Confidence in our domestic brand of capitalism may be approaching new lows these days, but Five Finger Death Punch rolled into the House of Blues on Tuesday night riding high on the American dream. The L.A. headbangers' new album, American Capitalist, debuted at number three on the charts last month and sold nearly 100,000 copies in its first week -- a nifty sum in the digital era, and one the band is hardly ashamed to brag about. "We even beat out Kanye fuckin' West," crowed singer Ivan Moody to a roar of approval from the large and energetic crowd. Tough times or no, the mostly burly metalheads in attendance appeared far more likely to occupy Afghanistan than Wall Street.
Five Finger Death Punch's particular style of metal isn't easy to classify. It's far more accessible than the southern-fried weirdness of Mastodon, but it's way hairier and sweatier than chart contemporaries Evanescence. Just when you're ready to dismiss it as twenty-first century nu-metal, a ripping guitar solo or a tasty, syncopated double-bass lick involuntarily locks your fingers into devil horns.
Though Hatebreed and All That Remains, the veteran support acts on the Share the Welt Tour, could be considered bona fide headliners in their own right, 5FDP left little doubt which band was anchoring the production. With its heavy steel trusses, blinding LED strobes and jumbotron video screen, the impressive stage set resembled nothing so much as a the ringside set-up from Monday Night Raw. If the band hasn't yet made a few bucks recording a wrestler's entrance music à la Motorhead, they should definitely look into it.
And from the moment the band took the stage and tore into "Under and Over It," a celebration of psychotic American "Get money!" tunnel vision and the first single from American Capitalist, the crowd happily sang along to every word as corporate logos flashed wildly on the screen behind them.
Shouted metallic verses and easy, sing-along choruses had fans alternately banging their heads between their knees and shouting up to the ceiling as 5FDP covered material from its previous two albums, including "Burn it Down" and "The Bleeding." A chromed version of the classic rock radio mainstay "Bad Company" let band members show off their effortless chops and showcase Moody's vocal talents.
Still, Five Finger Death Punch never pandered to the audience, and its music wasn't dumbed down. Drummer Jeremy Spencer's riser, hoisted 10 feet off the ground during his solo where it remained through the band's closing number, elicited howls of appreciation from the packed house. In tough economic times, 5FDP took pains to ensure that they lived up to Tuesday's $40 ticket price. That's the kind of American Capitalism Rocks Off could stand a little more of.
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Personal Bias: When I first heard about the show, I automatically assumed Hatebreed was the headliner.
The Crowd: NFL fans with plug earrings. And their girlfriends.
Overheard in The Crowd: "So, I showed you my scab, right?"
Random Notebook Dump: "That fucking drum riser WILL float in the air." It did.