Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, Sixx:A.M. and From Ashes to New rolled their Canadian tour through Lethbridge, Alberta on September 13, 2016 to put on hours of white-knuckled, aggressive as hell, balls to the wall hard rock at the Enmax Centre.
Five Finger Death Punch and Papa Roach have been around for far longer than anyone maybe would have ever given them credit for all those years ago. FFDP released a nu-metal album on the cusp of the genre’s demise but it was so masterful and the band was so tirelessly devoted to kicking ass on the road and never giving up that they made it and are considered among the elite in both the rock and metal worlds. This was my second time seeing them live (2nd in Lethbridge too) and the guys are as energetic and powerful in person as ever – if not even more-so considering the latest studio effort ‘Got Your Six’ just so happens to be the crew’s heaviest album to date.
Sixx:A.M. – I must admit that I didn’t have any expectations for as I’m not a fan, haven’t listened to anything of theirs in the past, and all I really know is that the group is stacked. Nikki Sixx (of course from Motley Crue), DJ Ashba – FREAKING DJ ASHBA (Guns n’ Roses), James Michael on vocals and Dustin Steinke on drums… This is strong, old-school, no dicking around loud music. It is pure evil, sleazy rock and it sounds like it could have been blasted from some asshole’s Ferrari in the 80’s cruising down the Strip. DJ Ashba ventured into the crowd at one point and played a good three minutes with some fans in the stands. Ashba is one of the best guitarists on the planet – he reminds me of Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead for some reason and I can’t say why — I just know that it makes sense.
Papa Roach, I’ve been a fan of since their classic ‘Infest’ record and it seems most in attendance at the Enmax Centre were also thirsting for ‘Last Resort’ – maybe a little too thirsty for that oldschool flavour. One dude woudn’t shut up screaming it for about 2 songs before they finally kicked into their hit and the Lethbridge crowd went bonkers. Singer Jacoby Shaddix even did rounds in the arena, visiting fans in the stands and high-fiving as many diehards that he could. For a frontman that has been doing this for as long as Shaddix has, his energy and motivation behind the mic is tireless. He’s a madman, he’s very punk in his delivery and it’s an infectious presence that really fired up the building in ways I haven’t seen in quite some time.
Jerry Horton, lead guitarist for Papa Roach was very dynamic as well, never staying in one spot for long. I was surprised how much he ate up the stage and put on a show for the people. At one point it looked like one of the guitarists fell to the floor hard (I can’t remember which one due to the chaos). Shaddix went over and whispered into his ear after he got back to his feet looking quite shaken, to see what the hell happened. The consummate professionals that these dudes are – not once did the song stop, they brushed that shit off and pressed on – HARD. Shaddix even assembled the wall of death in the moshpit. The heaviest of metal bands these days won’t go there anymore due to safety issues. Papa Roach didn’t give a shit – they went for it and it looked awesome… from my perch… safely away from the mayhem.
Five Finger Death Punch have perfected the art of putting on a damn fine show. Frontman Ivan Moody is a beast, now and always, one of the best singers in rock. “Even though we’re not sold out, this is one of the best crowds of the tour” said Moody to the Lethbridge audience. It seemed more sparse in the Enmax than the last time FFDP came through town, but I might be wrong about that. It didn’t matter because the band drew the people in almost as if they were turning that arena into a club show. Moody loved talking with the fans both during and in-between songs, and the banter was quite moving at times while hilarious at others. He dedicated a song to a fan in attendance who is dying of cancer and at one point invited every child in the building to go on stage while they played their most aggressive and curse-filled track ‘Burn MF’. Sure why not – it was kinda shocking but silly and brilliant all the same to induct the Canadian youth into the FFDP army with their most brutal song ever.
The guys slowed things down with a memorable acoustic break that culminated with ‘Remember Everything’ – one of my favorites. Tons of crowd participation, furious circle pits (I saw one dude windmilling in there and it looked like a human lawnmower just going to town on blades of mammalian grass). On paper this was a Nu-Metal concert – but lines have become so blurred these days that when it comes to labelling a bill ‘Nu-Metal’ – it doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s heavy rock – it’s flashes of metal – it’s heavy music period. From Ashes to New (I unfortunately missed most of their set due to the long slow line…..) looked like they were going for it and putting their duelling vocalists to work. Honestly they may have been the second heaviest act of the night aside from our headliners and I’m thinking you’ll be seeing much more of them in the future – check out their latest album – it reminded me of older Linkin Park (I liked old Linkin Park – a lot – so deal with it).
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