Riding high on the success of their 10th studio album Who Do You Trust? (out now) the band were keen to ensure that they got their handsome faces over to the UK for us Brits to prove that it's not just American audiences that can raise the roof!
Opening up the evening were triple Grammy nominated (Rock Album/Song/Performance) San Antonio alt-rock four piece NOTHING MORE, they burst onto the stage and immediately set the room alight with some intense tracks lifted from their back catalogue and their latest album The Stories We Tell Ourselves which was released in 2017.
Watching the band on stage was incredible, whilst Mark and Dan stuck to their respective sides of the stage, a semi naked Jonny whizzed about the place, in general motion throughout the set, barely even able to catch his breath between tracks.
I particularly enjoyed the slower tracks such as 'Fade In/Fade Out' which was written for his father and 'Jenny' which he wrote about his sister and is "still trying to work out if she's an asshole or not".
Towards the end of the set, Jonny leapt up into a device that can only be described as a leftover from the set of Mad Max, I have since found out this is referred to as 'The Scorpion Tail' and is a newish creation that was unveiled during their previous headline tour. From his vantage point, Jonny experimented with some truly ear bending effects to create some impressive vocal trickery.
All in all, a super energetic set from a killer alt-rock quartet that very much deserve your attention, if you see them on the bill at a festival this year, make every effort to go and watch them, you can thank me later!
After a short break to remove 'The Scorpion Tail' and the remainder of Nothing More's gear, it was time for the main act, the one that everyone were here for and as the lights dipped, up went the roar and onto the stage strode the legends that are PAPA ROACH.
It’s a very bold move when a band of this calibre open up with what can only be described as one of their finest tracks ever, this was EXACTLY what happened in Exeter tonight, as the opening chords rang out to ‘Last Resort’ the room literally lost its shit, big time!
Formed in 1993, it was immediately clear to see that these guys know exactly what it takes to work a room and this is what they did for the next 90 minutes, the audience were literally eating out of their hands for the entire show.
They dropped in older tracks from their bulging back catalogue ‘Scars’, ‘Last Resort’, ‘Getting Away With Murder’ between newer offerings ‘Renegade Music’, ‘Elevate’, ‘Feel Like Home’ and having spoken to a die hard fan at the end of the show, she said that it was a perfect mix, all the classic crowd pleasers were there along with newer material which is really growing on the fans. The newer material had more of an electronic edge to it but it was easy to see the raw blend of rap/vocals backed by intensely strong guitar riffs that the band have delivered over the past quarter century.
The sound booming out of the speakers was nothing short of immense, this was embellished with the energy that every member of the band displayed, how they managed to keep it up for the entire show was simply breathtaking!
After the closing bars of ‘Crooked Teeth’ rang out throughout the auditorium, the band took a short break, filing back on stage a few minutes later for a 4 track encore, where they kicked things off with a jaw dropping cover of The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’. This was followed by an emotional speech from Jacoby where instead of a one minute silence, he demanded that everyone go bat shit crazy for a minute, screaming, shouting and generally letting Keith Flint know that he is greatly missed, the room did as they were told and come the end of the minute, the room was literally shaking!
It was great to see some mosh pits kicking off on the ground floor and whilst they didn’t match the size of ones seen at major festivals, it was entertaining to watch people leaping about and having a great time. I even saw a ‘wall of death’ kick off towards the end of the set which looked pretty brutal, thankfully, I had retired to the safety of the balcony by this time! I’m far too old for those crazy shenanigans now you know!
Being a Papa Roach virgin, I really didn’t know what to expect but I can honestly say that I had a really good time, the show was FULL of energy, great music and a very positive attitude conveyed throughout the room by the gracious fans that had flocked to Exeter to watch their heroes in action!
For a band that are well into the 3rd decade of their careers and with 20 million worldwide album sales under their belts, it’s clear to see that they are doing just fine, long may they continue to excite, enthrall and entertain for many years to come….
Review and Photography by Steve Muscutt