Thomas Biggs

About Thomas Biggs

Call me Tom, but I’ll answer to most anything! I’m an award winning nature photographer trying his hand at concert photography. I’ve been shooting professionally for the last 15 plus years. Always been a lover of music, the last 6 years in the pit has taken that love to another level! Hope you enjoy my images and writing as much as I do creating them!

Five Finger Death Punch, Bad Wolves & More Radiate Rock In Lexington [Review & Gallery]

Five Finger Death Punch

Knuckleheads big and small, young and old converged on Rupp Arena in Lexington Kentucky for an early December night of rock and roll! For those reading this that don’t know what a “Knucklehead” is (other than what your Dad called you when you did something questionable as a child, or maybe that was just my childhood) that’s what the fan base of Five Finger Death Punch call themselves and they have shown up by the thousands to see what Lexington’s own Chris Kael and the rest of Five Finger Death Punch have in store for them. Five Finger Death Punch didn’t show up to the most holy of holy arena’s in college basketball alone, no they brought Three Days Grace, Bad Wolves and Fire From The Gods. This night was going to be LOUD!


Fire From The Gods was first up on this epic night in Lexington. This Dallas, Texas band fresh off the release of their third studio album ‘American Sun’ (Album review can be found here) ripped through a terrific set of songs, that included “Truth To the Weak(Not Built To Collapse),” “Another Level,” and “Fight the World.” Lead singer AJ is one of the most passionate vocalists you will ever hear and he usually has some heart to heart with the crowd during their performance. They came on to the scene with their first album that had some songs produced by Fred Durst but their recent album has really seen mainstream success with the hit singles “Right Now,” and “End Transmission.” In the few short months since I last saw Fire From The Gods they have grown as a band and belong on this big arena stage! Give them a listen, you will not be sorry.


To say the last couple years have been good years for this newer supergroup would be an extreme understatement! Bad Wolves as a band have only been around since 2017 but the members have been involved in numerous bands (Devildriver, In This Moment, Bury Your Dead, God Forbid, Divine Heresy) for many years and that experience is on display when you see them live or hear their music. But what I saw tonight was on another level, they have stepped up their game big time. Kicking the set off with two songs from their most recent release ‘N.A.T.I.O.N.’ “No Messiah” and “Foe or Friend”. They were a tight group the last time I saw them but now they are a well-oiled machine, made to be on a big arena stage. That big stage gave Tommy Vext room to move and move he did! Jumping from the drum riser (more than once) running back and forth across the stage and yes for those wondering, he is as big as he looks in pictures and videos! Of course they closed out their set with the breakout hit “Zombie” (The Cranberries cover).


Three Days Grace hit the Rupp Arena stage like a band that’s been playing music in front of big crowds for a long time with a set list of hit songs after hit songs! Don’t believe me? They started off with “The Mountain” and “Home,” big enough hits for you? Well the Rupp Arena crowd thought so, after those two songs they were in a rock and roll frenzy! But Three Days Grace didn’t let off the gas they just kept pouring it on, remember those hit songs I mentioned? How about “Break,” “Pain,” and “I Hate Everything About You?” It was a greatest hits collection of rock radio and fan favorites and the fans tonight couldn’t get enough! Three Days Grace saved one song for last, a song that was sure to send this crowd over the edge and “Riot” just about brought the house down. Holy shit what a setlist!


There are not many bands touring right now that could follow what we just witnessed but Five Finger Death Punch are one of those bands! Why, you ask? Well it’s because of Ivan Moody being Ivan (check out this interview with Ivan here), it’s Jason Hook lifted up on a 30’ platform playing a guitar solo, and it’s Chris Kael slamming on the bass and changing into so many different University of Kentucky shirts and jerseys that I lost count (it’s his homecoming show after all) or it’s Zoltan Bathroy shredding guitar and flingin dreads and its new guy Charlie Engen under the skull banging on the drums (one of the few drummers around that is not stuck in the dark, actually has some light on him, sorry that’s a photography thing). Bring those five guys together and they produce one of the best live shows you could ask for, oh, throw in some fire and a killer light show and that’s why they are the band that is one of the best headliners in modern rock and metal!


