Papa Roach - Manchester Academy - 29.9.04

When Papa Roach first burst on to the scene a few years ago they were flying the flag for nu-metal alongside the Deftones and Limp Bizkit. Their major label debut album "Infest" was massively successful on both sides of the Atlantic. Since that early flush of success Papa Roach's fanbase has dwindled (tonight's gig has failed to sell out), but their drive, enthusiasm and ability for crafting emotional, heartfelt rock music is as strong as ever. Their new album "Getting Away With Murder" is a return to form and could make or break them.

The crowd welcome Papa Roach appreciatively as the American four piece take to the stage. Clearly thrilled to have such good support from the British fans the Roach are on a quest tonight to prove that they still have what it takes. Old skool, heavy metal skill and crossbones adorn the stage as the strobe lighting visualizes the dram and power of the band in all their live glory. Like Korn's Jonathan Davies, the Roach's frontman Jacoby Shaddix delves deep into childhood trauma, teenage problems and deep depression creating songs people can understand and relate to with soaring chorused and crunching guitar like "Broken Home", a very personal song, re-visiting, lyrically at least a very dark place. This is performed with raw, naked emotion with truth and honesty. One of the new songs "Scars" is played with utter conviction which chronicles one very bad night in Vegas. The single everyone knows, "Last Resort" is a rap rock tirade, taking no prisoners, pulling no punches with some superb guitar riffs and no nonsense lyrics. By this point of the gig Jacoby has really hit his stride and he's an unstoppable force of nature, berating Bush and involving every single member of the audience.

On the downside the set is criminally short (barely 75 minutes), but I suppose when the quality is this superlative it'd be churlish to complain especially when Papa Roach close with the brilliant "Angels And Insects".

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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