Stone Sour and Papa Roach are in the midst of a co-headline tour that rolled through the Eagle's Ballroom at The Rave in Milwaukee on Jan. 25, 2013. What began with a thin crowd as tour opener Otherwise hit the stage at 7 p.m., quickly amassed into a crowd-surfing throng by the time Papa Roach had pumped out a few songs.
Papa Roach were forced to withdraw from the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival in 2012 when vocalist Jacoby Shaddix required emergency corrective surgery of his throat. Five months have passed and Shaddix appears to have fully recovered. They took the stage at 7:50 p.m. and opened with "Still Swinging" from their latest album, "The Connection." They brought intensity from the start, Shaddix bounced between risers while gripping the mic with both hands before letting loose with his frequent wails. Throat surgery aside, the man was singing with a vengeance.
The front side of their set was heavy with new music, featuring five songs from "The Connection" during the 75-minute time slot. Shaddix announced, "I wanna see you surfing" leading into their third tune, "Give Me Back My Life" and bodies immediately started pouring over the rail. That brief spark was all it took to get The Rave crowd into high gear. Hits "Scars" and "Lifeline" were pushed toward the end, helping to slowly build momentum before Papa Roach closed out their night with their first single and still fan favorite, "Last Resort."
"House of Gold & Bones - Part 1" was released in Oct. 2012 and is the first phase of Stone Sour's double concept album. Though "Part 2" has yet to hit the streets, "Part 1" stands tall on its own accord as one of the best album releases of the year. Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor has been busy--he wrote his first book, "Seven Deadly Sins...," then embarked upon an acoustic tour with book-reading [review]. A Slipknot reunion and tour, the first since the untimely death of bassist Paul Gray, ensued shortly thereafter. Its hard to fathom how "House of Gold & Bones" came to be considering the other tasks at hand.
Stone Sour hit the crowd with a solid one-two punch of "Gone Sovereign" and "Absolute Zero," the first two singles from "House," to reaffirm the album's strength. Taylor always performs with authority and tonight was no different. Looking sharp in a grey vest and slacks, complete with black converse sneakers, he looked the part as well. Guitarists Jim Root and Josh Rand traded tightly manicured riffs, the staple component of Stone Sour's sound.
Where many hard rock artists fall short in a live setting, Taylor's voice was tack sharp. His delivery was record quality, hitting both power screams and clean vocals with precision. Taylor noted, "Milwaukee, you are by far the loudest audience on the tour." The fans exuberance was obvious from the moment the lights dimmed and the crush of the crowd showed in the faces of a few against the rail. Taylor did politely ask the crowd to "take a step back" at one point to provide brief relief for a few fans.
"This is a song that's gonna tie us all together, we are gonna leave here as a family" said Taylor just before performing "Made of Scars." The band left the stage after playing "Say You'll Haunt Me" and Taylor returned alone with a guitar to sing the opening verse of Alice in Chains "Nutshell" as a segue into "Bother." Taylor had a few well placed pauses during the song, resulting in uproarious applause and fan chants of "Corey Taylor." He said, "That's why I will always be back," before finishing the song.
Taylor continued into the opening verse of "Through Glass" before being joined by the band at the chorus. The buildup was a dramatic effect to demonstrate its power. They closed out their set with "The Travelers, Part 2," "Last of the Real" and "30/30-150."
Given the strength of "House of Gold and Bones - Part 1" and subsequent tour, it's not hard to feel eager about "Part 2" this coming spring. No surprise considering everything Corey Taylor touches turns to gold.
Stone Sour setlist:
Hell & Consequences
Digital (Did You Tell)
Made of Scars
A Rumor of Skin
Say You'll Haunt Me
The Travelers, Pt. 2
Last of the Real