Nov 21, 2011

Five Finger Death Punch - Ram's Head Live

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com



5 FINGER DEATH PUNCH / ALL THAT REMAINS / HATEBREED

November 21, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland



I knew up front this show was going to be huge, BUT walking into the venue even I was a little surprised by how massive the show itself was...not just the sold out - jam packed crowd, but the large amount o' extra lights, backdrops, drum risers that moved.... this was a BIG massive rock show in a small club setting.

I missed the first band RAINS & heard the crowd giving them mixed reactions...interesting side-note for this review is the fact that there were a LARGE amount o' females at this show...it's rare to attend a metal show & see that many girls there who actually look good but indeed, 5 Finger Death Punch bring out good looking women in Baltimore, MD fo sho!

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I was surprised to find out that Hatebreed were playing 2nd on the bill because I thought for sure Hatebreed had a bigger draw than All That Remains & therefore would be higher on the bill than All That Remains but indeed Hatebreed were 2nd on the bill & played a strong assed set that was straight up hardcore with no frills, no extreme light show, no crazy backdrops, no moving drum sets...the only things on the Hatebreed stage that moved were the band members & Jamey runs around like a marathon runner while he's onstage!

The interesting thing about the 3 main bands on this billing is that their front-men all have extreme US Military ties & Ivan (5fdp), Jamey (Hatebreed) & Phil (ATR) are all very dominant front-men that have the military "Drill sergeant" persona onstage if you really examine all 3 closely.

Hatebreed's set was just around an hour or so, they kept the onstage banter to a limit & churned out song after song because they knew they had limited time to kick the crowds ass & Hatebreed tore their shit up. It's interesting to note that when Hatebreed finished up a good amount o' people left!

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All That Remains were 3rd on the totem pole & they came out swingin' with hard songs that had a bit more melody than what Hatebreed delivered & this is where I got into an interesting conversation with a few people on this night: "Should All That Remains have had a better spot on the bill than Hatebreed?"

My answer was a simple YES & it's because All That Remains have had more commercial success than Hatebreed....All That Remains have been able to achieve more accolades by making their music more accessible to radio, they went in a more hard rock direction rather than a hardcore direction like Hatebreed & even if the older All That Remains fans call the band a sell out for changing their sound I think All That Remains went further in their careers by simply growing & evolving as musicians opposed to staying in the same genre & the same rut that some bands do over time & that's NOT a stab at Hatebreed because I love what the band did/does, I'm just stating that in terms of commercial success I believe All That Remains went further, therefore they deserve a better slot on this tour because the radio listening section of the crowd would know more of their material which IS played on radio as opposed to Hatebreed whose material is still more underground. I will admit though, Hatebreed is a hardcore institution, no disrespect for what they do, that's just my opinion on the billing slots.

Phil & All That Remains tore it up & during the 5 Finger Death Punch set I looked to my side & saw the bands guitarist Oli grinding on a cute girl next to the merch table for most of the 5 Finger set.

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I actually have the onstage set list for 5FDP BUT the band made changes on the spot due to technical equipment issues so I won't list the set list that they had onstage since it's wrong...what I will mention however is the moment of the set where Ivan asked Jason to jam some covers & they started to play mini clips of "Walk" by Pantera, "Crazy Train" by Ozzy & "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple which led into "Bad Company" by Bad Company.

The onstage set up for 5FDP was crazy....they had crap endorsed by everyone & what I found out after the show was that EVERYTHING on that stage that had a company logo, for instance the Grills that covered where the amps were, the grills were all stainless steel FORD pick up truck grills....Ford paid $25 grand per grill w/ logo to endorse & advertise their name on that stage!

Where you saw BC RICH & other companies logo's & names...you guessed it, it was a paid advertisement & that's why the band used the term "American Capitalist" on most shirts, their passes & anything with the bands logo on it...they had paid sponsorship EVERYWHERE & at a few different spots during the set they even tossed out fake $5 dollar bills that had the bands logo on it...the tour was all about sponsorship, making $$ & I think most people didn't even realize that aspect of it!

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The band brought a HUGE stage show with them, they had their own lights, a moving drum riser, a HUGE LED backdrop that showed movies, where the bands amps were they built walls out of FORD pick up grills & it was a large arena rock show that got played out in a mid sized club...it was definitely a HUGE visual show to absord!

The band actually tossed out more guitar picks than KISS, they must have thrown 10 picks or more for every song played & you could easily find them on the floor when the show ended.

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The equation of more girls than guys in that room became apparent when Ivan commented that he was sick of always having flip flops or smelly hats tossed at him...he joked that for once he wanted panties & bra's tossed at the stage. Ask & yee shall receive because he had 4 or 5 bra's tossed at the stage after he said that & girls in the crowd began flashing him...it's so NOT the norm for heavier rock shows these days & I will admit the band had their shit together for this show even if they did have a few technical issues.

During the 3rd song in the set Ivan threw a fit when an American flag was handed to Jason onstage & Jason opened it up to see that the flag had words writeen on it...this pissed off Ivan & he went into a rant regarding how important that American flag was to him & for some asshole to defile it was wrong...that event sent him into a pissed off mood for most of the night & he admitted towards the end of the set that he had to go backstage, get a beer & just chill for a moment because he was having a bad night ever since that incident.

After the show I ran into Ivan at a bar adjacent to the club & I was shocked when he came up to me as soon as he saw me in the bar & apologized for getting me & my camera wet when he tossed out a bottle of water...I had expected him to be a typical metal jerk & he was actually a really nice guy. After the show ended the crowd disbursed rather fast & the breakdown for that large show took forever, the drum kit had to be taken apart in numerous large piece & carried out the front door of the club as opposed to the back loading area & all of the bands partied till last call at the adjacent bar across from the club.

All in all this was a great night for metal & for a Monday it was impressive just how many people came out to rock!