Many nu metal bands have come and gone over the last few years due to the over saturation by the major labels. Darwinism left a strong minority of groups that proved their staying power through success beyond one single or album. One of those bands is Michigan’s TapRoot.
TapRoot, whose following grew after an infamous answer machine message by a certain Fred Durst, has managed to stick around through solid writing and, moreso, because of their live show. Lead singer Stephen Richards brings an energy and presence that is rare in music today.
During his band’s set on this muggy New York City summer night, Richards was his typical self singing, yelling, playing guitar, walking and climbing all over the venue and moshing.
As per usual, the rest of the band, Mike DeWolf (guitar), Phil Lipscomb (bass) and Jarrod Montague (drums), just hung out on the stage, getting as much enjoyment out of Richards‘ antics as the crowd did.
The setlist included tracks from both of their albums, 2000’s “Gift” and their sophomore release “Welcome“. Fan favorites “Again & Again“, “I“, “Mirror’s Reflection” and “Poem” were easily the stand out tracks. At one point near the end of their set, Richards asked for requests. Several fans yelled for Slayer, but unfortunately no one in TapRoot knew any Slayer tracks. Instead they played a montage of a few of their lesser-played songs. They also took time out to mock Limp Bizkit and Disturbed in something that has become a staple of their performances.
Opening up for the foursome was a trio of new bands, Still Naive, Manmade God and Socialburn. Manmade God was easily the best of the bunch, playing a strong set of motorcycle metal. Still Naive proved to be an adequate nu metal band with post grunge rock stylings and an emo attitude. Credit must be given to the band’s lead singer as he deftly handled hecklers, saying “What was that? Get off the stage? I’ll take that as have a safe trip home. We in Safe Naive like to turn a negative into a positive. Thanks!” Socialburn, who was the direct undercard to TapRoot, was the most disappointing, playing generic post grunge that crossed Puddle of Mudd and Nickleback. Their lead singer addressed the hecklers as well, and handled them poorly – he said something to the effect of ‘I don’t care if you think we suck’ and then later said ‘Thank you New York, you guys were great!’ without a trace of sarcasm. Hypocrite.