Shock and Awe w/ Five Finger Death Punch, Shadows Fall, otep @ The Regency Ballroom, 9/22/09

The ‘Shock and Raw‘ tour got off to an interesting start. After tour headliners Five Finger Death Punch’s record release party in Las Vegas last weekend, lead guitarist Zoltan Bathory went missing. After a couple days of speculation, and a fast approaching first day of the tour, he surfaced; unscathed and with little explanation.

I scored rockstar parking next to the venue, and proceeded to make my way inside. During the search at the door, my gum was confiscated. My GUM! Not G-U-N. Security told me it’s because there is new carpet inside. OK…..but really, come on!

Otep took the stage as soon as I walked inside. Last time I saw Otep was at one of the last shows at the now closed 12 Galaxies. I definitely think she is one of the coolest chicks in metal- she’s smart, very pretty, and has a great stage presence. However, she could use a better backing band…..and the audience didn’t quite get her forays into her spoken word pieces. I also don’t like the different face coverings she utilizes for different songs….feels trite to me. It was good to see her again.

Shadows Fall is a band I know absolutely nothing about. I should have mentally prepared myself though….because when the singer hit the stage with his near floor length dreads, it was nearly over for me then and there. Watching him headbang was for sure one of the most ludicrous things I have witnessed in metal. No offense to their music- it was alright, just not my style. But the Dreadbanging…..holy moly…..I could create a videogame character around this awesome fighting mechanic. I saw the dreads slap security a couple times. When he jumped into the crowd, I was waiting for someone to yank them…I might not have been able to resist! Wow. Anyway- I was too distracted by this obviously to get very into the music, but I don’t think their music gave me much of a reason to not be.

Five Finger Death Punch has never been on my radar- but I’m trying to branch out. But I’m familiar with the inspiration for the name, as I’m a Kill Bill fan. Their brand of metal is more of the ‘jock’ variety – the costume of choice consists of baseball caps, jerseys, mesh shorts, and sneakers. My brand of metal requires a vastly different costume- mostly based on the color black, denim, and combat boots. That said, the band has great energy, their sound is pretty clean and much more hook driven than Shadows Fall, and the crowd LOVES them.

There were a lot of crowd surfers, and the lead singer kept dousing the barrier (security included) and pit in water. They are the type of band who really connects with the crowd- pointing, looking everyone in the eye…they really made a lot of people’s nights. In particular, there was a 9 year old boy at the rail with his father, and the lead singer gave him a lot of attention- bringing him swag, saying, “you made our night!”, and so on. It was heartwarming…..something that I don’t want anywhere near my metal shows, but that’s beside the point.

As the main set came to a close and I planned my exit before the encore, I stood there listening to one of the many surprisingly slower songs of theirs, and all of the men in the room singing along to it. It was an interesting moment for me, looking around and realizing that little me might be more hardcore than 95% of the people in the room. Sometimes I even scare myself.

So, with that, I took my little jaded hardcore ass home, and called it a night.

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