Tuesday, May 28, 2002 @ 7:48 AM
Papa Roach Infests The Phoenix
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REVIEW BY: Eric Francoz
When I found out that Papa Roach was playing at my old high school stomping ground, the Phoenix Theatre, I knew that I had to make the trek to Northern California to see the show. I arrived at the venue in Downtown Petaluma at about 7:45 PM, only to find that the Thursday night show was sold out. Apparently, a Sonoma County rock station was aggressively promoting the show, which sold out the 900 capacity venue quickly. The police were outside, circling the club, just in case of course (typical small town cops). With about 100 teenage "Roach-Heads" standing outside the doors, pacing and smoking cigarettes, I was able to buy a ticket from a fellow fan for $15. The kid, who looked about 16, had an extra ticket because his friend’s overly concerned mom wouldn’t let her son attend the show, presumably being a school night. Boy, I remember those days.
By the time I entered the old theatre, local bands Longfellow and Die-Trying had already played. They apparently received a positive response from the young, pumped-up crowd. Then the "we’re so cool" DJ’s from the small market rock station "The Fox" jumped on stage to pump-up the already anxious crowd. They did the typical nu-metal "yo-yo" and threw out a couple of t-shirts probably worth waxing your car with, before exiting the stage.
With kids accompanied by their parents up on the balcony, young moshers on the floor ready to explode, and air-raid sirens blaring, the boys from Vacaville,
California went on at an early 9:30 PM. The first thing I noticed when they jumped on the stage was the drummer wearing a Brujeria shirt and Coby (the singer) sporting a blond mohawk. With the release of their sophomore effort, Lovehatetragedy in June, and this being one of their 4 warm-up gigs before hitting the summer festivals, the band had an opportunity to try out their new stuff in front of a relatively small crowd. They opened with a couple of new tracks, the opening song presumably being the first cut on their new cd and the second being a track called "Life is a Bullet." Then came the familiar, and hard hitting "Dead Cell" from Infest.
The all ages, alcohol-free Phoenix Theatre didn’t stop the mostly underage crowd from thrashing up the place during every song of the 65 minute set. Although I felt that the new material didn’t have the same catchy hooks as their debut album, the crowd didn’t seem to care and reacted equally whether the band played a new song or an Infest classic. Everything went well with the exception of the pre-Infest song "Walking Thru Barbed Wire," from the Let ‘Em Know EP. Coby had to stop the song for about 30 seconds to tell a couple of moshers to "chill the fuck out" when they started taking swings in the pit. They blasted back into the song with precision and like nothing had happened.
During the song "Lovehatetragedy," the singer asked the crowd to raise their lighters in the memory of those who died on 9/11. It was a somber moment, during a mostly aggressive set. Before another new song, Coby drew a line down the center of the venue and asked everyone to move to either side of the club, producing an empty gap down the middle of the floor. Then on command, the entire floor of the medium size venue exploded into a massive pit. It was a site to be seen.
The set was split between new songs and ones from Infest. They ended the gig with the MTV classic, "Last Resort" and the curfew show was out before 11:00 PM. Stepping outside and greeted by the ever present Petaluma police, swarms of sweaty metal-loving, teenagers smiled and basked in the glory of not only getting their money’s worth, but also having had the chance to see a multi-platinum selling metal band play in their hometown. Pretty memorable, in my opinion.