Live Review | Papa Roach w/ Ho99o9 & Dead! At O2 Brixton Academy, London | 10/10/2017

As their Crooked Teeth album cycle brings them back to the iconic O2 Academy Brixton for the 5th time on a headlining tour run, nu-metal champions Papa Roach are always ready to bring the thunder. Before we get a taste of that storm though, London based quartet Dead! [6] bring their mish-mash of musical flavours to the table, knocking out a cover of The Who’s ‘My Generation’ to help get the crowd on board, as they fling themselves about stage, members ending up on top of the drum kit and the floor simultaneously. You can tell the band has made a real effort here, decorating their amps and equipment with bouquets of flowers for a bit of aesthetic has allowed them to remain a memorable and standout performance even in the wake of the giants they are supporting under.

Photo Credit - Jess McPhee

Equally as memorable, though certainly not for the same reasons, are Ho99o9 [4] who are the most niche act on the bill tonight. Their obscure brand of rap infused thrash punk doesn’t quite strike a chord with the crowd, an issue they are very much aware of and address onstage. Despite this, Ho99o9 clearly know how to put on a show, utilising handheld lighting and costume design as part of their set, filled Prodigy-esque moments and rap sections coupled with politically charged lyrics, this is a band for lovers of a more abstract, hardcore punk noise that would tear the roof off smaller venues for certain. Yet even with these interesting and positive elements in their performance, their cluster of sounds left a large portion of the crowd tonight noticeably uncomfortable as they leave the stage.

Photo Credit - Jess McPhee

Finally Papa Roach [8] blitz the stage, making a grand entrance as their curtain drops to the sound of the Godzilla theme sampling ‘Simon Says’ by rap artist Pharoahe Monch over the speaker system. With barely an introduction, the ‘Roach dive straight in with album title track ‘Crooked Teeth’, before the familiar bassline of ‘Getting Away With Murder’ sends the crowd nuts. Papa Roach may be a band spanning well over 20 years now, but it’s their newer material that really goes off with a bang at this show. Front man and veteran performer Jacoby Shaddix turns his back to the crowd as camera crew appear to shoot live footage for their upcoming music video for the booming ‘Born For Greatness’. The tone shifts as the crowd is treated to raw, emotional discharge in the form of classic song ‘Scars’ and possibly the best most standout moment from the entire performance, an arena sized, colossal sounding rendition of ‘Periscope’ from the latest album.

Photo Credit - Jess McPhee

“London, are you ready to get rowdy again!?” screams Shaddix as they dish out a raunchy cover of ‘Song 2’ by Blur, and a devastatingly heavy ‘Traumatic’. Clearly intent on making as many people cry as possible tonight, they slip a section of Linkin Park’s ‘In The End’ into the set, and Jacoby speaks of how Chester was his friend, stating “we lost too many good ones this year”, also touching upon the loss of Chris Cornell just a few months prior to Chester’s passing. After a stripped back and slowed version of ‘Lifeline’, they keep the emotional rollercoaster on the tracks with a hard hitting ‘Help’ before leaving the stage. It’s not long before Shaddix and co return, Jacoby himself having changed into an Iron Maiden football shirt, as he tells us, charismatic as ever; “ya’ll got a lot of football teams to pick from, I thought I’d please everyone and wear an Iron Maiden football shirt!”.

They close things off with the instantly recognisable ‘Last Resort’ and twisted ‘...To Be Loved’, before taking their bows and leaving the stage. Papa Roach have proven two things tonight; that they are on top form right now, giving some of the best performances of their lives, and that they aren’t dropping out of the race anytime soon. A terrific set showcasing that their new material is just as essential as their classic hits catalogue, Papa Roach have faced everything, and risen to the top of their game.


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