Five Finger Death Punch

support Papa Roach + Devil You Know
author PP date 06/11/15 venue Tap 1, Copenhagen, DEN

Five Finger Death Punch has always been more of a commercial entity than a band you'd associate with hard work ethic and down to earth attitude. From hugely expensive merchandise at their shows to constant major label contracts and mainstream rock radio airplay, the group is and has always been a cash cow and in recent years grown to become the face of arena metal comparable to the likes of Disturbed and, at least in the old days, Linkin Park. The commercial approach was also applied to this tour which was booked in an unusual manner. Announced as a co-headline between 5FDP and Papa Roach, fans in European cities were able to vote on the official tour website for it to stop by their city. Those cities with most votes would then be booked for a European tour, which is an approach that may feel fan-friendly on the surface but really is just all about maximizing the attendance and thus pay/ticket sales for the tour.

Leaving such concerns aside, however, there were enough votes from Denmark to book a show at Copenhagen. And not just any show. The 6000 capacity Tap1 at the Carlsberg quarters was completely sold out which just serves to highlight the meteoric rise to mainstream metal stardom Five Finger Death Punch have experienced over the years. Sure, it was a co-headline with hard rock legends Papa Roach, but based on the crowd reaction throughout the night, the vast majority had bought a ticket for 5FDP alone. A Friday night full of drunken anthemic sing-alongs, right? Not quite. Let's talk about the support first.

Devil You Know

Tonight's opening band is Devil You Know, a supergroup featuring ex-Killswitch Engage vocalist Howard Jones on lead vocals, and members from All Shall Perish, Fear Factory and Bleeding Through to top off the all-star lineup, as introduced by Jones early on during the show. What better to get cheers from sections of the crowd than to name each members' past band history to riotous metal fans, right? Sadly, as the group kick off their set with "A New Beginning", Tap1 is basically half empty, which means the sound is awfully muddy throughout their set. An annoying echo bothers the heavy pummeling that characterizes their metalcore sound: Devil In You basically sound like the combined product of all of the aforementioned bands, which results into a way heavier expression than, say, Killswitch Engage alone.

Devil You Know

Sadly, that means not only that we suffer bad sound throughout, but also witness why screamed metalcore virtually never makes it to arena-sized stages: it's simply not expansive enough to work at such a massive venue like this one. We hear material from both of their albums with Jones spicing up the show with occasional commentary such as "I had quit the music scene, but how could I leave THIS behind?" while pointing at the audience, and introducing the new album's material as even heavier than the first one just before "Consumed The Damned". But none of these really make an impression tonight. Jones is content with casually walking back and forth across the stage. He looks bored on stage, and the rest of the band isn't doing much better. For about 30 minutes, we witness this debacle unfold in an anonymous manner that leaves very little to talk about after the show. Not suited for this type of a setting without a more engaging live show.

Papa Roach

Last time Papa Roach played in Copenhagen they pulled the carpet underneath any critics of their admittedly shallow hard rock expression. With lead singer Jacoby Shaddix appearing like he was on speed, cocaine and LSD at the same time, that performance went down in history as one of the most energetic and spazz-driven performances Amager Bio has seen to date. Tonight, we're in for a less frenetic version, but also one that feels a tad heavier than the usual Papa Roach repertoire. Opener "Face Everything And Rise", for instance, sees Shaddix scream his lungs out in a manner that would fit any metalcore or screamo band, defying their otherwise mainstream sound in the process. "Getting Away With Murder" provides an early highlight and allows Shaddix to control the crowd in mid-song, getting us jumping up and down and into their set in stark contrast to the Devil You Know set earlier. As a result, the crowd starts getting into it and the second part of the song is sung back at Shaddix loud and clear by the now reasonably full Tap1 crowd.

Papa Roach

Yes, Shaddix's stage performance wasn't as lunacy-driven as it was at Amager Bio, but he still looks like a duracell bunny on stage (to quote my photographer Lykke Nielsen's comment during the show) given how tirelessly he is jumping across the stage. Jumping down from the arena stage and spending plenty of time screaming at the faces of fans up front at the barrier is a given, as is their overall focus on driving the show forward as entertainers. Sure, there are a lot of cliché moments like a spotlight that follows Shaddix's every move, or a massive wall of death, or a balladic version of "Scars", but overall it's exactly what we want to see. Outrageous moves like humping in air to the percussion rhyth are OK, as is the constant crowd control in between songs. It's done in a natural way so that it doesn't break the flow of the songs while still adding energy. That's why we are all singing along to "Hollywood Whore", and why most in crowd are jumping up and down frantically on request to "Where Did The Angels Go?".

