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.*

KNOCKED LOOSE On Fans At Their Shows “Do Whatever You Want, You Paid To Be Here.”

Knocked Loose

Have you ever just been standing there, minding your own business when someone kicks you right square in the teeth? That’s exactly what Knocked Loose sounds like. These riffs are so grimy and down tuned so low that the neck of the guitar might as well snap due to lack of tension. They make you want to take a bite out of the sidewalk. Continue reading

Sebastian Bach Brings Skid Row 30th Anniversary Tour To Lexington, Kentucky [Review & Photo Gallery]

“Good God bless my soul…I need a fix of rock n’ roll”. Thanks to Sebastian Bach, I recently got that fix and got to hear those exact lyrics live again for well, I’m not even sure how many times now. Let’s rewind for a second..

January 24th 1989, 4 dudes from New Jersey, along with a Canadian transplant, released their self titled debut album ‘Skid Row,’ an album that at the time quickly became an album that I could have swore was written with me in mind. At that time a ton pop artists ruled the Billboard charts as well as dominated MTV, rap was just really starting find it’s place in the world and Hair Metal (yep, I said it. Suck it, Trunk) was still in full swing. Headbangers Ball was a staple of every self respecting heavy metal fans’ Saturday night. I was 13 years old, running around with kids that were probably too old for me to be hanging out with and I was already a fucking handful. Cigarettes? Smoked’em. Beer? I had a few by then already. Snuck out and hung with those too old to be friends with friends at all hours of the night? Yep, and even hung out on random rooftops of buildings with my partner in crime, Eddie. No idea why on that last one, but we always had a blast just seeing if we could get up there. You can see where I am going with this..we WERE, the “Youth Gone Wild.” Now we’re just the “Middle Aged Gone..who knows where.” Continue reading

Bourbon & Beyond Festival Spotlight: BEN SOLLEE [Official Videos]

Ben Sollee will be one of the upcoming acts at this year’s Bourbon & Beyond festival. Bourbon & Beyond has a new home. It is still in Louisville, Kentucky of course, but will call a new festival grounds home. This year, Bourbon & Beyond will take place at the Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Expo. The previous location, Champions Park, had a terrible flood last year and day 2 of Bourbon & Beyond was cancelled. However, to make up for that, Bourbon and Beyond is now a 3-day festival. This means an additional day of bands, bourbon and best friends! How awesome is that? This will be Ben Sollee’s debut at the Bourbon & Beyond Festival. If you have never heard this band before, prepared to be amazed! With that said, let’s discuss Ben Sollee. Continue reading

Bourbon & Beyond Festival Spotlight: WHITE REAPER [Official Videos]

White Reaper will be one of the upcoming acts at this year’s Bourbon & Beyond festival. Bourbon & Beyond has a new home. It is still in Louisville, Kentucky of course, but will call a new festival grounds home. This year, Bourbon & Beyond will take place at the Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Expo. The previous location, Champions Park, had a terrible flood last year and day 2 of Bourbon & Beyond was cancelled. However, to make up for that, Bourbon and Beyond is now a 3-day festival. This means an additional day of bands, bourbon and best friends! How awesome is that? This will be White Reaper’s debut at the Bourbon & Beyond Festival. If you have never heard this band before, prepared to be amazed! With that said, let’s discuss White Reaper. Continue reading

Review: DOWNTREND – ‘4’ EP [Lyric Video]

Downtrend formed in 2004 and has went through a few lineup changes since then. The band retains founding members Josh Crum and Jeremy Chaney. Long time member drummer J.D. Hall takes his seat behind the drum kit adding his style and showmanship to the band. Hall and Chaney were also formerly bandmates in the crushingly heavy group Voices Of Aggression. The chemistry among these three gents is amazing, which can be heard in their music and seen live when they take the stage. Mike Jackson has been the voice of the band for over a decade, after a brief departure from the band he has returned to his home behind the microphone. In the bands 10+ years their sound has changed and progressed but the biggest thing about the band is the heart and passion they have for music. Continue reading

Beloved Kentucky Band P.Y.L.O.T. Releases Discography On Streaming Services!

P.Y.L.O.T. was a staple in the South Central Kentucky music scene during the early to mid 2000’s. They have just announced for the first time they are making their entire discography available for online streaming services everywhere. For those unfamiliar with P.Y.L.O.T. they formed in 2000 in Glasgow, Kentucky by founding members Wes Buchanan- Guitar & Programming, Tony Oswald- Vocals, Cody Meek- Guitar and “Shep” aka Matt Shepherd- Bass, while they were still attending Glasgow High School. The had a proggressive sound with some elements of industrial metal. P.Y.L.O.T. featured both beautiful melodic vocals as well as intense aggressive screams. The quartet jammed for a few years with a drum machine providing the beats. Wade Tucker joined the band in 2002 as P.Y.L.O.T.’s  first drummer, although they still implemented the drum machine in most all their songs. In 2004 Wade Tucked exited the band making way for drummer Matt Devore to join the founding members of the band and remained with them until their final show in May of 2008. Continue reading

LOUDER THAN LIFE 2019 Ticket Giveaway! [Entry Details]

Louder Than Life is back with yet another star studded lineup after being forced to cancel the festival in 2018 due to flooding at Champions Park, which also caused the Bourbon & Beyond Festival to cancel the final day of that festival as well. The flooding caused immense damage to the festival grounds so the team at Danny Wimmer Presents and the city of Louisville found a new home for not only Louder Than Life and Bourbon & Beyond but also the new country music festival Hometown Rising. The new home for the 3 consecutive weekends of music and spirits will be held at the Highland Festival Grounds At the Kentucky Expo Center. Keyword being “Highland,” so the rains won’t stop us in 2019. Guns N’ Roses will be the major headliner this year along with Slipknot performing after their brand new album release that has been the talk of the metal world. Guns N’ Roses alone is enough to have Loudmouths already packing their bags in anticipation to head to Louisville or should we say “Paradise City.” Continue reading

Bourbon & Beyond Festival Spotlight: +LIVE+ [Official Videos]

Photo: Janson Bulpin

+LIVE+ will be one of the upcoming acts at this year’s Bourbon and Beyond. The festival now has a new home. It is still in Louisville, Kentucky of course, but will call a new festival grounds home. This year, Bourbon and Beyond will take place at the Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Expo on September 20th, 21st, and 22nd. The previous location, Champions Park, had a terrible flood last year and day 2 of Bourbon and Beyond as well as Louder Than Life the following weekend was cancelled. However, to make up for that, Bourbon and Beyond is now a 3-day festival. This means an additional day of bands, bourbon and best friends! How awesome is that? This will be +LIVE+’s debut at the Bourbon and Beyond Festival. If you have never had the opportunity to check this band out, prepare yourself to be amazed! With that said, let’s discuss +LIVE+. Continue reading

Bourbon & Beyond Festival 2019 Ticket Giveaway! [Entry Details]

 

The World’s Largest Bourbon Festival, Bourbon & Beyond, makes its anticipated return to Louisville, KY Friday, September 20, Saturday, September 21, and Sunday, September 22, expanding to three days full of incredible music, unique culinary events, and unmatched experiences from the region’s best distilleries at the new Highland Festival Grounds At KY Expo Center. Continue reading