It was full throttle from the moment Five Finger Death Punch took the Rupp Arena stage opening with “Lift Me Up,” and “Trouble.” Ivan would pause between songs to conversate with the crowd. He even apologized for missing the meet and great, he was under the weather a bit. Saw a doctor and they fixed him up, touch of the flu or something of that sort. Whatever it was it wasn’t noticeable after the first song. I mentioned earlier that this was Chris Kael’s homecoming show, he went to high school in Lexington so he was fired up for the Lexington crowd. He’s always a wild man on stage but it was amplified tonight, there’s even a picture in the gallery of him telling me I’m number one, you’ll know it when you see it! Anyway, back to the music; Five Finger Death Punch cranks out a couple of killer covers “Bad Company,” and “Blue On Black” but between those two are several other songs and an acoustic version of “Wrong Side Of Heaven” which is always a highlight because during past performances Ivan has brought kids out of the crowd onto the stage but for whatever reason they couldn’t do that tonight. He did work his way around the stage finding kids in the crowd and threw them candy until he made his way back center stage and saw a little girl on her dads shoulders, he (Ivan) was out of candy so he took off his necklace and threw that to her! It was back to the music again with “Never Enough” and “Burn MF.” Closing out this 16 song set list with “Under And Over It” and “The Bleeding.” A killer night of music to say the least!!


One thing I’ve learned talking with people about Five Finger Death Punch, there really isn’t any middle ground, you’re either a fan or you’re not. Tonight was a building full of fans! I am not ashamed to say that I am a fan, if not only for the bad ass music but for Five Finger Death Punch’s support for our military and first responders. I come from a military and law enforcement family, so I appreciate everything Five Finger Death Punch does for both!

*This article and photo gallery is dedicated to the grandfather of Thomas “Tom” Biggs (writer/photographer). Mr. Thomas E. Williams served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years. He served in World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam War, before retiring. He was also a Fire Chief from 1965-1988 in his hometown of Hornbreak, Tennessee and an accomplished clock maker. Mr Williams passed away on Jan. 6, 2020 at the age of 97. We posthumously  thank Mr. Williams for his service and dedication to his country. Our thoughts are with Tom and the family.*

BOURBON & BEYOND: Friday [Review & Photo Gallery]

Bourbon & Beyond is back! Bigger and dryer than last year. As most know, last year’s two day event was shortened to one day by torrential rains that caused flooding and threats of flooding in and around Champions Park (last year’s venue). As they say that was last year, this year was a very different story! Not only did the festival move to a different venue it was expanded from two days to three and there was NO rain in the forecast. In fact the reported 91,000 plus fans were treated to what some people in Kentucky were calling 2nd summer with temperatures in the 90’s all three days. It was hot, temperature and music! Continue reading

SCOTT STAPP Fuels A Frenzy In Kentucky With MESSER & WEAPONS OF ANEW [Review & Photo Gallery]

Wednesday night ROCKED in Lexington, Kentucky! Scott Stapp (you know, the voice of multi-platinum selling, Grammy Award-winning Creed, Scott Stapp? Yeah, that one) brought his incredibly talented band along with a couple of equally talented and hard-hitting metal bands, Messer and Weapons of Anew, to Manchester Music Hall. All three bands tried their best to blow the windows out of the building with some loud, aggressive, in-your-face rock n’ roll! It was a good night to be a rock fan in Lexington. Continue reading

TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION Brings Party To Tennessee W/ BELOW 7, DIRTY SOUL REVIVAL, & More [Review & Photo Gallery]

