Review by Greg Maki
Even at the early hour of 6:30 p.m., the Fillmore was mostly packed when Islander hit the stage, kicking off four and a half hours of music on this cold January night. The most important thing an opening act can bring to the stage is energy; even if your music is terrible, you at least can keep the audience occupied for the 30 minutes they must spend with you. Well, Islander’s music, which draws from both nu metal and hard rock, isn’t terrible, and the Greenville, South Carolina, band’s energy could not be contained by the limited stage space; frontman Mikey Carvajal made one of several trips into the crowd at the start of the second song.
Islander felt a bit out of place on last summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and seemed like a better fit here. The band clearly has gained some new fans since then, as evidenced by the crowd singalong on the set-closer, the hit “Coconut Dracula.”
If there was an oddball on the bill it was Kyng, which opened its set at its most Sabbath-y with “In the Land of Pigs.” Playing in near-total darkness, the Los Angeles trio crushed for 30 minutes, its set highlighted by the single “Electric Halo” and the title track from its latest album, “Burn the Serum.” A cover of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher,” in the repertoire since last year, remained a showstopper, and after plowing through its scheduled set, the band had time to squeeze in one more tune. I’ll never say no to more from Kyng, and that seemed to be the sentiment among the crowd.
KYNG SET LIST: “In the Land of Pigs,” “Pushing & Pulling,” “Electric Halo,” “Burn the Serum,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Falling Down,” “Shoreline”
After a 30-minute set change, co-headliner Seether took the stage to the familiar opening notes of “Gasoline” and, for the next hour, demonstrated what a strong live act it has developed into over the years and what a great songwriter frontman Shaun Morgan truly is. The band trades in radio-friendly hard rock, but how many of its contemporaries have been able to string together so many hits from album after album? (Since 2002, Seether has landed 17 tracks in the top 10 on the mainstream rock radio charts; two more reached the top 15.)
The latest batch of hits comes from 2014’s “Isolate and Medicate,” and the band seemed to play the four songs from that release—up from one on last year’s tours—with a little extra fire. “Words as Weapons,” “Same Damn Life,” “My Disaster” and “See You at the Bottom” fit in nicely alongside “Rise Above This,” “Fine Again,” “Fake It,” “Remedy”—i.e., the songs that sold the tickets for this show.
The band members have a low-key presence on stage, preferring to let the music speak for itself. And it does exactly that—loudly.
SEETHER SET LIST: “Gasoline,” “Rise Above This,” “Fine Again,” “Broken,” “My Disaster,” “Words as Weapons,” “Same Damn Life,” “Country Song,” “See You at the Bottom,” “Tonight,” “Fake It,” “Remedy”
On the verge of releasing its ninth album (“F.E.A.R.,” in stores Jan. 27), Papa Roach brought the night to a close, mixing in a couple new tracks among its own impressive collection of hits. (“Getting Away with Murder” was my personal highlight.) In contrast to Seether, Papa Roach—chiefly frontman Jacoby Shaddix—was a whirlwind of manic energy, having not slowed down a bit 15 years after the band started making its name. The pairing and the billing made perfect sense, and when the show ended at about 11 p.m., fans ventured back out into the cold with smiles on their faces.
PAPA ROACH SET LIST: “Face Everything and Die,” “Still Swingin’,” “Getting Away with Murder,” “Between Angels and Insects,” “Where Did the Angels Go?,” “Broken Home”(with “Lose Yourself” intro), “Forever,” “Scars,” “Lifeline,” “Infest,” “Kick in the Teeth,” “Broken as Me,” “… To Be Loved,” “Burn,” “Last Resort”