It’s difficult to believe that Papa Roach’s Crooked Teeth tour almost didn’t hit Brisbane. The first run of shows initially only had Sydney and Melbourne pegged for the tour, but It’s lucky that they did include Brisbane as the line to get into The Tivoli spiraled about five hundred meters down the road and around the corner 40 minutes before doors were scheduled to open. This was going to be a good night.
Opening band Chelsea Rockwells were handpicked by Papa Roach as opening support, and for the most part they put on a really good show. In saying this however, it’s a shame that they didn’t command the attention befitting a band on that big of a stage, and while their tracks were good and really catchy in certain places, a majority of the crowd just wasn’t paying attention and was talking amongst themselves.
It’s a shame for the band who otherwise had no technical hiccups and performed pretty strongly, and I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that they were a three piece band performing with a vast expanse of empty space behind them, or maybe the crowd was just expecting an edgier sound from them in comparison to the very clean vibe that they put on, but there just felt like a disconnect between the fans behind the fourth row from the barrier and the band.
In terms of their performance, It wasn’t anything that was mind blowing, but it wasn’t bad either with some really good sounding riffs, some good hooks and a well-rounded sound overall, but it was still your standard rock fare. All in all these guys were a good band, but one that was underappreciated by the crowd, which is quite a shame.
Now it’s hard to believe that a band with a profile as big as Papa Roach have never embarked on a headline run of Australia. In fact, this being their third time in the country is probably one of the reasons that attendance at the show was so high, and if I would hazard to guess I would say that this show was probably close to selling out.
Before emerging on stage, Papa Roach began their night with a giant banner displaying the latest album cover for Crooked Teeth over the stage. It was a bit of a shame that this was dropped without the band behind it and then springing into action on stage, but the whole effect of the banner coming down and the PA introduction still gave a sense of grandiosity to the performance. The stage layout was quite plain, similar to Chelsea Rockwells before them but this area was more freely used by Papa Roach this time around. Jacoby Shaddix stayed still for all of about two seconds the entire set. This resulted in times where Jacoby went out in to the crowd to sing with the fans, even running up the stairs to the upper level at one point to sing off the balcony. While the rest of the band seemed relegated to their own separate corners of the stage for the performance, they still managed to give an energetic display that meant the fans always had something of interest to watch.
The set list covered all the staples from the band over the years while injecting a respectable mix of newer tracks into the fold, but the true highlight of the night wasn’t the songs, but the energy that the band brought to each and every one of them. Each time a new song or era of the band entered the room the energy stayed at a constant high that persisted the entire night, whether it was an angst filled rock track, or any of the slower ballad-esque tracks.
The involvement of the crowd in singing along was so prolific that the band could have honestly done the whole set as an instrumental and given Jacoby a rest and it would have still been a resounding success.
Perhaps it was that notion of inclusiveness that would be the best term to describe the overall feel of the night, and was perhaps best summed up when the band sampled Linkin Park’s In The End to close out track Forever. The crowd involvement carried the ending of the track and formed a truly touching moment when the venue burst out into a chant of “Chester” before Jacoby paid his own tribute to the late singer. Even during the performance of Last Resort, Shaddix took to the crowd to belt out the memorable chorus with the fans – a moment that I could have quite easily been enjoyable to watch without the involvement, but was made memorable by the frontman wading into a crowd of fans to do so.
For whatever reason, Brisbane was initially overlooked on this tour. The turnout, crowd reception and band feedback during the night all demonstrated that to do so would have been a grave mistake. Very few shows have had such visually positive impact as strong and profound amongst the fans as this show did, and the band is to be truly commended for putting on such a performance. Papa Roach’s headlining was one of a kind, and with the fan response being so highly positive, let’s hope it’s not too long before we get to experience it again.