Five Finger Death Punch

Copenhell - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The big name of the second day at Copenhell was none other than Five Finger Death Punch. Not so surprisingly perhaps, considering they were in the midst of their European tour together with In Flames. In Flames, as you remember, had the day before opened the same stage that Five Finger Death Punch were now getting ready to enter and headline.

“Light this place up so I can see these beautiful fucking people!”
- Tommy ‘Vext’ Cummings (vocals)

The big controversy, if you follow the band, was the recent alcohol meltdown of vocalist Ivan Moody, which ended in him committing himself to a rehabilitation institute in the middle of the band’s ongoing tour. When the meltdown happened, at a show in The Netherlands, Vext was luckily at hand to take over vocals on songs that Moody couldn’t or wouldn’t perform himself. After that, it came naturally that Vext would step in for the rest of the tour as a live vocalist. While this announcement had the fans divided, you couldn’t see that it had kept anyone away from the show here at Copenhell, judging by the size of the crowd, and the enthusiastic shouts it was raising as the band’s intro began – a heated speech about the need to stand up for a decent treatment of your fellow man. And yourself, of course.
The accolades only intensified as the intro came to an end, and the band members emerged. This change came hard and fast, and the band was delivering its trademark heavy sound straight from the start.

Whether you were ok with Vext taking the vocal position or not, it couldn’t be denied that he did it in style.
He functioned so well with the rest of the band, that you could have thought he had always been there. He owned the stage, and at the same time had a firm grasp on the audience. He joked around between songs, primarily by taunting the band’s light-man, Carl, and demanding attention of the crowd.
Vocally, Vext delivered as well. I’m not a devoted follower of the band, but from what I know, I could tell that his cleans weren’t as spot on as those of Moody, but his barked angry shouts were just as powerful as needed to be.
Of course, the rest of the guys definitely put their stamp on the show as well, delivering a lively and powerful performance, with posing, headbanging, and generally rocking the hell out of the place. There was a general feeling of democracy in the band, as speaking to the audience was not restricted to Vext alone – both Jason Hook and Chris Kael got to rule the mic at times.

“When I jump up, you jump up!”
- Vext (vocals)

The further in we got, I couldn’t help but feel a growing feeling of cliché however. The band had good moves, but they began to feel very studied and repetitive after a while. It also became painfully clear that Vext’s clever banter with Carl was a routine he went through every night, without even paying much attention to what he was saying. Case in point, Vext called for Carl to turn off the stage lights, so that he could see the audience and their mobile lights. The thing is, Carl had already done this already before Vext began talking. But hey, at least it was an impressive amount of mobile lights that had been turned on, and that looked pretty neat!

Being a fan of the band, I don’t doubt you’d get everything you came for in this show. They weren’t lazy or sloppy or anything like that, they did what they were supposed to do. They even had a fun little “We will rock you” sing along going at one point.
But for me, who’s not a fan, there simply wasn’t enough here to keep me interested for an entire headlining show. Had the show been cut in half, I would have walked away with a much better experience, as I would still have been impressed with their liveliness, and I hadn’t been tired by the repetitiveness. So far, things weren’t going so well for the headliners of the festival. Oh well.

Setlist (incomplete):

Never Enough
Wash It All Away
Bad Company (Bad Company cover)
Jekyll And Hyde
Burn MF
No One Gets Left Behind
The Bleeding

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