Given the fact that Stone Sour and Papa Roach both have successful new albums out and are currently embarking on a co-headlining tour around the world could make you do a double take when you look at your calendar. Don’t worry, it is in fact 2013 and not 2003. At Club Nokia, in downtown Los Angeles on February 13, it was blatantly evident that great music is not limited by the fads and phases of popular culture no matter what the calendar says. Both these bands work hard, play well, write great music and have done so consistently for over ten years. Sometimes it seems that not enough attention is given to the bands that don’t burn out on drugs, have tantrums and break up.
For those who may remember Papa Roach as the band that did that “Last Resort” song a few years back, the band has basically been going strong ever since that single was released. Papa Roach have become the common denominator for successful rock tours in recent years and have critics worldwide lauding them as “the best live band.” The band’s most recent album, The Connection was released in October 2012 by Eleven Seven Music, and debuted in the top 20 on the Billboard Top 200. Known for their electrifying and explosive live shows, Papa Roach did not disappoint on this particular evening in L.A.
Papa Roach blasted onto the stage opening with the first single from their new album “Still Swingin.” Vocalist Jacoby Shaddix sounded perfect; with little indication that the band had to postpone touring the first few weeks after their new album hit shelves due to a mild vocal strain that needed rehabilitation. With his hair in a giant pompadour/mohawk hybrid, Shaddix jumped around the stage with unyielding energy. During the 16-song set, Papa Roach succeeded in proving undoubtedly that their nearly 15 years of success has definitely not been a fluke, delivering almost every major hit they’ve had without interruption for almost an hour, including “Between Angels and Insects,” “…To Be Loved” “Scars” “Forever” and “Lifeline.” The crowd was wound up and stayed that way throughout. After an extra animated version of “Getting Away with Murder” Shaddix quipped “you guys love this shit, huh?” It’s hard to get a Los Angeles audience enthused, but clearly Papa Roach had accomplished it. They wrapped up the set with the obligatory “Last Resort,” which of course had everyone singing along with reckless abandon.
Stone Sour has also been consistently delivering the goods over the last decade. Currently, they are celebrating the release of House of Gold & Bones Part 1, the first installment of their two album series, which came out on Roadrunner Records in October 2012. It debuted in the Top 10 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts. House of Gold & Bones Part 2 is slated to be released in April 2013.
Stone Sour hit the stage that night with “Gone Sovereign,” creeping to the center of the stage in the dark through the intro. Then they immediately followed with “Absolute Zero,” these two songs being the first singles released simultaneously from their new album. With the crowd already pumped from Papa Roach’s set, the crowded responded zealously. Vocalist Corey Taylor and guitarist Josh Rand donned suits through out the set, something you might not expect from a rock n’ roll band. Taylor’s was a white and Scarface-esque while Rand’s was classic black with a slightly comical red bow-tie. To go along with their fancy attire, the band was in top form. Even touring bassist Johnny Chow seemed especially on his game, visibly grooving to every song as much as the audience.
It was really intriguing to see Taylor a little less active than in his Slipknot sets, and focusing more on nailing vocal patterns than yelling and head-banging. Not that there weren’t some whiplash inducing moves from Taylor, the beginning of “Reborn” from 2006’s Come What(ever) May saw him enacting some of his more Slipknot-worthy moves. Lead guitarist James Root, who does double duty as the guitarist in Slipknot as well, was especially impressive with his solo’s hitting every note precisely while still maintaining a passionate feel, especially on the song “Do Me a Favor.” A taste of House of Gold and Bones Part 2, which Taylor was very proud to announce, “Do Me a Favor” is a gem of a rock song with heavy but bluesy riffage and a little extra attitude than the average Stone Sour song. Undoubtedly immensely proud of the song the band torn through it remarkably.
A definite highlight was when Taylor came out alone with a guitar and began playing the first half of Alice in Chain’s “Nutshell,” before going into the song “Bother” from Stone Sour’s self-titled debut. Clearly “Nutshell” was an influence on the song “Bother,” and the tribute was a nice touch. The set list was heavy with new material from House of Gold and Bones Part 1 including “The Travelers, Pt. 2,” “Last of the Real,” “RU486” and “A Rumor of Skin” in addition to the two that opened the set. This could account partially for why the set was so damn good, since many bands tend to be eager to show off their new stuff. What old stuff they did play blended perfectly in mood and style with the new material. Including the last song, a resounding version of “30/30-150,” one of the singles from Come What(ever) May, with the audience singing along at top voice. His red dress shirt soaked in sweat, his white suit jacket long since discarded, Taylor ended the night shouting, “Thank you so fucking much! We fucking love every motherfucking one of you, so take care of yourselves and each other. Good fucking night!”