Following the release of two brand new songs, American rock band Papa Roach set out on a mini tour across North and Latin America. Fans in Orlando, FL, were lucky enough to be one of just ten cities to make the list of stops on the tour.
By 7:00 PM on Wednesday, October 9th, House of Blues in Lake Buena Vista was already packed to the brim. No surprise, since the show had sold out well in advance. A two piece rap group referred to by stage name Lil Lotus played a short opening set while a few more stragglers managed to squeeze into the venue.
Next up was metalcore band Of Mice & Men, who joins Papa Roach as the opening act for the entire mini-tour. Following founding vocalist Austin Carlile’s departure in 2016, there was some speculation about how Of Mice & Men would continue. When they released the first single without Austin, it became obvious that they were going to keep a similar sound, even returning to a heavier style than the last album Austin was featured on.
Of Mice & Men kicked their set off with the title track of their 2018 album release, Defy. Following the end of the song, bassist and backing vocalist-turned lead vocalist, Aaron Pauley, addressed the crowd, “House of Blues!”
Screams echoed in response but were quickly subdued when Aaron said, “Not tonight!” while shaking his head. “Tonight it’s the house of rock and fuckin’ roll!” He commanded the cheering crowd, “Open this shit up,” before breaking into heavy hitting ‘Warzone.’ By the end of the song, he concluded, “You guys are fuckin’ awesome.”
Being sure to appeal to their long term fanbase, Of Mice & Men threw it back a few albums, playing “Would You Still Be There” and “You Make Me Sick.” Aaron’s vocals carried over well and he is able to single handedly (single vocally?) cover both the harsh and clean techniques. The band kept to the old material, closing their set with “The Depths” before turning the stage over.
Papa Roach wasted no time on letting everyone hear the new material, diving straight into “Renegade Music,” the second of the two singles released just 4 days prior to the show. The room was clearly packed with diehards; more than just the front row appeared to already have the words memorized as they sang along.
At 25 years in the business, vocalist Jacoby Shaddix has more than mastered his position as frontman. He exclaimed, “I wanna see this mother fucker bouncin’!” Not only did the crowd oblige, but guitarist Jerry Horton and bassist Tobin Esperance also bounced around stage when Jacoby broke into the opening line “Face Everything And Rise.”
Papa Roach somehow managed to curate a perfectly balanced set of material spanning their entire discography, which can’t be a simple task with nine studio albums and 32 singles. “Between Angels and Insects,” and “Getting Away With Murder” were among the older staples incorporated in the set while “American Dreams” and “None of the Above” were among the newer side.
Jacoby was clearly feeding off the crowd saying, “This energy is fuckin’ awesome.” And then decided to stoke the fire himself when he continued with, “Let’s do a little experiment right now. I learned this back in 1999… Does anyone know what the wall of death is? Well if you don’t, you gonna learn!” While fans divided themselves into two distinct sides, he elaborated, “We’re gonna take you guys back many, many moons ago. Back to an album called Infest.” He then dedicated the song to Of Mice & Men and reminded the crowd on mosh pit etiquette, “If anybody goes down, pick ’em up… and give ’em a big ol’ wet kiss!” On the count of three, the two sides clashed into each other for “Blood Brothers.” Much to the excitement of the front row, Jacoby hopped down from stage after the first chorus, climbing his way across the risers to sing up close and personal.
Gears switched after “Blood Brothers,” playing Papa Roach’s highest-charting and most successful single “Scars” in a drastic contrast. The softer side continued shining through the performance of “Gravity,” but the energy skyrocketed back up when everyone yelled “Woo-hoo!” for a fun and uplifting cover of Blur’s “Song 2.”
After “Help,” Papa Roach made a nonchalant exit. Showgoers clearly weren’t ready for the end and demanded in chants, “Three more songs, three more songs!” The chants were answered when drummer Tony Palermo returned to his kit and unofficial fifth member/jack of all trades, Anthony Esperance pounded into the opening drum cadence of “Born For Greatness.” The similar style of song made for a flawless transition into the other brand new single, “Who Do You Trust?” but no Papa Roach show would be complete without an ending of “Last Resort.”
Needless to say, Papa Roach has found a way to tip-toe along the line of nostalgia and constant evolution, managing to stretch into different genres but still upholding their fundamental sound. Time and Time Again they demonstrate that the years have turned them into an act of true class with a live show that’s Still Swingin’. So if there’s one thing you definitely CAN trust, it’s that Papa Roach continues to deliver and constantly keeps us coming back for more.