Co-Headliners Shinedown and Five Finger Death Punch deliver dazzling performances with Starset and Bad Wolves
Shinedown is no stranger to Kentucky, having performed at the 2015 Louder Than Life festival in Louisville and also during the intimate acoustic music tour with Zach Myers and Brent Smith. Shinedown is firing on all cylinders these days, touring in support of their sixth studio album, Attention Attention, a concept album that depicts a person overcoming their negativity through personal struggles ultimately being reborn as a new person released on May 4th and their blazing new single “Devil”.
While standing on the floor at Rupp Arena you can feel the swell of energy moments before the house lights drop and Shinedown takes the stage. From behind the stage-length curtain, lasers flash the Shinedown logo while the guys launch into their opening song “Sound of Madness” off of 2008’s The Sound of Madness album. In an instant, the curtain falls and the Shinedown are greeted by a huge roar from this Lexington audience, starting the evening off in dramatic fashion. Over the next 90 minutes Shinedown perform one hit after another with songs alternating between different chapters in the band’s discography, from “Bully” and “Cut the Cord” to “State of My Head” from 2015’s Threat to Survival to the first of the new songs “The Human Kind” from their newly-released “Attention Attention“.
There is something electric about the connection that Brent Smith, Zach Myers, bassist Eric Bass and drummer Barry Kerch create with the audience while definitely relishing the time on stage and the opportunity to perform. Visually, Shinedown doesn’t hold anything back as they roll through fan favorites “Enemies” and “45” combining a solid light show with copious amounts of pyrotechnics and plumes of fire shooting off behind Barry’s drum set.
When their time on stage winds down, Shinedown keeps the energy high with an emotional and soulful performance of “Second Chance” again from The Sound of Madness album along with the with anthem-like “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)” closing out their main set. With the lights down and the crowd still cheering Brent Smith and Zach Meyers, with an acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder, appear on a small elevated stage at the back of the arena and everyone knows what’s coming next: a stirring rendition of the Lynyrd Skynyrd cover of “Simple Man” that has the entire venue singing along with many cell phones out videoing the incredible experience. Shinedown closes out their incredible set back on the main stage with a powerhouse performance of their single “Devil” complete with a stunning display of pyrotechnics and fire putting the finishing touches on a stellar performance.
Co-headlining this tour is the incomparable Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP), also no strangers to Kentucky. Performing at last year’s Louder Than Life festival, FFDP have a strong and loyal fan base in the Kentucky area which is clearly evident with all of the tour and concert shirts in attendance.
As the house lights drop the Barney theme song “I Love You” blares from the PA system and everyone knows we are moments away from FFDP taking the stage. Without any hesitation Ivan, Jason, Chris, Jeremy, and Zoltan blast into “Over and Under It” followed by “Never Enough” and the night is off to a rocket start.
Giving the crowd a moment to catch their breath Ivan announces what everyone already knows, Lexington is Chris Kael’s hometown. In a fun moment, Chris steps up to the mic and leads the entire venue into a huge “CATS” cheer which everyone gladly obliges. (Rupp Arena is the home arena to the 8-time NCAA Men’s Basketball team).
Over the next 90 minutes, FFDP does what they do best while mixing in a little bit of everything for the fans. Staunch supporters of all branches of the military, FFDP perform a Bad Company cover of “Bad Company” as a tribute to all the active and retired military in attendance. Something that you don’t see often at a metal show but is always present at a FFDP show is when children (and parents of course) are brought on stage. Tonight had a slightly different flavor as one child, Joey, was dressed in the same skeleton suit as drummer Jeremy Spencer earning him an opportunity to sit behind Jeremy’s kit and have a go at the massive drum kit, drawing a huge cheer.
Five Finger Death Punch close out the evening in dramatic fashion with “Coming Down,” and the anthem-like “Wash It All Away” before closing the memorable evening with “The Bleeding” leaving this house of fans more than satisfied.
Providing main support this evening is visual stunning Columbus Ohio based rockers Starset. Touring in support of their sophomore album Vessels, Starset’s live performance is not your typical rock or metal show. Self-described as “cinematic rock”, Starset brilliantly combines the themes of astrology and space travel into an extraordinary performance accentuated by lasers, copious amounts of fog, and a dazzling light display. Starset is fronted by Dustin Bates on emulator and vocals, along with Ron DeChant (bass, backing vocals, keyboard) and Brock Richards (guitar), with Adam Gilbert on drums.
Opening the show this evening is Los Angeles-based Bad Wolves. Featuring energetic and versatile frontman Tommy Vext, the group performed a handful of songs from their upcoming debut album “Disobey,” which was released on May 11 including “Learn to Live,” and “Hear Me Now.” Bad Wolves closed out their set with their version of The Cranberries classic, “Zombie,”. The band is donating all their proceeds from their certified gold version of “Zombie” to Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan’s four children.