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.*

Doc Coyle On GOD FORBID Reunion Ever Happening “It’s Hard To Gauge If People Really Care That Much”

Doc Coyle is currently the lead guitarist for Bad Wolves, who sprang into notoriety behind their cover of The Cranberries single “Zombie” in the wake of Delores O’Riordan sudden passing. Bad Wolves have carved out a name for themselves by tireless touring in support of bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach Breaking Benjamin and more, releasing their sophomore album, N.A.T.I.O.N.  in 2019. Doc can also be heard on his podcast, The Ex Man Podcast talking to some of rock and metals most influential artists. Doc also may be remembered for starting metalcore darlings God Forbid Continue reading

BREWtally Speaking: Alfonso Civile (HEARTSICK)

Alfonso Civile, vocalist for Heartsick, is the guest on this episode of the BREWtally Speaking Podcast.

Podcast hosts Dan and Jon chat with Alfonso about the news making lineup change with ILL Nino, a band that Alfonso had actually been tapped to replace the bands original lead singer. Continue reading

Gretchen Piening’s Top 10 Albums Of 2018!

2018 was just like every other year. It felt like it went by at the pace of molasses, and then all of a sudden it’s October. But seriously, this was my first year writing for Metal Nexus and it has been a blast. Reviewing sick albums, interviewing some fabulous people and having to immerse myself into music, helping me enjoy it more and more each day. Honestly, my top 10 list came together a lot easier than I anticipated. Having a handful of metalcore records this year built the 10, basically upon their release. I’m just such a sucker for that sound- hence my #1 pick. Often times I box myself in with what I listen to but keeping an ear open all year helped me to realize that there is beauty and fun in a diverse palette. The Spotify yearly wrap up did a hilarious job of reminding me of just that. So with all that said, here are my picks (begrudgingly without any of the country music I loved this year) for the top 10 rock and metal albums of 2018. Thank you for taking the time to read not just this, but any of my work this year published on Metal Nexus. It sincerely means the world. Metalcore 2019!

 

 

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BAD WOLVES & THREE DAYS GRACE At Marble Factory In Bristol, UK [Review + Photo Gallery]

Bad Wolves

So here we are again, another gig, another press pit and another great night in the city of Bristol in the UK. This is the first event I have covered at the Marble Factory in Bristol and this venue is awesome. It is set in a big warehouse and has an arena type vibe to the place. On arrival the 2 tour buses for Bad Wolves and Three Days Grace parked and fans queued all down the street behind the barriers. Continue reading

NOTHING MORE & BAD WOLVES In Lexington, Kentucky [Review & Photo Gallery]

 

Is there a better way to spend the Sunday night of Labor Day weekend than to spend it with four bands at Manchester Music Hall in Lexington Kentucky? If there is a better way I don’t know what it would be! Nothing More, Bad Wolves, Eyes Set to Kill and Indigo Storm had this sold out crowd rocking from the very first note, it was going to be a great night! Continue reading

Rock Allegiance 2018 Spotlight: FROM ASHES TO NEW

Nu-metal is undoubtedly swinging back into the forefront and From Ashes To New is breathing new life into the 20+ year old musical subgenre. Elements of rap introduced with catchy radio friendly vocals and melodies make for an extremely palatable lead-in to rock and heavier music. Continue reading

Carolina Rebellion 2018: Saturday [Review & Photo Gallery]

Toothgrinder

 

 

We have one day behind us with some amazing acts that we will remember their performances for years to come. The Saturday lineup is certainly competitive in regards to both Friday and Sunday and is full of varying genes and new and veterans acts to keep our attention for the entire day. Palaye Royale and Bad Wolves are two of the biggest up and coming bands currently in rock, especially Bad Wolves with their cover of the iconic Cranberries song “Zombie” which has become the number 1 rock song in the world. Unfortunate for us they both play at the same time. Yet another band that performed early in the day that is truly making a name for themselves is Toothgrinder; If you missed their set you truly missed an amazing experience. Then we get into the more veteran acts of the day like Asking Alexandria who have reunited with vocalist Danny Worsnop, as well as Trivium the band that was labeled as “the band that would save metal” when they formed. Then we get the nostalgic performance by The Used, led by eccentric front man Bert McCracken. As the day comes to a close we are left with the headliners Five Finger Death Punch, and the fierce and fiery performance by Godsmack to end our Saturday evening. The dream would be to not miss a single band, but with interviews and overlaps we weren’t able to see every band, but the ones we were able to see impressed us and left some big shoes to fill on Sunday.  Continue reading