Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin blow the roof off the Riverbend Music Center with Nothing More and Bad Wolves
On what was arguably one of the hottest and stickiest day of the summer, 1000’s of metal fans braved the heat for a chance to see the top tour of the summer. Five Finger Death Punch have definitely had their ups and downs over the past period of time, but they seem to be firing on all cylinders these days. 5FDP’s most recent album And Justice for None has been getting tons of play and it was just announced that their single “Sham Pain” has hit #1 at rock radio.
As the house lights fell, Barney’s “I Love You” began blaring over venues sound system and everyone was up on their feet knowing exactly what was coming next. Instantly the stage length curtain fell, revealing a towering skull with glowing red eyes backed by crisscrossed baseball bats as Five Finger Death Punch blasted into the opening song of the night “Lift Me Up”. Without pausing, one powerhouse song after another rolled off the stage including “Trouble,” “Wash It All Way,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” and the guy’s traditional ode to all the past and present military in the crowd “Bad Company.”
On stage the guys were all smiles and seemed to be having a blast, tossing picks to the crowd, pointing to and acknowledging fans. At one point, Ivan swapped his completely sweat-soaked wristbands with a young lady at the barrier for a bracelet of hers, with the venue monitors caught the entire emotional exchange.
A two song acoustic mini-set followed, beginning with “Wrong Side of Heaven” followed by “Remember Everything”. Usually, Ivan brings several kids on stage in between these two songs but as he explained: “due to venue limitations we were told we could either have kids on stage or we could have fire, sorry kids but we went with the fire” drawing a huge roar from the crowd.
With everyone now back on stage, Five Finger Death Punch finished their main set just as they started it performing “Coming Down,” “Burn MF” and a fantastic cover of The Offspring’s song “Gone Away”.
A two-song encore set closed out the evening beginning with a fiery performance of “Under and Over it” with a baseball bat casually sitting on his shoulder. Taking a moment to address the crowd, Ivan explains he gets lots of e-mails and questions about the bat. He tells the crowd that both he and bass player Chris Kael are coming up on 7 months in recovery and after polling the audience for others in recovery he hands the bat to a fan who is a mere 60 days clean and sober, saying “We all started with day one, stay strong and support others.” Without missing a beat its lighters and cell phones in the air as Five Finger Death Punch close the evening with “The Bleeding”.
Co-headlining on this tour is Breaking Benjamin and they couldn’t have been better tonight. Touring in support of their latest album, Ember released in April of this year Breaking Benjamin opened with the lead single from the album “Red Cold River,” followed by fan favorites “I Will Not Bow,” and “Never Again” with everyone singing right along.
During their almost 90-minute set, the guys rolled out one hit song after another, leaving the songs and performance do the talking this evening much to the delight of the fans as their set included “So Cold,” “Angels Fall” the hard rocking “Torn in Two” before ending their evening with all-time fan favorite “The Diary of Jane”.
Performing 2nd on this powerhouse bill were San Antonio, Texas-based rockers Nothing More. The band, touring in support of their most recent Grammy award nominated album, The Stories We Tell Ourselves, were clearly one of the most eagerly anticipated sets of the evening.
Frontman Jonny Hawkins and Nothing More seeming held nothing back tonight as the group opened with the raucous “Do You Want It” with Jonny hammering like a madman on the giant drums in front on him. It’s hard to capture the impossible energy and relentless on stage actions adequately in words as the guys rolled into songs like “Go To War,” their mega-hit “Jenny” or the emotional “Just Say When”.
Nothing More closed out their all too short set with Jonny perched high above the stage on top of the “The Scorpion Tail”, creating wild and outrageous digital electronic effects while the band ripped through the Skrillex cover of “First of the Year (Equinox)” closing an awesome set with a bang!
Los Angeles-based rockers Bad Wolves started the evening off to a blazing start with their hard-driving blend of heavy rock and metal. Fronted by the dominating presence of Tommy Vext, (Snot, Divine Heresy) Bad Wolves performed a handful of songs from their debut album “Disobey,” opening with “Officer Down” along with “Learn to Live,” “Remember When“ and “Better The Devil”. Bad Wolves is Tommy Vext, former Devil Driver drummer and co-founder, John Boecklin, former God Forbid guitarist Doc Coyle, bassist Kyle Konkiel (Vimic, ex-In This Moment), and guitarist Chris Cain (Bury Your Dead).