Papa Roach @ O2 Academy, 29th April 2019

The unpredictable, yet always charming Papa Roach take over O2 Academy Birmingham again, touring in support of their 10th studio album released earlier this year. Title track ‘Who Do You Trust,’ together with ‘Renegade Music’ and ‘Not The Only One’ teased what turned out to be an unexpected album, presenting a fresh mix of weirdly enthusiastic and deeply contemplative vibes. The Californian band has stepped further away from their original nu-metal signature sound, while still bearing their energetic and never-say-die trademark stance. They embraced modern guitar riffs, included electronica and hip-hop elements, took lyrical risks, and created a surprising cocktail of new bangers and soul-touching tunes. Given their constantly evolving sound, history of memorable live performances and an impressive back catalogue,  I was even more intrigued to see what they brought to the stage. Papa Roach brought Nothing More along this time. Vocalist Jonny Hawkins came in like a hurricane, giving away raw energy that exuded excitement. Hawkins was captivating, covering the entire stage. Mid-way through the set, Hawkins and band revealed a more tender-hearted dimension through a few emotional songs such as ‘Jenny,’ only to pump back the spirits with an epic dubstep inspired grand ending. Hawkins was radiating wild energy, standing above it all. Nothing More are without a question worth keeping an eye on and paying full attention to in the foreseeable future.The crowd was left in high spirits and with an electronic intro that seemed like a continuation of where Nothing More left off, Papa Roach took over the stage and brought the night up on a whole new level. They started off with their best tune ‘Last Resort.’“Right here, right now, is everybody ready to party with Papa Roach?”Jacoby shouted and the crowd responded immediately, reciprocating the enthusiasm. It felt like there was no actual break between the bands: no ounce of excitement toned down. Throughout the set the bond between the fans and the band was strong and untainted, with Jacoby commanding the crowd like a general, seamlessly and naturally engaging with the fans who responded in perfect sync.The set was an exemplary blend of old and new songs, which transitioned smoothly from one to the next and satisfied new and old fans alike. Everyone was singing along at just the right times, you could feel the ecstasy, the excitement of each person cheering from the top of their lungs.”That’s what I’m talking about! That energy from you is what we live for” said Jacoby. His voice resonating through the Academy, covering songs from the beginning to the end of their catalogue just as tirelessly and with an impressive vitality.Midway through the set, after ‘Not The Only One,’ Jacoby took a moment to appreciate music and its power to unite people and I think it’s safe to say that in that moment everyone was feeling the togetherness he was talking about. “So good to be here with you guys tonight, this is my happy place right here” said Jacoby with the widest smile I’ve ever seen, meeting the crowd’s frenetic reaction.After challenging the fans to jump as high as possible during ‘Traumatic,’ an emotional pause followed before  ‘Falling Apart’ and ‘Forever,’ with an up-lifting, encouraging speech regarding pain and how it helps people grow even when it doesn’t feel so. It was reassuring and inspiring to see how his view changed over the years, regarding life and it’s struggles, getting more optimistic with each album. ‘None of the Above’ lifted back the spirits, with the powerful beats of the drums and deep guitar riffs. Crowd surfers started emerging at a faster pace. “The thing that brings us together is music. Everybody in the house, thank you so much for the love!” said Jacoby and then took a moment to further acknowledge his fans, including a lady for whom this was her 51 Papa Roach show — now that’s what I call pure, undying devotion — which can only reveal what this band has meant for its fans over the years and will certainly continue to do so in the future too. ‘Scars’ was another song that proves this, at the end of which the crowd burst in a prolonged cheer, after which Jacoby seemed deeply moved and confessed “Dude, that gave me goosebumps for real!”‘…To Be Loved’ got the Academy jumping, after which the band left the stage. However, it was not over yet, the fans weren’t ready to let them go. Papa Roach returned with an explosive cover of Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter,’ followed by a heartfelt acknowledgement of Keith Flint who tragically passed away not long ago. Instead of holding the expected moment of silence, Jacoby encouraged the crowd to pay a more fitting tribute, by screaming from the top of their lungs.‘Born For Greatness’ brought the show to an epic finale. “What an amazing way to end an amazing tour!” shouted Jacoby before gathering the band for the final bow, met by the loving cheers of the fans.  


  1. Last Resort
  1. Help
  1. Who Do You Trust?
  1. Getting Away With Murder
  1. Renegade Music
  1. Between Angels and Insects
  1. Elevate
  1. Not The Only One
  1. Traumatic
  1. Falling Apart
  1. Forever
  1. None of the Above
  1. Scars
  1. Feel Like Home
  1. … To Be Loved


  1. Firestarter (Prodigy cover)
  1. Infest
  1. Born For Greatness


Reviewer and Photography: Adriana Vasile

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