Papa Roach & The Used – Trusts Arena: April 18, 2023

Papa Roach

Papa Roach and The Used took the stage at Trusts Arena for another exciting emo reunion in Auckland.

VillainyKicking off early at 5.30 pm I was lucky to make it there for 6.30 catching the tail of Villainy, one of New Zealand’s premiere rock bands. The crowd was roaring to go for the early set time, dressed in all black. Both bands, The Used and Papa Roach, were not supposed to be in New Zealand but the call was there so for one night only they were set to perform to a crowd from across the country.

The Used

Delivering a well-put-together and robust show, The Used returned to New Zealand for the first time in 16 years. Well curated and thought through, the setlist took us from their early days in the early 2000s in the heyday of the Warped Tour and Emo Music all the way through to a song set for release in just a few days’ time called Numb.

Starting with the loud high energy Take It Away they were there and ready to perform a real kick-ass show, following it up with another classic The Bird and The Worm. The audience stayed captivated and engaged even when they played some newer lesser new songs, Fuck You is a well-loved one.

Joining the band on stage lead singer, Bert McCracken pulled a young kid from the crowd for several songs, calling him “the future”. He just seemed to be really enjoying his massive moment that we all wished we were living. Asking the audience to smile and remember to do that when they leave, McCracken’s wicked sense of humour comes through as he asks us to boo the band which doesn’t really work when you can’t stop grinning. They smash through classics such as Taste of Ink and All That I’ve Got just really highlighting the band’s long career, it was good to see them back.

Performing a classic and extremely old, Blue and Yellow, the song garnered a strong response from McCracken who stated they never play this song but that we deserved to hear it, the crowd responded well to this special treat. Bringing back memories of being in my early teens, McCracken asks the audience to open up the circle pit and then split down the middle during Pretty Handsome Awkward to create not a wall of death as it is traditionally known but a wall of love, where we were expected to run head first towards each other and hug. He dedicates this to the LGBTQI+ community and tells us to stay strong. The set sadly ends, playing Box Full of Sharp Objects running into a cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit which was a really high note to end on.

Papa Roach

Next up, Californian rock band Papa Roach took the stage to a loud, excited crowd full of Papa Roachbig men with long hair and black t-shirts, the crowd was really here for them. Hissing and roaring with a very rock and roll entrance they open with Kill The Noise followed by a classic, Getting Away With Murder which leads straight into a wall of death, early in the piece. Lead singer, Jacoby Shaddix, says that music saved his life and he continues to put his whole soul into the show, going into an Eminem cover, a Prodigy Firestarter cover which he dedicates to the late Keith Flint and finally a Cure cover, which the crowd lapped up. Playing through the hits, Scars and Forever their genre of manufactured rock has a lot of fans on the West side. It was kind of gimmicky, but fun nonetheless. They end with Last Resort which the crowd went ballistic.

To me, the combination of The Used and Papa Roach was a random one, two bands that seemingly didn’t have much to do with each other, fans or genre-wise. But differences aside, everyone was into the different flavours of music. It was good to see that after all this time, and that means decades, this kind of music is having a moment again. And, as The Used frontman stated, Emo is back baby but I would say, it never left judging by the number of fans.

Bridie Chetwin-Kelly

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Hamish Graham

Papa Roach:
The Used:
Villainy: