House of Blues / Orlando, FL
Nü-metal kingpins RED took the stage at 8:45 and old school, big rock hijinx immediately ensued. Obviously influenced by the arena rock era, Nashville’s hairless hair band delivered a high energy set so full of swagger and Judas Priest-style, cock-rock posturing that even Paul Stanley could have taken a few notes.
Although they were the support act, you wouldn’t have known it by the overwhelming response from their adoring fans. And despite a few front-of-house sound glitches, the crowd remained undeterred, offering non-stop sing-a-longs as the band burst into such signature radio hits as “Breath Into Me” and their latest offering “Death of Me.”
Frontman Michael Barnes boldly led his gang through the 30-minute onslaught as guitarist Jasen Rauch and bassist Randy Armstrong worked the stage, leaping from the drum riser and spinning their guitars as if they were auditioning for a gig in Whitesnake. With hair flying (he’s only member with any) and sticks twirling, drummer Joe Rickard is a non-stop rock and roll showman and could easily be Tommy Lee’s understudy. At the show’s conclusion and with his bandmates crashing and slashing out the big finale, guitarist Anthony Armstrong delivered his last notes “playing” his effects foot-pedal.
My only question this night was, “When did Papa Roach become so cool?”
I remember them first coming on the scene in the early 2000s mimicking the ridiculous late 1990s rap / metal thing and looking more like Limp Bizkit’s road crew and less like a world-class rock act. However, with the release of their latest record, Metamorphosis, the Southern California combo is now a lot more “Dr. Feelgood” and a lot less “Bulls on Parade.” In fact their current chartbuster, “Lifeline” is one of the catchiest ditties to come along in ages.
With Marshall amps stacked to the sky and donned in skinny jeans with trendy comb-overs and shiny “rocker” regalia, Papa Roach took the stage like bona fide, big time rock stars — yes, that’s a good thing.
Although frontman Jacoby Shaddix was quick to apologize to the near-sellout crowd for being sick, he certainly didn’t allow his illness to keep him from delivering an amazing performance.
The 60-plus minute set featured such PR standards as “Scars,” “Getting Away with Murder” and “Last Resort.” It also included such newer earworms as “Lifeline” and “Hollywood Whore,” which Shaddix dedicated to Paris Hilton and “Shitney” Spears.
In short, it was a rock show Nikki Sixx would have been proud of.
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