In a down economy, concert tickets are tougher to acquire for fans. People are forced to pick and choose the shows they want to see based upon what’s in their wallet. To aid fans in seeing all their favorite acts, a new trend is emerging – The Co-Headliner. Not that it’s a new concept by any means, but it’s becoming somewhat of a regularity nowadays. In the rock world, Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden, KISS and Def Leppard, Fall Out Boy and Paramore, Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd, as well as Taking Back Sunday and The Used are just a few examples of massive co-headlining tours that have gone down this year. Heavy metal juggernauts Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat have partnered up to put on one of the most powerful co-headliners in recent years. Last night, the bands handed out a serious beat-down at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA.
Up-and-comers Nothing More and metal masters Hellyeah got things off to a running start with solid opening sets. Shortly into Volbeat’s set, lead singer Poulsen said jokingly, “You know, every time we try to go home, you Americans just won’t let us!” Volbeat have now visited the U.S. four times on this album cycle, but it’s clear they are loving each go-around. The band proceeded to deliver a sharp and blistering set, filled with hits like “Sad Man’s Tongue”, “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood”, “16 Dollars”, and “Still Counting”. They band still pushed their latest album hard, playing “Dead But Rising”, “The Hangman’s Body Count”, the latest single “Lola Montez”, and others. A mash-up of “Heaven Nor Hell” and “A Warrior’s Call” was a nice touch as well. All this touring may be wearing the band down a bit, but it certainly doesn’t show on stage. They’re still bringing it like they always do, and they’ve risen to become one of the top rock acts in the world.
Five Finger Death Punch took the stage to close out the evening, delivering one knockout blow after another. They opened with their crushing hit single “Under and Over It” from their breakout record American Capitalist. They immediately tore into “Burn It Down”, and the tone for the rest of the night was set with authority. FFDP are well-known for their support of America’s Armed Forces, and it showed last night. The band played their cover of Bad Company’s “Bad Company”, and followed it up with “Burn Motherfucker (Burn MF)” during which they were joined on-stage by U.S. troops. Their intense dedication to these brave men and women is truly one of the best things about this band. Other highlights from the performance included “Lift Me Up”, “Never Enough”, “The Way of The Fist”, and “The Bleeding”. Jeremy Spencer laid down a pummeling drum solo, and the band went acoustic for two of their more mild tracks – “Remember Everything” and “Battle Born”. Over the last few years, Five Finger Death Punch have risen from the very vanilla metal scene to become an unstoppable force on stage. They command respect, and they’re really starting to receive it.
This past spring, Five Finger Death Punch hit the festival circuit in the U.S. with several appearances including a stop at Rock On The Range in Columbus, OH. The band is touring in support of their latest effort, the monster double-LP The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell – Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Both discs debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 back in July 2013 and November 2013 respectively. The band recently toured on last year’s Australia’s Soundwave Festival, followed by a sold-out European tour. Five Finger Death Punch won Song of The Year and bassist Chris Kael won the Paul Gray Best Bassist Award at this year’s Revolver Golden Gods in Los Angeles. Throughout their young career, Five Finger Death Punch have sold almost 3 million albums in the United States.
This is Volbeat’s fourth North American tour trek in support of their latest effort, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, which came out back in April 2013. The record has taken the band to whole new level, giving them their first Top 10 debut on the Billboard Top 200 at #9. Volbeat were nominated for a Grammy Award this year for Best Metal Performance for the song “Room 24 (feat. King Diamond)”. Volbeat have always received widespread acclaim in Europe. The band’s last album, Beyond Heaven/Above Hell, went platinum in Finland and Germany, gold in Sweden and Austria, and double-platinum in their native Denmark. The record also broke the band into the mainstream in the U.S. with the hit single, A Warrior’s Call, which garnered massive play on rock radio nation-wide. Over the past few years, Volbeat have been touring relentlessly, playing some of the world’s biggest festival stages including Rock On The Range, Carolina Rebellion, Download Festival, Hellfest, Wacken Open Air, and Metallica’s Orion Music + More Festival. – by Matt Bishop