Papa Roach, Seether, Kyng, Islander – Wellmont Theater 01-17-2015 – Montclair, NJ
Written by: Andrew Wayne (MelodicEnmity)
It was a freezing cold afternoon in January at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ, and fans lined up early to wait. It turned into a line that encompassed approximately three city blocks. You could tell right then and there that this was going to be a special evening. Once inside, there were so many people that it became hard to navigate and move around freely. An accomplished show such as this is a rarity nowadays, with only a handful of bands still able to draw people out en masse to gather for one purpose: one hell of a night of music.
First up was Islander: A band that not only have I begun to love, but a band that has the ability to turn up the energy on-stage all the way up to 11. Not only have they brought back a style of music that has been slowly fading away, but they bring it with an entirely new and unique perspective; just picture 311 meets P.O.D. with Islander as their offspring. I commend these guys for bringing two styles together and making it all their own. The best part about their performance was that they certainly know how to please a crowd. Watching lead vocalist, Mikey Carvajal, stand atop the crowd, singing and interacting with them, was a sight to be seen. Also, it was a show in and of itself watching guitarist, J.R. Bareis, and bassist, Chris Doot, take the stage, moving so heartfelt to the rhythm of their music, certainly carried a vibe of pure passion. This made Islander a tough act to follow.
Next on the bill was KYNG: who take a much different approach on stage, but achieve the exact same result. Watching this 3-piece band took me back to the days when Nirvana came out to play. Though their music much heavier, KYNG brought an extremely interesting dynamic to the crowd by combining the sounds of yesteryear’s pure rock ‘n’ roll with today’s modern finish. One thing I need to mention before proceeding is, wow, Pepe Clarke is one hell of a drummer! I was captivated with what he alone brought to the table. Eddie Velez’s, gritty vocals soared throughout the theater, especially during their hit track, “Electric Halo.” KYNG are an extremely tight machine, showing great presence and experience.
After their set, people begin to wait in extreme anticipation for the bands up next; Seether and Papa Roach.
Seether always brings an intensely emotional performance with them wherever they go; mainly because vocalist Shaun Morgan and bassist Dale Stewart pour everything they have into not just their music, but their life experiences that they share so graciously with the crowd. The entire band takes such liberties within their own music that every time they play a song live, it is different somehow; changed in ways that bring an energy and different experience even for even those who have gone to see them many times prior. You can easily tell that the fans absolutely love it and hang on every word Shaun sings. For instance, I do not think that there was a lighter, cell phone, etc…off in the entire place during “Broken.” Their years in this business show. Seether keeps pulling punches around from unseen corners that not only surprise the audience members and fans alike, but continuously turn their music into an ever-maturing and growing being…taking on a life all its own.
Now for the end game. As the crew begins to dismantle Seether’s stage setup, something fascinating begins to unfold. I see a sight that took me by complete surprise. Behind Seether’s enormous backdrop, is a starry night with silhouettes of mountains on the bottom, much like the cover of Papa Roach’s upcoming album, “F.E.A.R.” (01/27/15). In front of this outstanding backdrop are three gigantic metal constructs appearing to be satellites. It is truly a beautiful sight to behold. No giant name anywhere, no gimmicks of any sort, just the beauty of art. The audience begins to cheer in unison as Papa Roach takes the stage to end this night.
If Islander can turn it up to 11, Papa Roach definitely turned it up to 12. Vocalist, Jacoby Shaddix, ran and moved constantly around the stage and theater, singing with and through the crowd while the other members took the stage like they owned it. Papa Roach thus created a pure energy that emanated throughout the entire venue. Not a single concert-goer was unaffected by this. People cheered, people sang along, but most importantly, took care of one another. As far as a setlist, Papa Roach not only played the fan favorites, but incorporated a couple tracks off of “F.E.A.R.” I personally believe that this album (review here) is the start of a completely new era for Papa Roach. Not only have they constantly evolved over their almost 22 years in existence, but for every new record, Papa Roach has had the ability to re-imagine and bring an entirely new sound and style to us. Papa Roach, between their live performances and very successful studio recordings, make them a true force to be reckoned with.
Hands down, this tour is the PERFECT package. If you have not already, I suggest you purchase your tickets if you still can and GO.