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.*

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

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

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

HALESTORM & NEW YEARS DAY Rock Rupp Arena [Review & Photo Gallery]

Halestorm

This was stacking up to be an epic night of rock n roll in Lexington, KY. Three of the best female fronted bands touring the country were scheduled to be making a stop at Rupp Arena. Well, that was the plan until word came down that the bus carrying most of In This Moment had broken down. So the night that started with three bands was now down to two, but New Years Day and Halestorm more than made up for it! Continue reading

JONATHAN DAVIS, JULIEN-K, & THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE Rock Lexington, KY [Review & Photo Gallery]

Jonathan Davis

 

Jonathan Davis of Korn brought his Black Labyrinth tour in support of his solo album of the same name to Manchester Music Hall in Lexington, KY. Julien-K and The Birthday Massacre joined him, tonight was the last show of the tour. If you missed it, you missed a helluva show and by all accounts a helluva tour! Continue reading

DEVILDRIVER, JINJER Inspire Mosh Pits In Lexington, Kentucky [Review & Photo Gallery]

Words By: Kevin Akers | Photography By: Estil Robinson

Lexington Kentucky decided to celebrate Halloween a day early as DevilDriver brought their Outlaws til the End Tour to the Manchester Music Hall. The venue has hosted a bunch of hard rock acts in the past year including Sevendust, All That Remains, and Trivium. But it has never hosted a tour this heavy before. In fact, it may be the heaviest tour to ever play in Lexington.

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My Last Time Seeing Oli Herbert Perform With ALL THAT REMAINS [Photo Gallery]

All That Remains

 

I was writing the review for this show when I heard the news of All That Remains guitarist Oli Herbert’s passing. I had a full review almost completed but after the recent tragic news it was like my whole memory of the night was washed away and all I could recall was Oli shredding away under the lights on stage.  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

TRIVIUM & 68′ Display Flawless Performances In Lexington, KY [Review & Photo Gallery]

Trivium

In Early May I got to catch my very first Trivium Concert at Manchester Music Hall in Lexington KY. If you aren’t familiar with Manchester Music Hall, first let me say that its one of, if not the best small concert venues in Central, Kentucky. Prior to this concert, I did a little research on the band. I had heard of the band over the years and had checked out the radio-friendly cuts but I had never really dug into any of the album tracks. One thing I love about listening to tracks off a bands albums 24 hrs before going to see the band really makes me appreciate the hard work, blood sweat, and tears musicians put into making an album. Most bands track songs just for studio cuts while others track just how they would be on stage as if they were performing the songs live. Being a musician myself I can certainly say that in my many years of stage experience less means more. The more backing tracks and other electronic gear you bring to a live show other than whats necessary raises the chances for more shit to go wrong. Continue reading