Gig Review
Five Finger Death Punch
Belfast, Mandela Hall
9 th February 2009
I arrived at the venue two hours early, not because of my eagerness to see Five Finger Death Punch perform, but because it was time to interview their guitarist and founding member, Zoltan. I planned to sit down with him for about 20 minutes and just have a nice wee chat about the band. Then I was going to get some food and hang out with my girlfriend and some mates before the doors opened for the show. Well, the chat lasted for about 45 minutes and you can see it only here at Alternative Vision. After the interview my girlfriend and I sat and chatted with Zoltan and Ivan for about ten minutes. They are really nice, down to earth guys.

Anyway, fast forward to the show. The doors opened a modest 15 minutes late, not too bad. When I got to the door, security was all over everyone searching them. Fair enough but the guy who was supposed to search me was more interested in checking my camera and must have forgotten to check my pockets and pat me down.

We got inside, I got my pass with only minor hassle and then it was on to the merchandise stand. I was pleasantly surprised that the gear was pretty affordable, I have been to shows in the same venue with lesser known acts charging a lot more. I didn’t buy anything but that’s just me, it meant more beer money.

Well from there it was panda-fucking-monium. The venue has two doors entering the main hall, one on each side of the merchandise stand. The far door takes you in and up towards the left of the stage. To enter the nearside door, you pass the toilets on the right. That’s good, you don’t have to go too far when the beer kicks in. The only problem is everyone in the main hall seems to want to go at the same time and are coming out as you are going in. The bar is on the right of the door, just inside the main hall. So at the door there are people trying to get in, get out and get served at the bar all at the same time. Tempers were severely frayed at that point and the show hadn’t even started. There is a balcony with a bar but at this stage it wasn’t open and some security guy said there were no plans to open it. It was opened later on but it should have been open from the start to alleviate the pressure at the bottom door and bar.

Things calmed down quickly once the crowd evened out and the upstairs balcony was opened. In the time it took me to get in the venue, get a beer and get up to the barriers, the first band had come and gone. I got in position and left my camera bag on some gear under the watchful eye of a security guard. Well, I went for another beer first because the crowd had evened out and I was able to just walk up to the bar along the wall from the side of the stage.

The place was filling out by this time and the heat was building. The crowd were ready. I’m not sure how many of them actually knew who Five Finger Death Punch were but by the end of their set, they all did.

From the moment the stage went dark and the band came on, to the time about 35 minutes later when 5FDP left the stage, the place was electric. The crowd reacted well to the energy from the stage. Ivan Moody is an amazing frontman with buckets of energy and personality. I can’t remember what song they opened with but they played all my favourites from the album. From Salvation to The Bleeding and The Devil’s Own. The crowd reacted really well which was quite surprising to me. They were a pretty hardcore bunch, there to see Lamb of God. While 5FDP is generally a metal band, they have quite a mainstream sound which I didn’t think would sit well with the LoG fans. How wrong I was, they loved it. There was a point in the middle of the set where the crowd were moshing and Ivan must have seen a bit of heavy handedness from the security. He stopped and berated them saying that everyone had paid their hard earned money so leave them the fuck alone. The crowd loved that. The band had recently fired their second guitarist (you can read about this in the interview) and this was only the second show ever with their new one Jason Hook. There was one very minor mishap during the set but apart from that, the band played really tight. It was like they had all played together for years. Each person did their job well, they are very talented. They put their heart and soul into the performance, it was all very ‘believable’. From Ivan’s powerful lyrics to Matt’s incredible bass playing and backing vocals. From Jason and Zoltan’s crushing guitar riffs to Jeremy’s fine drum work. It all fitted nicely together and what it all created left everyone asking “Who are these guys?” and “Why haven’t I heard of them before?”

During the set, both Zoltan and Ivan acknowledged my presence there which was a nice touch (well, for me anyway).

It was a very short set for such a big band but they haven’t broken into Europe yet so they were billed as a support act to a more well known band. They impressed the fans in Belfast, something not easy to do. They are hitting Europe right now with a headlining tour and hopefully they will come back soon.

Review By Craig Young
 Five Finger Death Punch

Ivan "Ghost" Moody (Vocals)
Zoltan Bathory (Guitar)
Jason Hook (Guitar)
Matt Snell (Bass Guitar)
Jeremy Spencer (Drums)

 Band Related Links
Five Finger Death Punch Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?