Papa Roach

support Buckcherry + Dear Superstar
author TL date 09/06/09 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Okay okay, so I admit that this review is a tiny bit late, but unfortunately I had an exam to take care of, you know how it goes. In any event, let me quickly take you back to Tuesday last week, where AP, Jill and I had made our way to Store Vega to check out whether or not the hype around Papa Roach's live show would hold, what with them being considered sellouts by the majority of the serious rock community and all. Figuring that the entrance would be packed but not sold out, we had made a pit stop at a bar to oil the machinery and get in the proper mood for some rock'n'roll, and this turned out great for us, since the queue was gone when we arrived while tickets were still available for this poor writer, the only one of us who wasn't accommodated on the guest list this time. Other than us checking out the major label(/over) priced merchandise, nothing interesting can really be said about the time before the shows started. There was a solid mixed crowd and everyone was anxious for some music, so let's get to it shall we?

Dear Superstar

The first band on the bill was Dear Superstar, and in all honesty I have little positive to say about them. They were simply quite awful, and the most accurate expression that comes to mind about them is "trying too hard". Geared up in an pick'n'mix assortment of what's trendy in the scenes, the band tore into a set of music that sounded the most like a really poor man's version of LoveHateHero. Their attitude never felt like it was their own, and I kid you not when I say that EVERY song of theirs was in the same time signature (8/8 - predictable much?) and followed the same exact formula structurewise. Take a look at these guys on their myspace, listen to one song and then imagine a set full of repetitions of their verse-chorus-verse-chorus-break-chorus clones, played at the same pace? Sounds boring? That's because it was, bordering on the ridiculous. You'd have to have a serious crush on OTT stage performance and overly simplistic music to appreciate this set. So maybe if this was the only gig you saw this year you could like it. Me, I found it atrocious.



Now Buckcherry on the other hand was a whole different ball game. From the second these veteran rockers came on stage it was like the smell of authority and integrity rolled out over the audience and their sound didn't do anything to betray this, nor did their performance. It's true that you could also accuse Buckcherry for being a severely cliché driven band, considering how closely aligned they are with Guns N' Roses for instance, but then that's rock'n'roll isn't it? Everything's been done before and quality is in the convincing interpretation right? Josh Todd is convincing alright as he prances around the stage with appropriately restrained enthusiasm. Keith Nelson is convincing and then some, as he cranks out sublime solos in perfect accordance with the rock'n'roll bible if ever a such was written. You could argue that this band's songs are also predictable, that Josh's nasal voice isn't exactly the most versatile listening experience in the world, and that maybe they were a bit too arrogant, but really, there's just no denying that these boys have class, and them being on after Dear Superstar only made this all the more clear.

Papa Roach

When Papa Roach walked on stage to the opening tones of their new album, launching straight into opener "Change Or Die" after the intro "Days Of War", it was one of the most remarkable shifts in atmosphere from support to headliner that I can remember seeing recently. It was time to get down to business, simple as that, as Jacoby Shaddix started the relentless engagement to the crowd that would last to the very end of the show. From the newer era of the band's career we also got to hear "To Be Loved", "Getting Away With Murder", "Hollywood Whore" and "Lifeline". All of them received very well by the crowd. Unsurprisingly though, it was the songs from the time when the band was actually known here in Denmark that got the most dedicated response. "She Loves Me Not" and "Last Resort" were obvious fan favourites, but the band also saw it fit to treat us to other oldies like "Dead Cell", "Angels And Insects" and "Forever". These songs from the rap-metal period had also been modernized with screams here and there instead of the rapping, and especially "Last Resort" contained a surprise with the drums kicking into double pace for the first chorus. However, this mixed bag of songs also revealed something that's consistently true for Papa Roach, and that is that their songs, just like those of the two other bands on the bill, are too faithfully built around the mainstream pop/rock formula. There can be no doubt that Papa Roach give the audience hell when they're on stage, but it's like their show is more professional than it is artistic. Like they're selling a product and selling it well, while the true love of music and passion in the songs is harder to find. Does this mean that it was a bad show then? Not at all, you can still go a long way with good tunes, great energy and on stage discipline, as I'm sure most of the audience will sign on. It was the very definition of a solid show, and it was perfect for the fans of this particular kind of music.


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