Last night, California rockers Papa Roach returned to Starland Ballroom for the first time since the building was roughed over by flood damage from Hurricane Sandy almost exactly a year ago. The venue has been freshened up, with a modernized interior that includes an updated sound system and new stage lighting. The bar areas that lined the floor have been opened up, creating better sight lines and less need for music fans to crowd into awkward corners for a good view of the stage. And perhaps the most welcome change of all, the see-through plastic partition that once lined the bar railing is now completely gone, allowing barflies to enjoy the show free of obstruction!
As always, Papa Roach killed it, working the crowd up into a frenzied state with their special brand of rock. Their heavy sound is rough enough to get a circle pit going while remaining catchy enough to inspire singalongs and receive regular radio airplay ("Leader of the Broken Hearts" is currently #21 on the Billboard Rock Airplay Chart). With lyrics ranging from angry to hopeful, Papa Roach is known for winning fans and keeping them forever, as evidenced by the various Roach-themed tattoos displayed on the arms of the front row diehards.
As those longtime fans will tell you, a Papa Roach show is not for the weak. It's a blitzkrieg of noise, sight and sound, with frontman Jacoby Shaddix leading the attack. Drawing mostly from their latest release "The Connection" and their early work from "Infest", the set featured lots of fist-raising and crowd surfing, even by Shaddix himself, who sang part of "Still Swingin'" as he was transported by crowd hands across the floor of Starland. While a lot of bands go through the motions on stage, especially those that have been around 20 years like Papa Roach has, this foursome (Shaddix along with guitarist Jerry Horton, drummer Tony Palermo and bassist Tobin Esperance) never lets up on energy and has only gotten better with time.
Sadly, Papa Roach ends their US tour this weekend hitting up festivals in Florida, but they will be featured on a ShipRocked Cruise happening January 26th-30th. You can find more info at Shiprocked.com.