Case Number 09068: Small Claims Court

PAPA ROACH: LIVE AND MURDEROUS IN CHICAGO

Geffen Records // 2005 // 80 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Corupe (Retired) // April 14th, 2006

The Charge

I wish somebody would tell me I'm fine.

The Case

One of the more high-profile commercial hard rock bands to emerge at the tail end of the 1990s, rap-metal act Papa Roach, gained considerable popularity by speaking out to North America's disaffected youth with angry lyrics and chunky, slickly produced riffs. Though the group's subsequent albums never matched the success of their major label debut, Infest, frontman Jacoby Shaddix and bandmates Jerry Horton, David Buckner, and Tobin Esperance continue to enjoy a widespread fan base that stuck with the boys -- even as the popularity of the rap-metal fad subsided, and Papa Roach was forced to make a fast leap towards the nu metal bandwagon.

After the requisite sophomore slump that had many writing them off as one-hit wonders, the band regained some of their clout with their third major label album for Geffen, Getting Away with Murder, released in the summer of 2004. They toured the album well into the next year, including a May 2005 stop at the Vic Theater in Chicago, where this concert DVD, Papa Roach: Live & Murderous in Chicago was shot. In the course of 80 minutes, Shaddix and Co. take their visibly excited, pubescent audience through 19 songs. Here's what you get:

1. Dead Cell
2. Not Listening
3. She Loves Me Not
4. M-80
5. Getting Away With Murder
6. Be Free
7. Life Is A Bullet
8. Blood
9. Done With You
10. Harder Than A Coffin Nail
11. Blood Brothers
12. Born With Nothing, Die With Everything
13. Hit Me (Hip Hop version)
14. Take Me
15. Scars
16. Broken Home
17. Cocaine
18. Last Resort
19. Between Angels and Insects

Though musically questionable (and no doubt slightly embarrassing for the band in hindsight), Papa Roach's rap-metal tracks from their breakthrough first album clearly stand out against their later work, which is generic melodic metal that's about as unchallenging as it is interchangeable. No doubt they swapped styles to be taken more seriously as a band, but their newfound reliance on pubescent angst-exploiting lyrics and overused hard rock guitar riffs has ensured that this movement is strictly a lateral one: They've gone from a generic rap-metal group to a generic alt metal one. Not only are the songs from their last two albums barely distinguishable from one another, but they're entirely forgettable casualties of the major label obsession with crafting hit singles rather than cohesive albums.

The great thing about concert DVDs is that you get to watch the band as well as hear them. Perhaps nobody told Jacoby Shaddix this. His stage antics are alternatively painful and hilarious, as he thrusts his hips suggestively, grabs his crotch, and throws his hands in the air to take in the adoring screams of the enraptured 15-year-olds that comprise his audience. This is supposed to be visually exciting? I've seen concerts where the band had their backs to the audience the entire time and they still mustered more charisma than the clichéd and uninspired stage behaviour Shaddix displays here. All I can say is that the band is lucky their target audience is hormone-blinded high school kids, because any respectable music fan would certainly call foul on awkward between-song banter like "Y'all ready to rock this bitch?" and "I say 'Rock,' you say 'Roll'!" No thank you!

At least Papa Roach: Live & Murderous in Chicago looks and sounds good. Fans will not be disappointed with the work that has gone into presenting this show. Shot in HD with cameras swooping over the audience and band, the production ensures that this concert appears dynamic -- even when the band is far from it. The 1.85:1 transfer is remarkably clear, with no artifacts or grain to speak of. Impressive sound boasts 2.0 and 5.1 mixes that are both loud and full. There are even a few extras here including a photo gallery and seven videos from the band's roster of hit singles: "Getting Away With Murder," "Scars," "Last Resort," "Time and Time Again," "Between Angels and Insects," "Broken Home," and "She Loves Me Not."

It's telling that the band's three best known hit singles from Infest, "Last Resort," "Broken Home" and "Between Angels And Insects," are all positioned suspiciously at the very end of the concert, the hallmark of a band destined to ride out their limited contribution to popular music by clinging to their former glory. At least on Papa Roach: Live & Murderous in Chicago, fans will be able to skip past the sound-alike filler to get to the two or three songs they like (as opposed to anyone unfortunate enough to plunk down their parent's money on one of the band's concerts). That's enough reason to recommend it right there.

Review content copyright © 2006 Paul Corupe; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile
Studio: Geffen Records
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Still Gallery
* Videos

Accomplices
* Official Site
http://www.paparoach.com