Tonight, Five Finger Death Punch embody the very definition of showmanship by insisting, against all odds, that the show must go on.
In perhaps the world’s most obvious pun, the Las Vegas metallers live up to their name, as they headline an iconic London venue at a time when the music community is still reeling from the tragic Paris attacks. Five Finger Death Punch were also forced to cancel their show in Milan, Italy just days earlier.
Unity is a theme that’s prevalent throughout the evening though, and the consistent sentiment of each of the four bands who play remains one of determination and solidarity.
Despite the sudden line-up change (Papa Roach had to pull out, as did Devil You Know), Arcane Roots do an impressive job of opening for the largely metal-loving crowd. Their alt-rock sound may not be those typically associated with such a billing, but in picking their heaviest offerings, the unique trio seem to have everyone entertained.
By the time As Lions take to the stage, the atmosphere is electric. This lot have been off the radar for the best part of six months; but their return is well and truly triumphant. Now-familiar favourites like The Fall go down a treat, and with the addition of keys and several new offerings like White Flags, the sound is absolutely on point – somewhat more eclectic than the crowd might have been expecting. Taking the opportunity to make the most of a captivated crowd, frontman Austin Dickinson wastes no time in reminding us of the power music has in bringing people together; in a poignant tribute to those whose world has recently changed. They may well still be relatively unknown right now, but just wait. The band has just signed to Eleven Seven like their brothers in FFDP, and they’ve got a whole lot up their sleeves.
Next up to impress is Skindred. Yet another set of last-minute heroes; the Welsh band stepped in to save the day. They’ve got quite a name for themselves here in the UK and have done for many years, and so their reggae-infused metal sounds are more than welcome in a room buzzing with excitement for the headliners. Sure, they’re a world apart from Papa Roach, but their personal brand of rock is enough to get even a total newbie on board. Plus, they even have a few tricks up their sleeve (namely a Last Resort remix, paying homage to the once co-headliners who couldn’t be present). By the time their trademark ‘Newport Helicopter’ move is pulled out of the bag to the ever-awesome Warning, the crowd are successfully won over and ready for the main event.
People here really love Five Finger Death Punch. Stating the obvious perhaps, but it needs saying again – they really love FFDP. And can you blame them? The Las Vegas heavy-metallers bring absolute carnage in their 13-song set (and additional four-set encore), and yet their sound is accessible to (almost) all. Touring their latest record, Got Your Six, the band play a mixture of old and new from across their repertoire, including its title track and the now-classic Wrong Side Of Heaven. From the offset, storming in with the punchy riffs of Lift Me Up, right through to the final notes of The House Of The Rising Sun, FFDP well and truly bring the mosh.
Music has always brought solace and community to many, and tonight, Five Finger Death Punch and co prove that the show can, indeed, go on.