Texas Hippie Coalition

Big Dad Ritch and the guys of Texas Hippie Coalition (THC) made Johnson City, TN the last stop on the Haulin Moonshine Tour. THC had Below 7, The Dirty Soul Revival and Belfast 6 Pack help them make this Sunday night in Tennessee one night not to be forgotten! On a personal note, this was my third time covering THC in Johnson City, and second time in this venue, although it was under a different name the last time they played here. Doesn’t matter what the venue name or location is, one thing is certain, Johnson City loves some THC! Continue reading

ROB ZOMBIE & MARILYN MANSON Unleash Hell In West Virginia [Review & Photo Gallery]

Rob Zombie

I’ve said in the past that Big Sandy Superstore Arena knows how to host a rock show, and they do. But I’m not sure they, or the city of Huntington, West Virginia, has recovered from the all-out metal onslaught they witnessed when Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson unleashed Hell! This was only the third stop on the Twins of Evil: Hell Never Dies Tour, and if what I witnessed on this night is any indication of the Hell that’s going to be raised on this tour, the rest of the venues are in trouble! Continue reading

Chelsea Grin, Slaughter To Prevail, Enterprise Earth & More In Lexington [Review & Photo Gallery]

Chelsea Grin

Chelsea Grin brought a truck load of like-minded bands with them on the Eternal Nightmare tour and they were about to destroy Manchester Music Hall with pure unadulterated sonic brutality. Those that were about to receive said brutality were amped up for the metal offerings these five bands were about to bestow upon them! Continue reading

OF MICE & MEN Heats Up Tennessee With DEAD AMERICAN, SHVPES, & VAGRANTS [Review & Photo Gallery]

Of Mice & Men

First off, let me apologize to the members of SHVPES and Vagrants. I missed their sets completely. Work (day job) gets in the way sometimes! What I heard from people that saw both bands were that they both had killer sets. I’m sorry I messed them! I still had Dead American and Of Mice & Men, so the night was far from a loss! Continue reading

REO SPEEDWAGON Hits Kentucky with SISTER HAZEL [Review & Photo Gallery]

REO Speedwagon

Rock n’ roll veterans, REO Speedwagon made a stop in Pikeville, Kentucky, bringing Sister Hazel along for the ride. Chances are the younger audience reading this may not have heard of REO Speedwagon. If you’ve not, do yourself a favor, open a new tab on that browser, go to YouTube, look up a REO Speedwagon‘s video for “Roll With the Changes,” turn the volume up really loud, and you’ll understand how this band has sold over 40 million albums; and why 40 plus years into their career, thousands of people in Pikeville, Kentucky, on a Wednesday night, are still lining up to see them play. Continue reading

STRYPER Rocks The Congregation In Louisville, Kentucky [Review & Photo Gallery]

Stryper

I don’t need much of a reason to go see Stryper. They are one of my favorite bands of all time, but when I read that the “History Tour” is featuring nothing but greatest hits and covers I’m all over it. Now mind you the last three albums ‘No More Hell To Pay,’ ‘Fallen’ and ‘God Damn Evil’ are phenomenal albums and hold up to and sometimes surpass anything they’ve ever done, but when it boils right down to it I am a child of the 80’s. So when you’re talking Stryper greatest hits ‘Soldiers Under Command,’ ‘To Hell With The Devil’ and ‘In God We Trust’ is where I go. Those three albums are where a lot of tonight’s set list came from, but I getting ahead of myself. Continue reading

Slayer, Lamb Of God, Amon Amarth & Cannibal Corpse Ignite West Virginia [Review & Photo Gallery]

Slayer

“Once more into to breach, dear friends, once more”. One more time into the Slayer farewell tour, I’ve been lucky enough to cover this tour more than once for Metal Nexus and for that I am thankful! This time I’m in Huntington, West Virginia at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena where they know how to host a rock show!
For this leg of the farewell tour Slayer has Lamb of God (who’s been with them throughout) along with Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse opening the show. These four bands will get any metal head’s black heart pounding, head swinging and horns in the air! Somewhere on the ticket for this show should be a whiplash disclaimer, I’m guessing a lot of necks hurt after this onslaught of sonic violence. Continue reading