Gallery: Rock 103 Presents Breaking Benjamin and Five Finger Death Punch
Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin bring a bit of rock a bit of metal and a whole lot of f*ck yeah to the Crown Complex with the Ember Tour
Words by: Dianna Augustine & David Zeck | Photos by: Luke Jamroz
With the holiday season well under way, what a better time to escape the stress than get down in a pit at a metal show — a really, really good metal show. The highly successful winter tour finds the two hard rock heavyweights Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin, joined by metal pioneers In Flames, as well as rocker From Ashes To New. Due to the tour’s high fan-demand, the co-headliners expanded this trek until the end of December. Lucky us!
The entire spectrum of the Carolinas was on edge with anticipation of the big snowmahgawd set to shut down the cities for days – before the shows we were shopping for all of the bread, not some, all of the milk, not some, and all of the beer – way more than not some – to hold us over until all the snow and ice melts and we can get back to the daily grind. What a cool way to start the snowpocalypse than dance til you drop, mosh, and lose your vocals at a rock show.
Doors at Crown Complex opened up bright and early at 5pm, and, trust me, get there early as From Ashes to New hits the stage at exactly 6pm. They’re a band you don’t want to miss! They were up in the mezzanine signing autographs so if you did miss that part you at least will have a chance to swoop up some merch and bump fists. One of the seriously cool things about this tour is the band’s philanthropic angle.
Fans purchasing a ticket to the tour are also supporting two charities that are close to the co-headliners hearts, as they are donating a portion of every ticket sold to two charity organizations. Five Finger Death Punch has chosen C.O.P.S – Concerns Of Police Survivors, an organization whose mission is rebuilding shattered lives of survivors and co-workers affected by line of duty deaths, through partnerships with law enforcement and the community. On July 21st in Boise, ID, the Boise Police Department presented Five Finger Death Punch with an award for their continued financial and emotional support.
Breaking Benjamin has chosen Prevent Child Abuse America to help counteract the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children by promoting services that improve child well-being and developing programs that help to prevent all types of abuse and neglect. So when you buy a ticket for this show feel good knowing you’re supporting art and important causes directly!
Bring on the Swedes!
Keeping us warm on such a winter’s night In Flames, opened our set, as the early doors threw us for a tiny loop, and we will make up for it with Ashes of the Wake early next year for sure. IF have been around for ages, and over the years the tours have become quite a hodge-podge of the bands catalogue. On the rotating circuit of festivals you are sure to find their fans moshing somewhere in the open air sometime this coming season. With their latest album being in 2016 Battles we are all reeling for some new music. Tonight we were treated to some fan favorites, high-energy, and festival prone-pros playing to a giagantic crowd, their specialty. The crisp sound, booming bass, and most pits were worth the trip to Fayetteville.
The latest album Battles is available now!
Breaking all the necks, and taking all the names:
Next up was the first of the co-headliners of the evening, Breaking Benjamin, have spent much of 2018 on the road and with good reason. This year, BB already had a very successful North American Tour with Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine, then the band released their highly anticipated sixth studio album Ember (Hollywood Records) on April 13th. Breaking Benjamin’s newest album is the follow up to 2015’s Dark Before Dawn, which debuted at number 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 and was lead by three number on rock radio tracks. They then jumped on tour with Five Finger Death Punch and have been steamrolling the states since!
The band always puts on a great show, so I was more than excited to catch these guys live again. As the band began, Breaking Ben took the stage with a white curtain and when it dropped the band wasted no time with the track “Red Cold River” and some pyro of their own. The song which was the first of many tracks performed from the groups latest album, Ember, Band founder Benjamin Burnley led the charge, with a show that featured every member of the group along with a series of special effects. Flames and smoke shot into the air on an almost regular basis. The crowd sang religiously to every song, at times so loud that one could barely hear Ben’s vocals. The setlist covered a wide range of BB classic tracks. Songs like “I Will Not Bow” from Dear Agony to the track “Blow Me Away” and of course the hit’s “So Cold”, “Sooner or Later” and “Believe”, which featured guitarist Keith Wallin and bassist Aaron Bruch on vocals. Burnley and Breaking Benjamin proved once again why 2018 has taken them back on top of the world of Hard Rock.
Hands in the air – or face, or both?
The night’s final act was Five Finger Death Punch. The band released their newest effort And Justice For None back in May. The record also generated over 100 million U.S streams and 250,000 digital song sales in the U.S. With these kind of numbers it’s no wonder this tour is in high demand. And Justice For None is the band’s fifth straight top five album release, and is without question one of the top hard rock/metal albums of 2018. FFDP has once again proved why they’re larger than life both on and off stage, bringing their brand of intensity and pushing the envelope into new territories.
As Five Finger Death Punch began, a black curtain hung in front of the stage. An intro in the form of a creepy rendition of the children’s classic Barney (Yes, Barney, the big purple dinosaur) theme song “I Love You” blurred through BB&T’s speakers. Chuckles and laughter could be heard from all those old enough, like myself, to remember that purple children’s character. As the curtain dropped the song “Lift Me Up” began and pyro blasted into the air. 5FDP took the stage, aiming to show just why this is one of the top selling shows of the summer and boy did they. Vocalist Ivan Moody carried himself back and forth across the stage, signaling to audience members and connecting directly with the fans, even if on a large stage. Size didn’t matter. The band barreled through tracks with flames shooting from behind the entire band. A large skull was the backdrop and it was the band’s most elaborate stage show that I’ve seen in years.
Moody isn’t the only showman in the group either. The entire band interacts with the fans, like bassist Chris Kael making faces at the crowd or guitarist Zoltan throwing guitar picks to the kids in attendance. The highlight for me was seeing the closing song “The Bleeding” performed live and the crowd going nuts during it. They brought fun and excitement back to a metal show and it was more than refreshing, it was needed.
Another cool element that impressed an attendee was:
“We loved the show. Highlights were when Breaking Benjamin and and FFDP brought kids from the audience up on stage and included them in their sets. Ivan was sick but still killed it out there on the stage and he got to sit on a chick’s back while she did push ups…Ben made sure people were being safe while moshing and made sure people kept in mind that there were kids in the audience, and to keep the moshing away from them. He then sang like 2 songs while in the audience. My son Cameron really enjoyed FFDP… and Chloe our 4-year-old really rocked out to BB. I loved both bands, and enjoyed seeing In Flames, and now have a new band I wasn’t familiar with to add to my playlist… Overall it was a great show. Chloe loved the lights shows for both bands. She was like ‘OMG mommy they have fire!!’ She was also kind of sad that she couldn’t go on stage and tell ‘Mr. Death Punch’ bye when we left…“ Jacquelyn Sniffen Ebner
It was really cool and exciting to see them bring up all the kids on stage and even gave them their jewelry, for sure. The performance left me, and I’m sure some of the band’s naysayers, understanding just why Five Finger Death Punch have longevity and are going nowhere anytime soon.
You can purchase or stream And Justice For None at the band’s official website.
Mashing these four bands into one tour is truly something special. The entire thing delivered stellar performances on their terms, the fans came in droves and we escaped the cold for small moments. I recommend you don’t miss the final stops as this is a once in a lifetime kind of tour, and stay safe during the winter weather! Mosh on, if anything it will keep you warm – \m/
Tomorrow 6 PM6,788 guests