Five Finger Death Punch Knocks Out Tampa Bay

By on August 15, 2018

Ivan Moody 5FDP (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater was the host to a sold-out show featuring Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin, Nothing More and Bad Wolves.  The tour is co-sponsored by Live Nation and Frank Productions and due to immense popularity, it has been extended into the fall.  As an added bit of kudos to the bands, a portion of all ticket sales was donated to two charity organizations. Five Finger Death Punch is supporting C.O.P.S – Concerns Of Police Survivors, and Breaking Benjamin choosing Prevent Child Abuse America.  Both amazing causes helping those in need.

Zoltan Bathory 5FDP (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

The rain god[s] would smile down upon Tampa this night, the on and off showers that are common during this time of year were nowhere in sight.  Temperatures in the 80s were a welcome relief for the crowd since we’ve had some high 90s and extreme humidity lately.  Arriving at the Amphitheater, it was packed to the gills. Even from the outside, you could see that nearly every seat was filled, even the premier and VIP parking was nearly filled to capacity.  The faithful metalheads of Tampa turned out for a show of epic proportions, and they would not be disappointed.

Benjamin Burnley Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Kicking off the night was Bad Wolves. After lead singer Tommy Vext filled in for 5FDP’s Ivan Moody’s departure on a previous tour, this band gained a massive following. Making their mainstream debut with a cover the “Zombie” from The Cranberries, their debut album Disobey has found terrific success.

Opening with their politically charged track “Officer Down,” Bad Wolves quickly got the crowd jumping and headbanging along with them. Following up with the concert stadium anthem “Learn to Live,” they really found their stride quickly, and performed like a veteran act instead of a new ‘up and coming’ group. While only playing a seven-song set, they served as a terrific preview of what was left to come.

Jonny Hawkins Nothing More (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Nothing More invaded the stage, and kicked off their set with “Do You Really Want it?” the second single off of their album The Stories We Tell Ourselves. Although originating in 2003, this is only their second label release. Lead singer Jonny Hawkins moved the crowd with his melodic vocals and high energy that set the pace for an entertaining set.

Mark Vollelunga Nothing More (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Guitarist Mark Vollunga and bassist Daniel Oliver provided intense and melodic harmonies, while drummer Ben Anderson set the foundation for their powerful and undeniably honest songs about the issues that plague our times.  With songs like “Let ‘em Burn,” “Don’t Stop,” and the Grammy-nominated “Go to War.”

Jonny Hawkins Nothing More (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Nothing More played with passion and honesty rarely seen in music today.  The crowd really seemed to connect with the band when they played their 2014 hit “Jenny,” a song about the battle with addiction that deeply affected Jonny’s sister, and consequently the whole family.  At the end of the night, they really set the stage on fire with their cover of Skrillex’s “First of the Year (Equinox).”

Daniel Oliver Nothing More (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

One of the best sights of the night came when Jonny mounted the most entertaining, high rising, attention-grabbing, hydraulic driven contraption the stage has probably ever seen. The “Scorpion Tail” as it’s called has levers flying everywhere; buttons, gears, and drums, it moved more like a mechanical bull.  I was honestly scared for him a few times, as I thought for sure he was going to fall off. Yet Hawkins handled this beast like a champ.

Jonny Hawkins Nothing More (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Nothing More concluded their set with “Salem” with the crowd joining in by screaming “Burn The Witch” in unison with the band. Nothing More is hands down one of the most original bands to come out in the rock world in a long time. I can say without question that I really enjoyed seeing their show, and would make the effort to see them again.

Mark Vollelunga Nothing More (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Up next to the stage came the multi-platinum recording artists Breaking Benjamin who are out supporting their newest release Ember.  They started their set with “Red Cold River” a song that peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart.  Singer Benjamin Burnley  brings to the stage an angst and grind that only comes from years as a musician, and it seemed that the crowd related to him from song one.

Aaron Bruch Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Bassist Aaron Bruch took over the mic and sang “Believe,” which was nothing less than mind blowing. One thing to note about Breaking Benjamin is that the current lineup is completely stacked with amazing singers.  Guitarist Keith Wallen and Bruch were hand-picked for their vocal ability and they were producing amazing harmonies throughout their set. The crowd sang at the top of their lungs along with Burnley as they played their hits “I Will Not Bow” & “Never Again.”

