"Rock is Dead!" That is a statement that has been going through the music press recently, but according to the sold-out show at Mohegan Sun last night, hard rock/heavy metal music is alive and striving in Connecticut. Four bands occupied the stage for almost five hours of some of the best heavy metal music around.
A couple of newer band started the night off, each performing for about 30 minutes. From Ashes To New got the early arriving crowd worked-up with their dual-vocalists and hard rock grooves. The female-fronted band, In This Moment, followed with a very theatrical spectacle that was more about the costumes and the stage appearance, than about the music. But, all would be rectified with the upcoming highly-energized 75-minute set from Papa Roach.
These Californian hard rock giants brought their best to the arena, beginning with "Face Everything And Rise" a song from their latest album "F.E.A.R." They had the standing-room only audience on the floor and fans in the upper sections jumping on command to "Warriors" as lead singer Jacoby Shaddix made his way through the seats, high-fiving fans along the way. They introduced to many, including myself, the "wall of death" where the crowd separates down the middle and at the beginning of the song "Blood Brothers," go running into each other, creating one of the biggest mosh pits you have ever seen. Papa Roach brought the volume down, performing an acoustic version of "Scars," before inviting In The Moment's front-women Maria Brink to perform the band's latest single "Gravity." Their set closed with the crowd going nuts, singing lead vocals on their break-through hit song "Last Resort" and the quick-hitting "...To Be Loved."
The rumor all evening was that the headliner, Five Finger Death Punch was filming a new video during the night's performance. They blasted onto the stage with the one-two punch (no pun intended) of "Lift Me Up" and "Hard To See." A camera crane would constantly swing over the audience, capturing the energy of "Never Enough" and "Got Your Six," from the band's latest album of the same name. Guitarist Jason Hook, drummer Jeremy Spencer and lead vocalist Ivan Moody would fool around, performing snippets of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and Ozzy Osboure's "Crazy Train," before honoring the troops with their cover of "Bad Company."
After their showing their emotion for their fans, allowing the acoustic sing-along of "Wrong Side Of Heaven" and "Battle Born," Five Finger Death Punch would return to their hard-hitting ways with "Coming Down" and "Under And Over It." Then the announcement came from Moody that were going to shoot a video for their new single "Wash It All Away." So, with the band in place, a recorded version of the song played through the speakers as the crowd went crazy, trying every opportunity to be in the video. The energy in the arena was amazing as they closed the night with the power of "The Bleeding." Five Finger Death Punch and the other bands that evening proved that rock music may have a younger audience, but that the message of "Rock Is Alive" is a timeless, ageless message.
Papa Roach Setlist: Face Everything And Rise, Between Angels And Insects, Getting Away With Murder, Warriors, Forever, Hollywood Whore, Kick In The Teeth, Falling Apart, Blood Brothers, Broken As Me, Scars, Gravity, Where Did The Angels Go?, Still Swingin', Last Resort, ...To Be Loved
Five Finger Death Punch Setlist: Lift Me Up, Hard To See, Never Enough, Got Your Six, Bad Company, Jekyll And Hyde, Burn MF, Wrong Side Of Heaven, Battle Born, Coming Down, Under And Over It, Wash It All Away (pre-recorded track for video), The Bleeding