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  • Tara Lakatos

Review: Papa Roach, Nothing More and Escape the Fate at The Wellmont Theater

Papa Roach’s “Crooked Teeth” tour took over the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ on April 11, 2018. They brought along Nothing More and Escape the Fate for the ride. Papa Roach is supporting their 2017 release “Crooked Teeth”, Nothing More is supporting their 2017 release “The Stories We Tell Ourselves” and Escape the Fate is supporting their 2018 release “I am Human”.


Escape the Fate consists of Craig Mabbit (vocals), Thomas “TJ” Bell (guitar, vocals), Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft (guitars, vocals), Robert Ortiz (drums) and Erik Jensen (touring bassist). Escape the Fate is a band that has two separate styles. On one hand they are a beautifully melodic rock band and on the other hand they are a bone crushing, in your face metal band. They played 3 songs off of their new album, all of these songs fall into the melodic rock category and to me this is where they shine. They started with Do You Love Me?, which is an incredibly infectious song. Craig’s vocals were super smooth, TJ and Kevin had great harmony and Robert and Erik solidly held down the rhythm section. They also played I Am Human and Broken Heart which were also well done. To mix up their set they blew the roof off with This War is Ours, this song is metal through and through. I have not seen many bands that have such a big swing in styles but Escape the Fate make it work.


Nothing More consists of Jonny Hawkins (vocals, drums), Mark Vollelunga (guitar, vocals), Daniel Oliver (bass, vocals) and Ben Anderson (drums). A Nothing More performance is nothing short of a religious experience. Jonny is possessed by something other worldly when he performs. The amount of passion that each of these band members pour into their craft is inspiring. Their new album “The Stories We Tell Ourselves” was deservingly nominated for 3 Grammy’s.


They opened the show with Christ Copyright from their self-titled album. Jonny came blazing onto the stage and jumped onto this gothic metal contraption that he uses throughout the night. It contains a hidden drum, ornate microphone and a platform for him to stand on. He starts drumming and loses his mind. After a short frenzy he grabs his mic, runs across the stage and starts belting out the song. Trying to follow him around the stage to photograph was such a huge rush, to feel is energy was amazing. Mark is a guitarist with a few tricks up his one sleeve. There are a few parts where he will put his guitar up to his mic and sing over his pickups to make incredible sounds. Daniel, quite possibly the happiest bass player I’ve ever seen. This guy head bangs with a huge grin. He’s super talented and plays like the whole world is watching. Ben’s energy from behind the drums could be felt all the way in the back of the venue.


They played 3 more incredibly infectious, high impact songs off their new album; Do You Really Want It, Don’t Stop, and Go to War. Then the set got serious with a haunting ballad Fade In/Fade Out, which is a song about watching your parents grow old and Jenny which is a very personal song to Jonny, it’s about watching his sister battle addiction. They closed out their killer set with This is the Time (Ballast) and Salem (Burn the Witch). If you’ve never seen Nothing More live you are really missing out on a musical journey.


Papa Roach consists of Jacoby Shaddix (vocals), Jerry Horton (guitar, vocals), Tobin Esperance (bass, vocals), Tony Palmero (drums) and Anthony Esperance (touring guitarist). Papa Roach had a very tough act to follow. They came out behind a backdrop to increase the crowd’s anticipation, the curtain dropped and the mosh pits ensued. Papa Roach played a jam-packed 22-song set that spanned their entire catalogue dating back to their 2000 release “Infest”.


They opened with Crooked Teeth, which is the title track of their newest release. Jacoby’s energy is on an insane level, he powers out vocals that are mix of rap and hard rock. His stage presence is infectious; he spends his time bouncing up and down to the rhythm of the song. Next up was To Be Loved off of their 2006 release “The Paramour Sessions”; this song is super high octane. Tony’s drumming is the star of this track; he pounds out furious beats that make you lose your breath.


They hit on two tracks that are a little slower in style for them, Gravity which features Maria Brink on the album “F.E.A.R.” and Periscope, which features Skylar Grey on the album “Crooked Teeth”. Gravity is a heavier version of a power ballad and Periscope has more of a pop rock feel to it. It features Jacoby’s impeccable clean vocals, which can make just about anyone melt. They played several more tracks off of their newest release including Traumatic, Help and a personal favorite Born For Greatness, all of which are easily arena anthems. Jerry, Tobin, Tony and Anthony are all fantastic musicians that mesh together to create something special.


Papa Roach ended the night with fan favorites Scars and their first hit song Last Resort. The crowd spent the night singing, moshing and crowd surfing. Papa Roach has a loyal following that definitely got the performance that they showed up for. It’s awesome to see a band that’s been through a lot over the years come out and give their all. I believe that we will be seeing Papa Roach record and perform shows for a long time. This tour is running through May across the U.S., if they hit your city be sure to catch this one, you will not be disappointed.


Papa Roach Gallery

Nothing More Gallery

Escape the Fate Gallery









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