“The five separate fingers are five independent units. Close them and the fist multiplies strength. This is organization.” – James Cash Penny
NOTE: The event was delayed by weather, technical issues and traffic. The organizers had no choice but to cut the set of Arson City. Arson City is a local Omaha band, but not just a band. They, according to their facebook page, have an all-out concept and vision. Each band member portrays their own character within “Arson City”. The Mayor, The Doctor, The Con, The Dealer and The Enforcer. Please take the time to visit their page and learn more about them and most importantly check out their music and go see them live. https://www.facebook.com/arsoncity/
Because of the traffic, I was unable to make it in time for Bad Wolves. I was really looking forward to hearing their tribute to Dolores O’Riordan who fronted The Cranberries. Their version of Zombie hit number 1 on the billboard chart earlier this month. If you’re not familiar with it, then you should become familiar with it. Go ahead. I’ll wait…………………Not bad huh? Ok, on with the show.
It was just this past February that I did a shoot-n-review of STARSET during their own headlining tour titled “Immersion Part One.” They are as cinematic as ever and boasted the same cast. Dustin Bates, Ron DeChant, Brock Richards, Adam Gilbert, Siobhan Cronin and Jonathan Kample. STARSET has a specific mission, and I quote (via their web-page) “We have been commissioned by The STARSET Society to spread broad awareness of The Message through music and media. The Message contains the knowledge necessary to spare the future of humanity, and we will do whatever we must to inform the public. Please hold. STARSET will begin the TRANSMISSION of the Message to the public shortly.”
As it was the last time I saw them, there is a countdown screen prior to their entrance, once it hits 10 you can’t help yourself but to countdown out loud with it. Not sure what it is about a countdown clock, but I swear even if you knew when it hit zero it would be the end of time, we would all still count out loud. When they did come out DeChant and Richards were adorned in spacesuits with jetpacks. Their drummer, Gilbert is stationary behind a screen, but he and it are filled with lights. Lead vocalist Bates comes out like any other normal lead vocalist, not wearing any kind of a special attire, just a nice jacket with the STARSET logo. There is so much going on during a STARSET show that you’re afraid to look away as you might miss something spectacular. The lyrics are brilliant, the instrumentation is impeccable and the way the words and music communicate with each other is uncanny. This unique sound which also snags a dash of EDM is undeniably addictive to the ear. There were tons of smoke, lasers and crowd surfing to appease any concert goer. For me, the best song was “Monster” simply because it starts with a few strums from a violin and cello that just sent the crowd over the edge. They could have easily head-lined this show as well. I hope they continue to come to this area every other month.
Next to take the stage was Shinedown. Brent Smith and company were easily the most entertaining band of the evening. Their showmanship was unmatched. Their connection to the audience was unquestionable. I got the feeling that they truly appreciate their fans and always give their best to ensure they are satisfied. Fire and lasers filled the stage and sky through-out their set and tons of chatter with the crowd made it feel like we were part of the show. Matter of fact at one point the band left but Brent and guitarist Zach Myers remained on stage and did an acoustic version of Lynyrd Skynrds’s “Simple Man,” in which he asked the crowd to take over lead vocals during the chorus. They of course did, and did so eagerly and energetically. Shinedown's production values were top-notch. I will admit to being startled a bit (who am I kidding, I freaking got scared) when the explosions started going off. It was raining fire and pouring sound. The pyro was mesmerizing and so is Shinedown. Just like I said about STARSET, this band could have also easily head-lined this show.
SOUND OF MADNESS – BULLY – CUT THE CORD – KILL YOUR CONSCIENCE – STATE OF MY HEAD – PYRO – ENEMIES – I’LL FOLLOW YOU – SECOND CHANCE –
DIAMOND EYES (BOOM-LAY BOOM LAY-BOOM) – 45 – SIMPLE MAN - DEVIL
Now to Five Finger Death Punch. OK, we all know they like to over do it a bit with the costumes and maybe a little over the top with the running around (choreography), but damn it, they are as talented and as tight a rock band as you will ever see or hear. My god they are good at playing rock and roll. When you just listen to this band you forget about some of the unnecessary theatrics and just find yourself taking in their damn-near perfect musical abilities. They have a work ethic other bands can look to for inspiration. They are a success story in what is currently considered modern heavy metal. As a photographer, let me tell you what I like the most about this band. They recognize the photographers. They pose, point and even the drummer smiles at you. You get the “finger”, tongues and eyes looking directly at you. The fifteen song set was pure enjoyment especially “Burn MF” which had everybody chanting. This band is just melodic enough to drawn in the FM radio crowd as well as the hard-core metal fans. If you ever get a chance to see them, do not be fooled by what you see on stage, just listen to how clean and professional this band is. I said earlier that STARSET and Shinedown could have easily head-lined this show. I stand corrected. This was Five Finger Death Punch’s show and nobody, and I mean nobody was going to head-line it but them.
I LOVE YOU – UNDER AND OVER IT – NEVER ENOUGH – TROUBLE – JEKYLL AND HYDE – LIFT ME UP – BAD COMPANY – FAKE – REMEMBER EVERYTHING – WRONG SIDE OF HEAVEN – COMING DOWN – BURN MF – WASH IT ALL AWAY – THE BLEEDING – HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN
Five Finger Death Punch