EDITOR'S NOTE: Dearest End Hits Readers: We take our show-going duties very seriously here. But sometimes we like to mix things up and combine our two true loves in this world: live music and illegal gambling. That was the initial motivation behind 2009's End Hits Concert Challenge, where upon losing a bet, a blogger would be annexed at a show (of someone else's choosing). Since its inception, we've changed the rules some (no more gambling, all End Hits writers must attend a show against their will) but the concept remains the same.
Due to my inability to say no to a drunken bet, and the cruelty of our readers, I was forced to attend a Papa Roach concert this weekend. How bad was it? Well, in addition to watching "The Roach" in concert, I witnessed a middle-aged man finger his date against a wall. Yeah, that happened.
Click through if you dare.
In order to purify myself before becoming submerged in the depths of nü-metal, I took my 85-year-old grandmother in-law out to dinner before the show. That ran long, so I missed opening act Pop Evil. Sorry. But after watching this I can declare that they are neither "pop" nor "evil."
Following them was Finger Eleven (band name foreshadowing!), whose wussy ballads were surprisingly well received by the amped-up capacity crowd. Finger Eleven are the band that you have heard, but couldn't identify if your life depended on it. They are basically Trapt/Staind/Shinedown, an unmemorable stopgap on the hard rock airwaves, that band KUFO (R.I.P.) used to play between rock blocks of Guns N' Roses and "Mandatory Metallica."
By this point in the evening the floor was too crowded, so I took refuge in the cold embrace of $5 watery domestic beers in the Roseland balcony. Papa Roach soon took the stage and opened with... um... that one song. You know, the angry one. Probably about abusive step-dads or something. (Attention step-parents everywhere: Please be nice to your new children. Because if you aren't kind to them, they'll change their name to something ridiculous like "Jacoby Shaddix" and write a thousand miserable songs about how much they hate you.)
Papa Roach's unapologetic peddling of anthemic anger was tolerable at best, but the crowd absolutely devoured it. I suppose there is a bit of Stockholm syndrome to shows like this, since even in my crossed-arms cynicism (I AM A VERY IMPORTANT MUSIC CRITIC WHO OWNS MANY CAPTAIN BEEFHEART ALBUMS THAT I RARELY LISTEN TO!) it's always enjoyable to watch 1500 or so fans completely lose their shit when a band steps onstage. Shaddix spent time between songs perched on an industrial metal box (totes metal) preaching to the crowd: "This one is about sticking to what you believe in!" Because, as we all know, songs about joint compromise do NOT belong in nü-metal.
All was well until "the couple" appeared next me. The pair was in their mid-40s and clearly had partaken in more than a few drinks that evening. (I thought maybe they were on E, but who the fuck takes ecstasy before a Papa Roach concert? Angry ravers?) Their sloppy make-out session was endearing at first—aw, look who got a sitter for the night and still has passion in their marriage—but it soon escalated to a level of creepiness that distracted me from the band. As their groping intensified, they soon began to slither down the back wall, inching closer and closer to me. I was trapped in the far corner and couldn't really find an exit path that didn't involve sliding past (or between) the affectionate duo. They were sliding closer and I was stuck.
Oh God, isn't this how all threesomes start?
By the time Papa Roach launched into their closing number—they had no encore, thanks guys—there was vigorous digital penetration going in mere feet from me. There is "sexy" and there is "getting aggressively fingered against the back wall at a Papa Roach concert," but as we all know, those two have absolutely nothing in common. The song mercifully ended, the house lights turned on, and the couple awkwardly peeled themselves apart just far enough for me to slide by.
Yeah, so that was how I spent my Saturday night. I hope you're happy.