Timothy begged me to cover the FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH show. He waxed poetically about what great guys they are and how misunderstood they are because let’s face it, I’ve heard aggressive, meat head stories about these guys. I agreed to cover it and I’m glad I did. I saw a different face of 5FDP, one that was still aggressive but also compassionate and loyal. They love their fans and they love what they do. The moral of this story: don’t judge anyone by what you hear about them and give everyone a chance to make their own impression (unless of course you hear the words “serial killer”). Here is the skinny on everyone that played that night:
I’ve seen NOTHING MORE at Rams Head Live before and their set impressed me so much that I had to see them again (read the review HERE). Their music rides that fine line of hard rock and heavy metal: catchy with progressive and melodic elements but deliciously heavy too. Seeing them in an arena only enhanced how fucking intense their stage performance is. The sound is clearer and the presentation has power and impact. Jonny Hawkins reminded me of an old-school band leader as he leapt around the stage and encouraged the crowd to come closer. If you haven’t seen these guys yet, and their monstrous Bassinator (which you can learn about in our interview with Mark Vollelunga HERE), put it on your calendar the next time they come to your town.
I’d never seen HELLYEAH prior to this, but I had an idea from my interview with Chad Gray that their live show would be intimate and engaging (read the candid interview HERE). He asked who the “fucking virgins” were and I had to raise my hand. He then made sure to rev us all up with songs old and new including “Moth” and “War in Me” though they hadn’t played my favorite song, “Hush.” Metal Descent reviewed their newest release Blood for Blood and gave it a “fuck yeah” rating (read the review HERE). The new material adds a depth to their show because you see more than the party-animal anthems of previous albums. I’ve heard other listeners complain about this one-dimensional aspect as a turn-off to otherwise good music and I have to say, HELLYEAH has leveled up to a new musical maturity that will grant them the longevity of a truly great band if they’re willing to take up the gauntlet.
I had only heard of VOLBEAT before so I had no clue of what a treat awaited me. They bring old-school heavy metal with a fifties rockabilly influence that reminded me not only of Johnny Cash and Elvis but of Buddy Holly too. Favorite tunes were interspersed with covers of these rockabilly greats. The crowd became this great leviathan with circle-pit whirlpools on stage left and stage right. Bodies surfed up the spine of that great beast and bright-eyed, flush-faced metal heads emerged from the press pit pumping fists and raising horns. Poulsen teased us with a few details about a new album that promises to be very fucking heavy with the influence of their newest member, Rob Caggiono, whom you all know as a past guitarist for ANTHRAX.
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
When 5FDP hit the stage, they took no prisoners. The set was frosty in sharp wicked silver props and they emerged from back stage in full costume and face paint. They unleashed a wall of sound with “Burn it Down,” whet the old-school appetite with a cover of “Bad Company,” and made the leviathan roar with “Hard to See.” Moody had a great rapport with the audience and even commented, “You guys are fucking crazy!” This has to be the best stage presentation I’ve ever seen appealing both visually with a targeted light-show against the amazing set and a sound that just reached out and grabbed me by the throat. 5FDP puts on a great goddamn show!
I.O. Kirkwood is a Metal Descent contributor. You can visit her personal blog HERE.