Five Finger Death Punch + Volbeat Prove Rock Is Alive and Well at Massachusetts Gig
If rock is dead, as recent headlines suggest, obviously none of the bands on this bill got the message. Hailing from different facets of rock, the combined rampage of Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Hellyeah and Nothing More kicked off their arena tour earlier this month proving that they are indeed alive and well, and more importantly that the fans are still voracious. As Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat continue their rise to the top with uniquely rabid fan bases, combining those two potent forces to sell out larger venues with a co-headlining tour was a stroke of genius.
Following short sets by Hellyeah and Nothing More, Volbeat took the stage during the trek's recent stop at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass. Letting the Western theme of their 2013 release ‘Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies’ come to life through their stage set up, the Danish rockers demolished the stage with tune after tune.
As they continue to craft their sound and make it truly their own, Volbeat's fusion of rockabilly and classic rock sensibilities and metal inspired riffs come together flawlessly live. The band makes it look easy, but any true music connoisseur knows it’s anything but easy -- from intricate time changes to smooth melodies, Volbeat were masterful. Their set list included a little bit of everything from their past five albums but as expected, was heavy on their latest release, including songs like ‘Doc Holliday,’ ‘Dead But Rising,’ ‘Lola Montez,’ ‘Pearl Hart,’ and ‘The Hangman’s Body Count.’
Although precision was key, there was still plenty of room for the band to let loose and enjoy themselves onstage. Guitarist Rob Caggiano and bassist Anders Kjølholm took turns running from corner to corner of the arena sized stage engaging with the fans all the way while frontman Michael Poulsen took a moment to stage-dive into the audience and crowd surf on out to hand deliver a t-shirt to a young fan shortly after leading a sing-along to Johnny Cash's ‘Ring of Fire.’
Poulsen’s delivery is calm and casual with an underlying wry sense of humor that comes out at the most deserving of times, but beyond that, the band let their music do the talking – well, most of it anyway. As they’ve done on past tours, they invited young fans up onstage towards the end of the night to really be a part of the show and undoubtedly making some dreams come true and inspiring the next generation of head bangers.
After a brief interlude, Five Finger Death Punch rumbled on to the stage like five bulls in a china shop following a chorus of echoing chants of “Five Finger” and “Death Punch” closing out the evening with a set best described as an explosion of controlled chaos.
Drummer Jeremy Spencer hit the stage first in a full skeleton body suit, followed by frontman Ivan Moody armed with a bat, blasting into their anthem ‘Under and Over It’ from ‘American Capitalist’ – just a small taste of where the evening was going. Guitarists Jason Hook and Zoltan Bathory flanked the sides of the stage while Chris Kael and his lengthy beard rocked the bass.
Loud, unapologetic, angry and patriotic, Five Finger Death Punch rolled through a set list that covered a lot of ground with frontman Ivan Moody leading the charge. Although the sound was a bit murky at times and some of their most recent singles were noticeably missing, the band rolled with the punches, delivering knockout after knockout. Newer tunes like ‘Battleborn’ raged and mixed perfectly with selections from early on in 5FDP’s career like ‘Never Enough’ from their 2007 debut ‘The Way of the Fist.’ ‘Lift Me Up’ and ‘Bad Company’ proved to be crowd favorites but honestly the crowd was dialed in all night. There is rarely a dull moment when Five Finger Death Punch is in hte house.
Intent on shining a light on rock’s up and coming generation, Moody invited younger fans onstage again during ‘Burn MF,’ showing off the band’s passion for their fans young and old. Another highlight was when Moody and Hook slowed things down a bit for an acoustic version of ‘Remember Everything,’ showing off the softer side of 5FDP. They closed out the evening with a blistering encore of ‘Far From Home,’ ‘The Way of the Fist,’ and ‘The Bleeding’
Although their approaches were vastly different both Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch served up memorable sets to a sold out arena crowd. If reviving rock was on the agenda – mission accomplished.
Photos of Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat & Hellyeah in Lowell, Mass.:
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