Five Finger Death Punch are finishing up a brief summer tour with In This Moment and Fire From the Gods, before taking a quick break and returning to the road on a newly-announced fall tour. This week, I had the opportunity to cover one of the last dates on the current tour when they performed to a packed house at the Main Street Armory in Rochester, NY.
As I pulled up to the venue, the line was wrapped around the block with fans eager to get inside for the show. The last time Five Finger Death Punch performed in Rochester was back in November 2016. At the time, vocalist Ivan Moody had proclaimed that their newest album (2018’s And Justice For None) was completed. Due to a prolonged label dispute, it took another year and a half for that album to see the light of day, so I had to laugh when I picked up my media credentials and the photo pass said “We Should Be in the Studio Right Now” on it. Still, this was an exciting chance to see a band that consistently puts on one of the most energetic and engaging performances in metal, along with the chance to see their incredible new drummer, Charlie Engen.
The show began with a brief set from Fire From the Gods. They’re a nu-metal outfit from Austin, TX that puts on a show reminiscent of P.O.D, which is never a bad thing. While they only performed for about 30 minutes, they did a great job warming up the room for the heavyweights that were about to take the stage.
Next up was a seven-song set from In This Moment who are currently touring in support of their 2017 album Ritual. Their next album Mother is due to be released in September. They brought out a brand-new stage this spring, consisting of a bit of a haunted house type of aesthetic. Their set opened up with a cover of Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle,” followed by “River of Fire” and “Natural Born Sinner.”
The stage was grand, and the fans were plenty excited to see In This Moment, so I couldn’t help but feel eager for the release of their new album. The brief set had a few big hits in it including “Blood” and “Whore.” When they finished, I couldn't help but just want more. I wanted more music and more of the band that brought it. The stage was incredibly dark and foggy, and it was hard enough to see vocalist Maria Brink, let alone the rest of the band. Original member Chris Howorth was lost in the back of the stage. Along Maria’s sides were bassist Travis Johnson and Randy Weitzel, both adorning incredible stage outfits. While the music was great, I think fans would have loved a better view of the band. I know I did.
After a sizeable stage change-out, Five Finger Death Punch took the stage promptly at 10 pm opening with “Lift Me Up” from 2013’s The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell. From there, things only got crazier as the full stage pyro kicked in for “Trouble” and “Wash It All Away.”
It was around now that Ivan Moody addressed the crowd about how they get a reputation for “writing songs for the military.” Ivan took a firm stance here, outlining his families deep service history with the military. For one, I enjoy this particular element of Five Finger Death Punch. Shortly after, they went into their incredible cover of Bad Company’s “Bad Company,” which has been one of their biggest military tributes since it’s release back on 2009’s War Is the Answer. This was soon followed by “Got Your Six” from the album of the same name.
Any fan of Five Finger Death Punch knows that there’s a huge portion of their catalog dedicated to songs about camaraderie. The band does much more than just sing about it though, as this group has endured plenty of criticism from both the media and fans in the metal community. Every single time I go and see this band live, I’m reminded exactly why I enjoy them so much. This group delivers a relentless barrage of heavy music and simultaneously cultivates a fanbase built around togetherness and looking out for each other. That’s a special talent, and something we expect more of. There were a variety of other hits throughout the evening including “Coming Down,” “Gone Away” (a recent cover of The Offspring’s mega-hit) and “The Bleeding” to close out the show.
While this tour just wrapped up, look for Five Finger Death Punch on tour this fall with Three Days Grace, Bad Wolves and Fire From the Gods kicking off with a pair of shows in Las Vegas on November 1st!