Back into my teenage years, there were a few bands that were really important for me, for my taste in music. I grew up with them, kept listening to them, and they stayed the part of my life. Papa Roach is one of those bands and getting to finally see them live after so many years was more than just a concert. It was more of an emotional throwback.
Papa Roach may not be in their prime anymore, they are not the arena-filling monster they once were, but this may actually be a good thing. Back in clubs, sold-out clubs, the band plays in front of their loyal fans making the connection more direct and more intense. About 1100 fans in sold-out Trix Muziekcentrum in Antwerpen made that point loud and clear.
Opening with 'Crooked Teeth' from a new album of the same name, sliding to 'Getting Away With Murder' and 'Between Angels And Insects,' Papa Roach quickly set the tone of the concert. The band instantly got the crowd going and hardly allowed them a moment to take a breath. New songs such as 'Born For Greatness,' 'Traumatic' or 'American Dreams' were combined with a smart choice of older classics and even a cover of Blur's legendary 'Song 2,' so there wasn't any place for mistake.
Song's like 'Scars,' 'She Loves Me Not' or 'Forever' are as strong as they were a decade or more ago, with later including a short snippet of Linkin Park's 'In The End,' as a tribute to their frontmen Chester Bennington. Followed by a moment of silence, for him, and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, it was one of the most emotional moments of the night. The only slowdowns came with a few slower tracks like 'Periscope,' 'Gravity,' or stripped down version of 'Lifeline' which came in just before 'Help' raised the bar again.
The encore brought another new song - 'None of the Above,' once again showing Papa Roach's faith in the new record, but also old school classics 'Dead Cell' and 'Last Resort,' before the closing with '... To Be Loved.' Papa Roach may not be in their twenties anymore, Jacoby Shaddix may not be able to pull all the screams he used to, but as long as they leave every atom of energy on the stage, as long as they look happy on stage - and they sure did on this show, as long as Jacoby's shirt is soaking in sweat, it's all I can ask for.