Stone Sour + Papa Roach + Hounds @ O2 Academy Brixton, London – 10 December 12

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Review by Brady Deeprose

Arriving at London’s hallowed Brixton Academy a mere 10 minutes before doors, I was greeted by a queue snaking around the venue, almost meeting at the doors. A sold-out show on a cold Monday night isn’t a regular occurrence so I was sure to be in for something good.

Hailing from Essex, electro-punks Hounds began the proceedings with a short, sharp flurry of accessible yet grimy numbers. An unenthusiastic crowd and lack of light show could have seen off most bands yet they performed, competently, un-deterred.

There were no such crowd issues for Papa Roach who whipped up a frenzy the second they hit the stage with their latest single ‘Still Swingin’. It’s fair to say after so many years on the scene, that song title seems apt. Their new album The Connection, with its electronic input, translates well into the live setting and fans seemed happy to accept the tracks alongside nu-metal classics such as ‘Last Resort’ and ‘Dead Cell’. Mr Shaddix and Co. are on great form with new track ‘Where Did The Angels Go?’, hitting the crowd exactly where they needed it. This could have easily been a headline show for them, the only difference being a shorter set than they really deserved.

Setlist: Still Swingin’, Silence Is The Enemy, …To Be Loved, Getting Away With Murder, Burn, Forever, Scars, Hollywood Whore, Between Angels And Insects, Where Did The Angels Go?, Dead Cell, Last Resort

If Papa Roach got a good reception, the roar when the light’s dimmed and Stone Sour took the stage was something else. Sadly, the opening tracks ‘Gone Sovereign’ and ‘Absolute Zero’ lacked the punch that the previous band opened with. I think this was due to House Of Gold And Bones: Part 1, their latest release, not being out for that long. Never to be deterred, the simply majestic Corey Taylor stood front and centre in silence, just listening to the crowd chant his name. From just his stage persona you can see that he’s been doing this for years and is still loving it, sounding so genuinely thankful to everyone that was attending. Not to be caught being sentimental, the band barrelled through the heavier ‘Mission Statement’ and ‘Hell & Consequences’ which brought the crowd back on to their side. Unlike many of their contemporaries, Stone Sour stop after most songs and Corey converses with the crowd. While some may say this detracts from the atmosphere, I feel it brings the audience much closer to the band. There was almost a community spirit about the place.

The sense of reprieve is shattered by classics ‘Orchids’ and ‘Made Of Scars’ before the band test the waters with some newer material. The next three tracks from the band’s latest release go down a lot better than the set openers, with the crowd seemingly more receptive. I think that Corey’s irresistible charm and charisma could get the better of even the most stone hearted of punters.

My highlight of the evening was the second single from Audio Secrecy, ‘Say You’ll Haunt Me’. Aside from the fact it’s a personal favourite, almost the entire crowd was unified in belting the chorus. It was an intense experience. From the emotionally moving to the physically, the pace was raised for crowd favourite ‘Get Inside’, with the Iowans really showing their brute force.

While the heavier tracks please the crowd, Stone Sour really show their maturity and song writing ability with the hauntingly beautiful ‘The Travellers, Pt 2’ in its debut live performance. I felt privileged to be a part of it as they cascaded into ‘Last Of The Real’, a second live premiere of a more hard-rock fuelled track. Following this, the band exited the stage and Corey, returning with a guitar, was given the go-ahead to announce that Stone Sour will be playing Download 2013, much to the approval of the crowd. When the applause died down, he broke into a soulful rendition of ‘Bother’, and acoustic track from their self-titled album.

Much to my dismay, time got the better of me and to get back from London I had to leave early to catch the train. Walking out the door to the fading sounds of ‘Through Glass’ and an Academy singing along, it was clear to see that Stone Sour are a band in their prime, and if every performance they give is half as convincing as this was, they will continue to enthral audiences for years to come.

Setlist: Gone Sovereign, Absolute Zero, Mission Statement, Hell & Consequences, Orchids, Made Of Scars, A Rumor Of Skin, Reborn, RU486, Say You’ll Haunt Me, Get Inside, The Travelers, Pt. 2, Last Of The Real, Bother, Through Glass, Digital (Did You Tell), 30/30-150

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