Benjamin Burnley Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Keith Wallen Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Probably one of the coolest parts of their performance was when they played the “Imperial March” from Star Wars, with every Star Wars fan in the crowd going nuts!  This was just a lead into a medley of a few select covers which the crowd ate up.  Tool’s “Schism,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Pantera’s “Walk” (which sent the crowd into a frenzy), and ending with Metallica’s “Sad But True.”

Benjamin Burnley & Aaron Bruch Breaking Benjamin ( Photo Travis Failey )

You couldn’t have asked for a better set-list. All your favorites, both new and old, with a few covers to boot. Breaking Benjamin kept improving throughout the night as the minutes and their set seemed to fly by. With all their energy and talent you just didn’t want them to leave the stage.

Shaun Foist Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Finally, the time had come for the band that Tampa’s Heavy Metal crowd came to see.  FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH!!!!  There aren’t words to describe the feeling in the amphitheater as everyone, and I mean everyone was waiting for them to take the stage!!!  You could feel the electricity in the air; coursing through your veins as the anticipation built.  Then the curtain dropped….

Ivan Moody 5FDP (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Right out the gate, 5FDP lead off with a brutal throat punch that was “Lift Me Up.” Every head was banging; fists in the air, aggression at full tilt!  Made you want to hit the gym and bench press 500lbs and scream at the top of your lungs!  Ivan Moody gripped the crowd with such intensity and you could see it from his head to his toes, a true showman.  When they played “Wash it All Away,” there wasn’t a person left in their seat. It became a heavy metal MOB!

Jason Hook 5FDP (Photo-Travis Failey

I don’t know if MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater has seen such power, and this was a true sight to behold.  The pyro, the flames, the sheer raw power of this band could not be contained, and neither could Zoltan Bathory’s energetic licks.  Chris Kael’s bass and Jeremy Spencer’s drums drove the music into the heart of everyone in attendance.  Huge supporters of the Military, 5FDP played their rendition of “Bad Company” dedicating it to those who served. Tears could be seen streaming down the face of a member of the crowd as they sang along.

Zoltan Bathory 5FDP(Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

While hard to follow such a powerful rendition, 5FDP slowed it down a bit. With a small acoustic set, featuring only Ivan and Jason Hook on acoustic guitar.  Even the slower acoustic versions of “Wrong Side of Heaven” and “Remember Everything” had every bit of fortitude as the electric performances.  As they played on through the evening, they arrived at their version of the Offspring’s “Gone Away.”

Ivan Moody 5FDP ( Photo Jaime Rodriguez )

If you think 5FDP’s studio recording is good, the live performance is a metric ton better. Winding down the night with their final song “The Bleeding,” all bets were off as they left nothing on the stage.  As big and bad as this band is, they care; they care about their fans.  Throughout the night they interacted with their fans and really showed their appreciation for their support.  Pretty refreshing to see a group that has made it this big and genuinely connects with their supporters. Passing out tons of guitar picks, singling out two truly metal kids who caught Ivan’s eye to receive special gifts, and taking time to make contact past the first few rows of the pit, it was one of the best endings of any metal show for the fans.

Chris Kael 5FDP (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

This was a great night for Tampa; to see four talented, world-renowned, and hard rocking acts in one venue.  All in all, it was a perfect night for such a show.  The weather cooperated, the temperature was terrific and the music was amazing.  If you haven’t made it out to catch this tour so far, there is a second leg that will be kicking off at the end of September!  You won’t be disappointed.

Jeremy Spencer 5FDP (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

For additional info and tour dates:

https://fivefingerdeathpunch.com/pages/home#tour

Additional Photos by Jaime Rodriguez:

Jason Hook 5FDP (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Jonny Hawkins Nothing More (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Chris Kael 5FDP (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Zoltan Bathory 5FDP (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Jasen Rauch Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

Ivan Moody 5FDP (Photo-Jaime Rodriguez)

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