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Five Finger Death Punch Oberhausen 2024 53 von 65Rudolf-Weber-Arena, Oberhausen, Germany
25th June 2024
Five Finger Death Punch - “Live 2024” European Tour - Special guests: Ice Nine Kills, Ektomorf

Multi-platinum Hard Rock band FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH (5FDP), currently on the European leg of METALLICA’s “M72 tour” where they continue to perform as special guests alongside ICE NINE KILLS in stadiums around the world, have managed to splash in a few headlining gigs in Europe, besides hitting a few European summer festivals. Thousands of fans embraced the chance to see them, especially as 5FDP brought an extremely attractive support package with them, as ICE NINE KILls are special guests on the headline dates of the summer tour. The band have established themselves as one of the most vicious forces in Modern Metal with their latest album ‘The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood’.


Ektomorf

As a late addition to the billing, the Hungarian Power Metal work horse EKTOMORF had the task of opening up the evening. The band originates from Mezőkovácsháza, Hungary, and was founded in 1994 by the charismatic singer / guitarist Zoltan “Zoli” Farkas. The band is on its seventeenth (!) release ‘Vivid Black’, which was released in 2023. http://ektomorf.army

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Music & Performance
A lot of people arrived early at the arena - thanks to the excellent traffic management - so when EKTOMORF took to the stage around 7:15 PM, they faced a rather full auditorium. Singer Zoltan did his best to motivate the crowd, but overall, the crowd response was a little bit lacklustre. Maybe it was due to the warmth, or the groove-lacking songs, or the fact that - at times three guys hopping across the stage filming the four band members with two phones simultaneously was a little distracting. I mean I get it - social media coverage is everything nowadays, but I am wondering if this could be done in a less obvious manner. In addition, this seemed to hinder the musicians to move around on the rather confined stage space, which again contributed to the fact that Zoltan’s requests to “Jump the fuck up”, or “Get crazy” were unheeded.

Rating
Music: 6
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 6.5 / 10

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Ice Nine Kills

Next up were Boston Horrorcore’s finest ICE NINE KILLS (or INK, as fans call them). For those who haven’t seen them in a while: The band have used the recent years for a profound makeover. Back in 2018 they were opening for MOTIONLESS IN WHITE in a small concert hall, so getting on stage with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH in a larger arena is what you can call a decent upgrade. www.iceninekills.com

Music & Performance
When ICE NINE KILLS took to the stage at 8:15 pm to a horror witch narration, the arena was packed. And the band used their time in the spotlight in the best way possible. Besides their Metalcore-infused music and horror-inspired lyrics, the band upgraded their wardrobe. Singer Spencer Charnas wore a grey suit, white shirt, and tie with black gloves, which - paired with Ray Bans - made for a sleek ‘American Psycho’ look.

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The band also brought manifold requisites, such as axes and butcher knives, which Spencer used to cut off the limbs from a fake torso strapped to an office chair. On top of this, a bunch of performance artists enacted all kinds of classic horror movie scenes during the songs, which involved zombies chasing a girl, and then the girl with artful axe swings killing off the zombies one by one, or hillbillies swinging chainsaws - you get the idea. The talented entourage even re-enacted the famous shower curtain scene from the Alfred Hitchcock movie ‘Psycho’. This made for some solid entertainment, and the large crowd was definitely engaged, as the band departed after some 45 minutes with the singer’s signature farewell “Rest in f*cking pieces”.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8 / 10

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Five Finger Death Punch

Now it was time for America’s knuckleheads No.1: FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH (or FFDP). The band from Las Vegas formed in 2005 and rose quickly to fame with their debut ‘The way of the fist’ from 2007, achieving rapid success. This certainly took a toll and the mental health of the band members, resulting in some member departures and in one or the other tabloid headline and a longer band hiatus. However, they came round every time, and their ninth release ‘Afterlife’ from 2022 confirmed that they still got it in them. http://fivefingerdeathpunch.com

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Music & Performance
When ‘Balls to the Wall’ from AC/DC resounded over the speakers, the audience got their hopes up that their idols would be taking to the stage. However, they had to wait out one more song - this time DANZIG’s ‘Mother’ - before actually the lights went low, countless lasers sprang to life and the band members appeared one by one, with drummer Charlie Engen making the start. They played an intro, which effortlessly morphed into their opener ‘Welcome to the Circus’, as singer Ivan jumped on stage and screamed ‘Let’s have some fun’, to which the packed arena responded with roaring applause. Singer Ivan did what he always does - running like a cannonball from one end of the stage to the other, interacting with fans, taking their smartphones and film the whole band, and showering the first rows with water bottles.

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However, during a song break he spotted someone visibly inebriated in the crowd and exclaimed: “Holy Shit! It’s only the 3rd Song and you are already fucked up, man!”. Then he left the stage and saw to it that this guy received the help he needed, and when he returned, he remarked “Gotta take care of family, because we are all family!” The set continued with the powerful cover ‘The house of the Rising Sun’, which did its magic to turn the entire audience into converts. After a singalong battle for ‘Burn MF’, things took an unusual emotional turn, when the other band members left, and the remaining Ivan dedicated the following song to his friend Vinnie Paul, late PANTERA drummer, as well as to his daughter’s birthday. He also proudly announced that he was six years sober - crediting his daughter’s birth as the decisive success factor, which earned him a roaring applause. He then proceeded to sing ‘Remember Everything / Far From Home’ in an a cappella fashion. However, his voice crackled, and he wiped his eyes, being taken away by the raw emotion, and had to restart the song.

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The band rejoined for ‘Wrong Side of Heaven’, and Ivan announced that now that they had played all your girlfriend’s favourite songs, it was time to get back to business. What followed was a thunderstorm of faster, heavier songs, which got the crowd rowdy again. However, towards the end Ivan seemed to have trouble with his earpiece, and the sound crew did not get the monitor signal to work the way he wanted, so a visibly irritated Ivan screamed “Thanks for doing your fucking job”, and ‘You’re fired’ to the crew. The sound issues did not result in a noticeable decline of his singing qualities, so it was merely an internal issue, showcasing his talent as a singer. After 90 minutes of playtime the crowd got their send-off with ‘The Bleeding’, for which the audience lit up their smartphones, turning the huge arena into a sea of lights.

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All in all, it was a powerful showcase of an incredibly talented band, which some used to deride in the past as sturdy rednecks, and the Knucklehead family (as Ivan lovingly calls his fans) has a lot of growth potential.

Setlist
01. Welcome to the Circus
02. Lift Me Up
03. Trouble
04. Wash It All Away
05. Jekyll and Hyde
06. Sham Pain
07. The House of the Rising Sun
08. Salvation
09. Burn MF
10. Judgment Day / Battle Born / Remember Everything (A capella)
11. Wrong Side of Heaven
12. Got Your Six
13. Never Enough
14. IOU
15. Under and Over It
16. Hard to See
17. The Bleeding

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 10
Total: 8.5 / 10

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All Pictures by Andreas Klüppelberg

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