REVIEW: Papa Roach – Limelight 1, Belfast

The One Hundred (10)When I interviewed Papa Roach earlier this year, they said that their dreams came true shortly after their second record Infest was released but at the same time, they’ve taken on a completely whole new life.

Now fifteen years later, it’s evident that they are now settled into this way of life but are they entirely comfortable?

If you’ve listened to their new album F.E.A.R., you will come to realise the struggles and regrets laid within. Past experiences and regrets that came to form their futures but there is a great deal of optimism and influence to come from Papa Roach’s latest offering. It’s hard-hitting – not quite ‘heavy’ but not so pop-punk – and inspiring. It’s their “You can do it – we did” record. The One Hundred (15)And I respect that. Coming from a band who surpassed their 20 year landmark this year and have had to deal with many different issues, F.E.A.R. isn’t an album you should disregard. Saturday in Belfast was evidence that this thought was one that was shared.

Within the walls of the Limelight 1, bodies steadily filled the floor and those that surrounded the bar were soon pulled to the stage with the arrival of Londoners The One Hundred. Frontman Jacob Field commanded the audience from the start, asking “Belfast! Are you with us?!” to screams from individuals sparsely populated around the venue. The electronic backtracks and the mix of rap-singing and screaming makes the One Hundred interesting. At times they are captivating. At others, similar to many bands throughout the world aiming to break the mould that been already broken several times before.

Papa Roach (5)Despite this their frontman was worth his weight in gold. Without him linking audience to band, they could have played to the faces of the disinterested and impatient but instead they played to the convinced and intrigued. Having finished their set, many were soon making way to the merch table. A good sign, no doubt.

When the lights dimmed and the stage went black, the screams were right on cue. With Tony Palermo and Jerry Horton leading the way, bassist Tobin Esperance followed not long before Jacoby Shaddix, the face of Papa Roach, appeared on stage and straight into ‘Face Everything and Rise’, title track of their new record F.E.A.R..

TPapa Roach (17)he response was fantastic. Many evidently purchased the record upon release and were ready for the possible influx of new songs at the Limelight. However 2004 favourite ‘Getting Away with Murder’ followed and set the crowd jumping and screaming back every word at Shaddix as he bounced around the stage, in his trademark sleeveless jacket and tattoos on display. But a massive roar erupted from Belfast when the opening chords from ‘Between Angels and Insects’ played by Horton and the verse yelled back to the band louder than the sound coming from the speakers. Belfast at it’s finest. Jumping, moshing and cups flying in the air for the full four minutes before Papa Roach settled down into their rhythm.

Papa Roach (8)‘Bloods Brothers’ called for a Wall of Death as Jacoby instructed a split in the audience before ‘Hollywood Whore’ confirmed that Belfast was most definitely familiar with past offerings of the Papa Roach discography. ‘Broken as Me’ was received equally well as its predecessors before the anthem ‘Scars’ ordered a frenzy once again. It was hit after hit. No stopping. With F.E.A.R. tracks received just as well, if not better, and ‘Warriors’ demonstrating this, showcasing the best of Papa Roach’s talents.

When Papa Roach left the stage, chants of the now-standard ‘One More Tune!’ bellowed throughout the Limelight complex before being replaced by a chorus of ‘Ole! Ole! Ole!’ which resulted on the four-piece returning to the stage to mass applause.

Papa Roach (6)Most surprisingly of the night however was ‘Last Resort’. It didn’t close the concert. It didn’t evoke the biggest reaction – far from it. Indeed, it was welcomed and thundered back to the band, but not with the same die-hard passion as the previous tracks. How refreshing.

The band’s career-making anthem is now the solid foundations of a 20 year old band, eight records down and millions of fans around the world. Fittingly, new song ‘Falling Apart’ and The Paramour Sessions‘…To Be Loved’  closed the show leaving the audience delighted, exhausted and no doubt praying that their statement of ‘We’ll be back’ will be fulfilled. Mark Dunn, GiggingNI.com