Papa Roach

Occasionally the lights dim out and we catch a glimpse of what is probably the coolest back drop I've ever seen at a concert behind the band, which basically looks like you're staring into a million stars on a night sky outside of a city where light pollution isn't an issue. Overall though the set feels a lot tamer than last time around - probably because five out of sixteen songs on the setlist are from the much weaker new album "F.E.A.R". Still, with enough hard rock classics and a huge audience like this, it's difficult to disappoint. Papa Roach are still very much alive and anyone who tells you they aren't relevant hasn't been to one of their shows in at least five years or more.

7

Setlist:

  • 1. Face Everything and Rise
  • 2. Between Angels and Insects
  • 3. Getting Away With Murder
  • 4. Warriors
  • 5. Forever
  • 6. Hollywood Whore
  • 7. Kick in the Teeth
  • 8. Falling Apart
  • 9. Blood Brothers
  • 10. Broken as Me
  • 11. Scars (acoustic)
  • 12. Gravity
  • 13. Where Did the Angels Go?
  • 14. Still Swingin'
  • 15. Last Resort
  • 16. ...To Be Loved

Five Finger Death Punch

Five Finger Death Punch

If metal had a face for American Exceptionalism a.k.a. being a Republican Douche, it would be Five Finger Death Punch. Their intro sample tonight basically sounds like a Republican campaign announcement - think about the South Park classic "durrr they took our jobssss durrr" - and their backdrop is a giant stone eagle with a U.S.A imprint on it. "What the fuck is going on?", we hear singer Ivan Moody shout out just before "Lift Me Up" kicks off their arena metal set, but it is the second song "Hard To See" that gets the crowd going with an echoing sing along. "Never Enough" follows straight after and has the whole crowd bouncing up and down, before "Got Your Six" sees Moody take cues from Jamey Jasta in his hardcore-style delivery of the song.

Five Finger Death Punch

Now, 5FDP is not a particularly good band on any standard. Their testosterone-driven, macho lyricism is dumbed down to the lowest common denominator, but for some reason they attract thousands of people night in, night out. "Jekyll And Hide" is a great example of a song that is completely brain dead lyrically but has everyone engaged in a massive sing along nonetheless. Do these people even listen to the lyrics of the bands they're into? I guess not. This formula repeats throughout the night with classic arena metal moments scattered in between ridiculous stupidity ("So... Zoltan wants to play something heavy right now, are you ready Copenhagen?" before "Burn MF"), and people are eating it up. Huge spotlights follow every member of the crowd throughout the set, even when Moody makes his way down to the barrier for a brief moment. There's even a drum solo which borrows sections from Safri Duo classic "Played-A-Live", which is a nice touche considering their COpenhagen origin. Of course, there are two acoustic songs designed to calm the crowd down as well, but these are pretty boring. Luckily, "Coming Down" rescues the set from catastrophe at this point with another big sing along moment.

Five Finger Death Punch

What's interesting to see is that the band avoids all the good songs from their new album "Got Your Six" - where is "Wash It All Away" or "Digging My Own Grave?" - and instead go for the dumbest possible tracks from the record ("Got Your Six" and "Jekyll And Hide"). The thing is, an hour of these type of songs is just not that engaging. Sure, Slipknot are guilty of the same approach but at least they compensate with a spectacular live show. 5FDP, on the other hand, aren't that exciting to look at on stage. Sure, each member has their opportunity to impress in a spotlight solo moment, but generally the setlist leaves us with a feeling of "was this really worth 425 DKK?".

7

Setlist:

  • 1. Lift Me Up
  • 2. Hard to See
  • 3. Never Enough
  • 4. Got Your Six
  • 5. Bad Company (Bad Company cover)
  • 6. Jekyll and Hyde
  • 7. Drum Solo
  • 8. Burn MF
  • 9. The Agony of Regret
  • 10. Wrong Side of Heaven (Acoustic)
  • 11. Battle Born
  • 12. Coming Down
  • 13. Burn It Down
  • 14. Under and Over It
  • 15. The Bleeding

Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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