Rock Allegiance Tour at Mesa Amphitheatre, 9/23/11

Rock Allegiance Tour Mesa Amphitheatre Friday, September 23

Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Puddle of Mudd, and P.O.D. all sharing the bill...what year is this, 2002?

In spite of all four artists releasing their biggest hits about ten years ago, all continue to tour and record new music. I for one had no idea Papa Roach has released seven albums. I guess there's more to the band than those angsty songs from Infest. Oh, that's right, they released "Scars," and like Linkin Park, mellowed out veered away from rap rock.

Full disclosure- like most twentysomethings, I watched a lot of TRL during my tween years. I admitted to knowing every boy band song by heart while it was still cool to do so, and then started listening to bands like Korn because MTV played them a lot. The Rock Allegiance line-up was a big part of this era, so last night I tried to imagine myself as a 14-year-old totally stoked on seeing Papa Roach for the first time, at least until I discovered Blink-182 and disowned the whole nu-metal thing. See, parents, if you have any doubts about television rotting your children's brains, that's all the proof you need. They may end up becoming music writers someday.

14-year-old me never really got into Puddle of Mudd, but I was familiar with their big songs thanks to music videos and extensive radio play. Hit songs were represented through performances of "Control," "Blurry," and "She Hates Me" that sounded just like the recorded versions. The crowd showed their enthusiasm with as much fist pumping as an average episode of Jersey Shore. (See? I still watch too much MTV.)

Puddle of Mudd played two covers from their latest album, Re:(disc)overed, starting with "Gimme Shelter," which I'm sad to say wasn't recognized by too many people, but the audience enjoyed it nonetheless. Musically, the song sounds like the original, with the exception of Wes Scantlin singing it like...well, Wes Scantlin. If you love Puddle of Mudd, The Rolling Stones, and Neil Young, I'm sure you adored this portion of their set, but if you prefer the latter bands, you probably cringed too.

"Old Man" was the Neil Young Cover. I've been trying to come up with a crafty way to describe the vocals, but all I can think of is Henry Rollins' description. Unless you want to hear his rant about dance music, tune in at 2:53.

Those vocals paired with this "semi-acoustic" song, as in, it was entirely electric with the exception of one acoustic guitar. Fortunately, "Blurry" and "She Hates Me" weren't quite as reprehensible as the covers.

Papa Roach had the most energetic crowd, by far. Their set favored newer material with a couple of Infest songs- "Between Angels and Insects" and the closer, "Last Resort." Between songs, the band toyed with a couple introductions to Ramones and Pixies songs.

Frontman Jacoby Shaddix's astounding amount of energy was the driving force for the band's superb stage presence. He frequently leaned against the guardrail to sing in the crowd, at one point jumping off stage to take a lap around the entire floor area. Shaddix was constantly on the move, even for slower songs like upcoming single, "Get Your Lights Out." The new song was as well received as the rest of Papa Roach's set.

After "Get Your Lights Out," Shaddix proudly asked, "Who would have thought that back in 1993 that this band from Vacaville, California would still be ripping apart stages?" He was right. The crowd screamed and jumped at his every command as if the band was still dominating radio waves.

"Forever" was dedicated to "all the dirty girls," a line printed on the black tank tops sported by many ladies. There were plenty of band shirts, but the Papa Roach shirts greatly outnumbered everything else, even Rock Allegiance shirts. "Scars" and "Last Resort" were the big sing-alongs of the evening. Shaddix sang the last chorus of "Scars" in Spanish a cappella and screamed "Viva la cucaracha!" at the end.

The crowd continually thinned out during Buckcherry's set, and the remaining fans were lukewarm until the band closed with "Crazy Bitch." Musically, the band didn't stray too far from recordings, but the audience just wasn't feeling it. It was clear that most fans were there for Papa Roach.

Vocalist Josh Todd said "Lit Up" is about the first time he used cocaine--in case you couldn't tell from the repetitions of "I love the cocaine". His main takeaway from the experience is snorting blow equals more drinking.

Overall, Buckcherry's set was forgettable. The random fireworks display to the west was more entertaining than waiting for the band to play "Sorry" and "Crazy Bitch."

Puddle of Mudd Setlist: Stoned Psycho Away From Me Control Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones cover) Old Man (Neil Young cover) Blurry She Hates Me

Papa Roach Setlist Getting Away With Murder ...To Be Loved Burn Between Angels and Insects Forever The Enemy One Track Mind Get Your Lights Out Kick in the Teeth Scars Hollywood Whore Last Resort

Buckcherry Setlist Dead Rescue Me All Night Long Recovery Everything Out Of Line It's A Party Next 2 You Lit Up Sorry Crazy Bitch

Critic's Notebook Last Night: Rock Allegiance Tour with Buckcherry, Papa Roach, and Puddle of Mudd. Personal Bias: I'm not a big fan but I was curious to check these bands out. The Crowd: Diverse. There were a few families and some rock chicks- Overheard in the Crowd: "I need something better...something harder," disapproving fan during Papa Roach's new song. Random Notebook Dump: It's still better than Nickelback. One More Thing: I'm bummed I missed P.O.D., but if it's any consolation, here is the setlist: Boom Set it Off Roots in Stereo Youth of the Nation Southtown On Fire Alive What I Got (Sublime cover)

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Melissa Fossum
Contact: Melissa Fossum