Review By Lynda Buchanan
It was a warm Monday night in Melbourne, and while most people may have been preparing for a quiet evening at home, the music lovers of the city had other plans. They were flocking to Margaret Court Arena to witness a double headline show with two of the most influential bands in the emo/punk rock genre – The Used and Papa Roach.
The Used and Papa Roach are veteran names in the industry and have amassed a devoted fan base that has been with them for over twenty years. The fact that they are sharing the stage for a double headline show is a testament to their lasting popularity and remarkable musical talent. As the venue filled up with eager fans, the excitement in the air was thick.
Taking the stage to kick off the night were the energetic Japanese rockers, coldrain. Making their long-awaited return to Australia after an eight-year hiatus. Having never witnessed coldrain before, I was immediately drawn to lead singer Masato Hayakawa, his vocal range is truly amazing. The band treated the audience to an energetic setlist, showcasing tracks from their latest album, Nonnegative, as well as fan favourites from The Side Effects and The Revelation.
coldrain's performance set the perfect tone for the evening, effectively warming up the crowd and leaving a lasting impression. Proving why they were the ideal choice to open the show. Here is hoping we don’t have to wait another 8 years to see these musicians again.
After a brief intermission, the excitement in the room heightened as The Used, took to the stage. They opened their set with Take It Away, a crowd favourite from their album In Love and Death, and the band was met with an outpouring of cheers.
McCracken reminded the audience that at a Used emo show, they were allowed to be themselves, and nobody would judge them. He then launched into Blow Me, which had the crowd dancing and singing along. The circle pits were in full swing as the band played their music, and the crowd was more than willing to participate. When the familiar sounds of The Used new single from their upcoming album, Toxic Positivity, called F**k You rang out across the venue, the audience joined Bret and stuck their middle fingers in the air.
Taste Of Ink was followed by the slower All That I’ve Got, which had the crowd singing along with full vigour. The band took a moment to celebrate the birthday of their lighting guy, Jeff, with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, which included a humorous ending with McCracken claiming it was his birthday too!
The audience was treated to The Used's latest single, Numb, with Bert giving them an unusual request - to boo instead of cheer at the end of the song. The crowd found it amusing and gladly complied.
Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach took the stage by surprise to perform Blood On My Hands alongside Bert, and you could see all the phones go up throughout the audience to capture this surprise appearance forever. The band's guitarist, Joey Bradford, showcased his skills with an incredible solo during the performance of Pretty Handsome Awkward. A request from the audience that McCracken, do a shoey. To which of course he obliged, catching the shoe that was thrown on stage and filling it with Red Bull before chugging it down. The crowd cheered and laughed in approval, adding to the overall high energy of the night.
As the set drew to a close, the band rocked out to A Box Full Of Sharp Objects, giving drummer Dan Whitesides the opportunity to show off his drumming expertise. The set culminated in a mashup with Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, leaving the audience pumped and energized.
McCracken finished the show with a bang, hurling himself into the crowd and ending the epic performance on a high note. The audience was now nice and warmed up, ready for the Papa Roach.
Excited yells rang though the air as the lights dimmed, and Jacoby Shaddix led Papa Roach onto the stage. A giant white cockroach loomed over the black backdrop behind them, and without missing a beat, the band launched into Kill the Noise from their newest release EGO TRIP, and it was crystal clear that Melbourne had missed Papa Roach dearly.
As Jacoby launched into Getting Away With Murder, he asked the audience, "Melbourne, how the f**k are you feeling tonight?" and the crowd erupted in cheers. As Jerry Horton shredded out his solo, Jacoby continued, "Let me see those horns in the f**king sky!" Shaddix declared how rock n roll saved him, and it was clear from the crowd's reaction that many of them felt the same way.
Another new song Cut The Line from the new album EGO TRIP was next. Jacoby explained that he wrote the song with the mosh pit in mind. "F**k yeah, it feels amazing to play that new shit," Jacoby exclaimed, grinning from ear to ear as the crowd cheered and began to headbang in unison.
In nod to their musical influences, the band played The Prodigy’s Firestarter and the Ramones’ Hey Ho Let's Go intro before launching into I Wanna Be Loved as Jacoby took the chance to connect with the crowd and ventured out into the seated section of the audience, managing to navigate the entire venue while singing to and along with the crowd.
Upon returning to the stage, Jacoby took a moment to deliver an uplifting message of hope and resilience, telling the crowd. "Show up for yourselves every day, you are worth it, no matter what your head says to you, no matter what the world says to you. That’s a fact, y'all!" and that pain is only temporary. The audience were clearly moved as the band played Scars while everyone lit up Margaret Court Arena with a sea of phone lights.
The stage was ignited with energy as Bert McCracken made a surprise appearance during No Apologies. His unique vocal style and vibrant stage presence complemented Jacoby's seamlessly. However, the collaborations didn't stop there. Recently, Papa Roach concluded their much-anticipated Amazing Things tour in the UK, where they shared the stage with fellow rockers, Don Broco. As luck would have it, Don Broco will also be touring Australia very soon and had arrived early. So, to the delight of the Melbourne crowd, Rob Damiani joined Papa Roach for Between Angels & Insects. This was an amazing opportunity for Rob to give the audience a taste of what they will be seeing next week, and I have no doubt there were a few ticket sales as “Bobby Damage” left it all on the stage and earnt Don Broco new fans across Melbourne.
As the sounds of Last Resort echo across the arena, the crowd becomes even more frenzied, if that was even possible. The audience screams the lyrics of the chorus back in unison and Jacoby stands back and takes it all in, basking in the moment. This is the magic of live music, and it's a beautiful thing to witness.
In that fleeting moment, as the band took their final bow, the appreciation was thick in the air, both from the performers and crowd. It was an unspoken agreement that each had given their all, leaving nothing behind. The audience departed with hearts brimming with happiness, their souls nourished by the events that they had just witnessed.
It's not uncommon for artists who have been around for a while, particularly those who have made their mark in the emo and pop-punk scenes, to be written off as being past their prime. But the performances by The Used and Papa Roach proved beyond any doubt that they still have what it takes to captivate a crowd and leave them wanting more.
Their new music is just as powerful and relevant as their past hits, proving that these bands are far from being mere nostalgia acts. It was an amazing night that showcased the lasting appeal and talent of these two incredible bands, leaving the Melbourne crowd begging for more.