Escape the Fate played to a packed crowd this last Sunday night at Montreal’s MTelus theater. They had to contend with a lot of equipment on the stage (Nothing More’s extensive setup was already present) and they’re not a small band, but they still managed to exude a lot of energy with the little space they had. More importantly, they gave a very catchy pop metal soundtrack for the myriad of people who were waiting in line at the ATM, bar, and coat check counter.
During the time between sets, somebody made the welcome (but not surprising) decision to pump the first five tracks of The Eminem Show through the MTelus speakers. I felt that that was important to mention.
Though all three bands on the bill played well, Nothing More was the clear visual highlight. They stood against a stunning backdrop that shone like amber as various colors and patterns danced across. Frontman Jonny Hawkins contorted his body in ways that seemed almost inhuman as they plowed their way through cuts like “Do You Really Want It?” and “This is the Time.” Incidentally, had he attempted to dine out in what he was wearing, he would certainly not have been allowed entry into most establishments, as his outfit lacked both a shirt and shoes. He found his way to anywhere and everywhere on the stage and there always seemed to be a microphone stand ready for him. At one point, a small percussion set that he had essentially been using as a stand, popped out of the ground. Then a synthesizer popped out of that, and the band performed the most awesome Skrillex cover you will ever hear. Oh, and there was fire, lots of fire.
Not a band to be outdone – even though they were totally outdone – Papa Roach played a fiery set that spanned their impressive discography. Jacoby Shaddix comes by his white boy rapper persona honestly and therefore can still rock the shit out of older nu-metal numbers like “Broken Home” and the always welcome “Between Angels and Insects.” They also weren’t afraid to show off their sensitive side. A real moment happened at the end of “Forever” when Shaddix switched gears and began singing the chorus to Linkin Park’s “In the End.” He followed it up with one of the most heartfelt speeches I think I’ve ever heard at a live concert. That wasn’t the end of Papa Roach’s covers selection, either. They also threw down an impromptu rendition of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” which in turn transformed into a faithful take of Blur’s “Song 2.” They also let their metal influence show by leading the crowd through a series of “wall of death” moments during a blistering run through of “Traumatic” from their latest record Crooked Teeth.
Just when things seemed like they couldn’t get any louder, the band returned for their encore with the smash hit “Scars.” The sheer volume emanating throughout the MTelusduring the track was probably enough to shake brick. Of course, they couldn’t leave without playing “Last Resort,” and the pit became as violent as ever. Papa Roach spent this 20-song set proving why they’ve outlasted and outgrown so many of their nu-metal contemporaries. Their dedication to delivering energetic rock and roll is second to very few, although Nothing More may, in fact, be one of them.
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Mike Milito