Papa Roach continue with their phenomenal success by returning with the Who Do You Trust UK Tour 2019 in support of their new album “Who Do You Trust?” (January 2019). On Wednesday 17th April 2019 the Californian stars rocked up at London’s O2 Forum Kentish Town to perform a sold-out show in front of thousands of fans, most donning Papa Roach t-shirts. And due to popular demand, an extra date was added for the 18th which proved to be an unmissable event as fans turned up in large numbers. I was lucky enough to catch both shows. It was bound to be two nights to remember with support provided by the mean sounding Nothing More, Hot Milk (17th) and A (18th.)
Tonight’s opener hailing from Manchester was Hot Milk. The dual fronted emo power pop rockers served up a short and punchy set full of energy and musical talent. Singer and guitarist Hannah Mee had the unrivaled ability to connect with the crowd as she belted out note after note. The venue was decently filled and the power of their performance and energy drew in the crowd. They delivered a fresh, exciting set and certainly warmed up the audience for what was coming next. The quartet left the stage to a chorus of cheers and nods of approval.
The venue darkened to pitch black visibility the crowd became quiet. BANG! Nothing More exploded on to the stage which startled the crowd. Lights strobed to the intro and revealed the barefooted, shirtless vocalist Jonny Hawkins swinging on an extended ladder-like mic stand. They plowed straight into set opener “Let Em Burn.” The supercharged energetic performance slowed down for the emotionally fuelled “Fade In/Fade Out” and soon picked up again with the Scorpion Tail contraption. The innovative instrument lifted Jonny to the ceiling on hydraulics as he pushed and pulled and cranked knobs that created distorted electronic sounds that added a unique touch to their set. This was an unforgettable act and I still have “Don’t Stop” stuck in my head since! Jonny’s versatile vocal ability is incomparable and the chunky basslines boomed within the Forum. Jonny is a master in his own art and I thought these guys almost stole the show on both nights capable of being headliners themselves. The only notable difference to this band was the set time as they were on first on the second night.
For fans who missed the opportunity of seeing Hot Milk on Wednesday had the chance to see British alternative rock band A at the second Papa Roach show being the penultimate band for Thursday. I was not impressed by these five ordinary looking guys and singer Jason Perry thinking he’s in Blink 182!
However, they took the venue by storm despite all the rambling and nonsense that Jason delivered. Clearly, their stage presence is still going strong and the set reached a new height as they finished with fan favorite “Nothing.” I cannot believe how they won over the crowd.
Following a 30-minute change over during which the energy was electric, the anticipation grew stronger as we waited for the arrival of the one and only Papa Roach! The moment finally arrived when lights dimmed and the stage darkened, mobile phones ready to record the boys burst into the set staple “Last Resort” which sent the crowd into a music-induced frenzy. “Help” and new track “Who Do You Trust” simply set the crowd on fire. Every song became a mass sing-along which made frontman Jacoby Shaddix almost inaudible at times. Jacoby asked, “are you ready to party?” The response was deafening as the crowd roared. The steady wave of crowd surfers and moshers resulted in a constant flow of casualties, shirtless bodies running around and shoes in the air. Jacoby showed immense affection for the crowd and remarked “you guys are *expletive* crazy! I love it.”
Boasting an extensive back catalog Papa Roach delivered something for every fan from the old school nu-metal anthem “Between Angels and Insects” and new songs “Elevate” and “Not The Only One” each received as classics. Word for word, note for note the crowd sang in unison, and notably during “Scars” the audience could have easily given Jacoby a rest from his vocal duties for this hit.
You can truly hear how their style has evolved and matured over 26 years both lyrically and musically. Guitarist Jerry Horton thrilled us with bouncy riffs and catchy hooks making it all the more memorable. Touring member rhythm guitarist, percussionist, and keys, Anthony Esperance was on top form. Hefty drum work came from Tony Palermo who pummelled away effortlessly during “American Dreams” and “Falling Apart” where I got to see the beast behind the beats from behind!
The crowd chanted “we want more” and “Papa Roach” when the band left the stage after the final song only to return with four fantastic encore songs. Jacoby made a heartfelt tribute to the late great Keith Flint (The Prodigy) when he tragically took his own life earlier this year with a grandiose cover of “Firestarter.” On both nights we celebrated Keith’s life and his contribution to the music industry. The high-octane performance continued with “Infest” and “Born for Greatness” with “Broken Home” and “Blood Brothers” being the only difference between the two epic shows, as well as a slightly shorter set list on Thursday which allowed for the band to jam.
High energy aside, Wednesday’s show was perhaps Papa Roach at its finest. Their infectious sound was flawless and simply sensational! The UK tour continues, so make it your priority to catch them in a city near you.
Review by Nadira Cee | All Photos by Fernando Bonenfant