Alexandra Palace was the place to be last Saturday night, where Papa Roach returned to play a sold-out London show after four long years. Delivering a thrilling, energy-blasted show to a venue packed with fans, the band proved once again that there is no place like a Papa Roach show.
Alexandra Palace – 25 March 2023
Words and Photography: Aggie Anthimidou
Anticipation is building up as one by one – Jerry Horton (guitar), Tobin Esperance (bass), Tony Palermo (drums) and Anthony Esperance (keys) – take their place on stage. As the crunching opening riff of Kill The Noise drops, Jacoby Shaddix roams onto the stage in front of a headbanging crowd. Dressed all in black, Shaddix sounds phenomenal. It doesn’t take much for the crowd to become fully engaged by the second song, as Getting Away With Murder has the full house jumping.
“It’s good to be back on stage right here at mother fuckin’ London.” Classic fan favourite Help gets a loud, all-around melodic chorus from the crowd.
“How many of you here tonight are old Papa Roach fans?” Shaddix asks, and it seems that the full venue is. Blood Brothers put in motion a huge mosh pit, and Dead Cell follows, a set staple from the band’s earlier days, is exuberating raw energy, adding to the already electrifying atmosphere.
“Sure doesn’t feel like Sunday. It feels like Friday”, Jacoby points out. “Is it Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday? I don’t fuckin’ know. I am in a fuckin’ rock band,” he jokes.
Shaddix has always been a truly charismatic frontman and builds genuine rapport with his fans. He commands the stage and his crowd throughout the set. The band always feeds off the crowd’s energy (and vice versa).
“I want to see everybody jumping on this next song,” he says before launching into The Prodigy’s exceptionally delivered Firestarter. The Prodigy hold a dear place in the band’s heart as one of their key creative influences, and the song has found a permanent fixture in the set, offering one of the night’s most intense moments.
“This was pretty awesome,” Jacoby says, and whether it is jumping or asking fans to open a “Metallica style old school circle pit”, everybody is happy to follow the frontman’s command.
…To Be Loved, with its Californian rock energy, gets fans through the roof and causes surges of crowd surfing. Shaddix jumps into the pit and onto the barrier directly in front of the fans to sing the remainder of the song.
An instrumental rendition of The Cure’s Lullaby, a nod to another of the band’s influences, offers a breather with Tobin’s bass taking the front stage.
In the notes of Lullaby, Jacoby addresses the crowd. “What a fuckin’ good night to be alive,” he says. “Do you like what you hear?” The fans scream their response. “Because I love what I see, the fantastic energy. We feel this shit up here. Before we get to the next song, I wanna say thanks to everybody coming out to support live music”.
You got to love Papa Roach for the positive attitude they always bring to their shows. There is no rock star attitude of raising walls. They get on stage, give 110% and truly connect with their fans on a musical and emotional level.
“To anyone struggling, never give up on yourself. Never give up on yourself ’cause you worth it,” says Shaddix and gains a loud cheer from the crowd.
Fans cherished song Scars, with the crowd’s sing-along, is always a beautiful moment at any Papa Roach show. Heartfelt No Apologies, from the band’s latest album Ego Trip, gives way for ‘None Of The Above which slowly brings the energy up before launching into Dr Dre’s ‘Still Dre – another surprise cover for the evening. Between Angels and Insects, an Infest favourite, offers one of the most thrilling moments with fans completely engrossed in the track. Jacoby is flawless, but he allows the space for fans to interact with the band and cover parts of the song.
As the set comes to an end, the highly anticipated Last Resort and Born For Greatness offer an epic wrap-up to an explosive show.
No matter how many times I see Papa Roach live, the relentless contagious energy, the execution and the pure love for what they do is always there. Their show is an energy and emotional release.
And although the set was shorter this evening, it still gave fans a boost of pure music magic and the hope there is a UK headline Papa Roach tour in the cards in the near future.
You can read the Don Broco report here.