage for their Grammy-nominated 2017 album The Stories We Tell Ourselves. Hungry, driven, and offering music with a message, Nothing More clearly had the attention of The Paramount as they began their set with “Do You Really Want It?.” A fitting opening, Hawkins’ approach grabs the listener by the shoulders, shaking sense into them to listen up. Impressively, this is all while engaging the senses in the process. Unleashing every ounce of energy in his body, the barefoot and shirtless Hawkins belted out one intense song after another, following with “Let ’em Burn” and “Don’t Stop.”
Matching the lead singer’s output, both Oliver and Vollelunga poured out their hearts on their respective instruments while providing strong backing vocals as Anderson delivered a tight backbeat. Provoking an adrenaline rush in the room, crowd-surfers floated to the front of the stage on the hand’s of their fellow concert goers. In some cases, this type of behavior is often aggressive and wild behavior, but in all honesty, it sincerely felt as if it was a metaphoric release of anxiety, anger, and frustration. It was not only a release for the daring crowd-surfers, but all who bared witness to Nothing More – not only did everyone know each song the band played, they shouted along with nearly every word. This was never more obvious than when Nothing More went into the striking “Go to War.” A song that should be the anthem for this very broken nation, Hawkins held nothing back as he continued on with the touching rendition of “Fadein/Fadeout.”
Racing against the clock, Nothing More rounded out their performance with “Jenny,” “This Is The Time (Ballast),” a cover of Skrillex’s “First of the Year (Equinox),” before finishing off their older tune, “Salem (Burn the Witch).” Breathing heavy and shouting at the top of their lungs, it was safe to say the crowd was not at all ready to bid farewell to Nothing More. Thankfully, Nothing More jammed in as much as they could with their direct supporting slot of Papa Roach. They even mixing in an epic band unified drum solo at the end, showing off their homemade mechanical behemoth – a magnificent industrial piece welded by Oliver himself. At this point, Nothing More is more than ready for an extensive headlining worldwide tour, one with will allow their stage show to blossom to its fullest potential on the biggest platforms. There is no more time for being an supporting act, Nothing More has broken down the walls and arrived!
Recollecting, after the physically and mentally draining experience of Nothing More, the practically sold out venue were almost foaming at the mouth waiting for Papa Roach. Not only has Papa Roach built themselves up to be one of the most well-known bands since their platinum selling major label debut album, 2000’s Infest, they have put all their resources into being a big act. How so? Well, they clearly reinvest in the band with high powered lighting, effects, and a massive banner that masked the stage before their performance begins. That, matched with an energetic delivery, you would be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining Hard Rock show.
Coming off a very strong 2017, their newest studio album, Crooked Teeth, marks their eighth consecutive to peak in the top 20 of the US Billboard 200. Not at all an easy task in an ever-changing music industry, Papa Roach has managed to keep the attention of a core fanbase all while growing that core year after year. They have experimented with Rap Rock, Alternative Rock, Hard Rock, even Glam Metal! That is the sign of a fearless band, a fearlessness that has paid off.
Returning to The Paramount for the first time in nearly 3 years, Papa Roach, led by Vocalist Jacoby Shaddix, were ready to tear down the house, or at least that massive sheet baring their name that cloaked the front of the stage. Together with Jerry Horton (lead guitar, backing vocals), Tobin Esperance (bass), and Tony Palermo (drums), Shaddix was unleashed like a rabid animal, starting off with “Crooked Teeth.” Shaddix’s stage presence is forever unmatched and uniquely his own. Frantically pacing at times, with a wild-eyed glare, it is as if he is in a psychotic trance once the music starts. Not at all a bad thing, regardless of vocal surgery in the past, he sounded powerful and enthusiastic through older songs such as “…To Be Loved,” “Getting Away With Murder” and “Snakes.”
Of course equally as passionate about the new music, Shaddix and his bandmates rocked through the uplifting “Face Everything and Rise,” “Still Swingin’,” and the defiant “Kick in the Teeth.” Not always full speed ahead, but no less intense, “Periscope” provided for the perfect change in pace for Papa Roach before dishing out the blistering “Lifeline.” From here, the temperature only rose higher with longtime favorites “Broken Home” and “Between Angels and Insects” as many, eagerly and willing, shouted out the lyrics. That said, Papa Roach’s songs have also bled from a place of reality in the hearts of their listeners. After all, the lyrics come from the pit of Shaddix’s soul – facing depression, overcoming addiction, and fighting for his life. These are just some of the obstacles many are trying to overcome on a daily basis, hence their strong connection with Papa Roach’s music.
Speaking of which, Shaddix acknowledged the tragic loss of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington who succumbed to suicide in 2017. Wearing his feelings on his sleeve, Shaddix spoke from the heart about parallel struggles in life, making everyone feel as if they are not alone, and even when all hope appears to be lost, to never give up. Only adding to the overall concert experience, Papa Roach, as a collective unit, were extremely connected with the audience, assuring everyone was indeed having the time of their life. Closing it all out with a string of hits including “Forever,” “Falling Apart,” and the most recent, “Born for Greatness,” it still did not seem as if the show was complete just yet.
Never one to disappoint, Papa Roach returned for an outstanding encore that launched with “Scars,” thrusted forward with “None of the Above,” and crashed landed with the epic “Last Resort.” Hyperactive until the final note, this band lived up to any expectations and then some. It is one thing to put on an dazzling light show with smoke and fire, but it is another to truly permeate a sense of love throughout a crowded room. Papa Roach did just that, and with Escape the Fate and Nothing More by their side over the next month, this tour remains the essential Hard Rock billing of 2018.