GIG REVIEW: FFDP, Shinedown, Sixx A.M. & As Lions Live at The Blue Cross Arena, Rochester
The Blue Cross Arena in Rochester was host recently to none other than the Five Finger Death Punch and Shinedown co-headlining tour. Offering support were Sixx Am and As Lions, a pretty fantastic lineup for a Tuesday night of heavy rock. The audience lined up early in anticipation, and it didn’t take long to fill up to capacity once the doors opened.
As Lions, featuring Austin Dickinson, son of Bruce from Iron Maiden, warmed up the crowd with songs from their debut album ‘Selfish Age’, which will be released on January 20th. They completed a high energy set while interacting well with the crowd and you can be sure of hearing their name again in the future.
Up next, former Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, hit the stage with his once project turned band Sixx Am. Along with DJ Ashba of recent Guns n’ Roses fame and James Michael, a renowned and in demand producer, the lineup is rounded off by Dustin Steinke, formerly of Canadian favourites, Bleeker Ridge. While Sixx Am has been making albums for years, they rarely toured due to the hectic schedules of all involved. With the retirement of Crue and DJ leaving GnR, the time for change was now and the band can be found taking hold with baroth hands. Sixx Am’s recent release ‘Prayers For The Blessed’ is a part two continuation of ‘Prayers For The Damned’. It’s easy to see that these guys have a blast playing together, as they generally joke around while also interacting heavily with the audience. Sixx Am delivered a great set with inclusions from past album favourites as well a selection of tracks from the recent double releases. I would think a full headline tour is in their immediate future.
Shinedown were up next and they brought with them a pyro show that stands with the best of them. An almost constant wall of flame joined the Jacksonville natives on a set filled with hits from over the years including “Adrenaline”, “Second Chance”, “Sound of Madness”, and huge audience favourite “Simple Man”, a Lynrd Skynrd cover. Zach Myers on guitar and Eric Bass on bass were in constant motion, swapping sides while also coordinating jumps together as they passed in the middle of the stage. Singer Brent Smith delivered a soaring vocal performance while also taking a moment to address the crowd, urging everyone to meet their surrounding audience members. This has been done before, but with the current state of affairs and political climate, the timing couldn’t have been better.
With the crowd pumped up and ready for more, Five Finger Death Punch hit the stage the way that only they can. I’ve been lucky enough to see them several times over the years from the opening act in small venues to big festivals and headlining large arena tours and their show just keeps getting better.
Chris Kael on bass fires guitar picks into the crowd during the whole set rarely missing his intended target while also hamming it up constantly for the photographers in attendance. Guitarists Jason Hook and Zoltan Bathory do the same, trading places constantly and always playing up to the crowd. Jeremy Spencer is a joy to watch. I only wish he was more visible as he’s generally high up on a riser at the back of the stage. Vocalist Ivan Moody delivered a solid vocal performance. The singer also took time out for the younger audience members in attendance, at one point stopping the show to pass a water bottle to a distressed young fan, then having security take him to the side stage area to watch the remainder from there. I imagine that boy had the time of his life watching F.F.D.P tear through their biggest hits including “Lift Me Up”, “Burn MF”, “Remember Everything”, “Under And Over It”, and Bad Company cover, “Bad Company”.
Rochester was treated to a great night of live music. If this tour comes to a town near you, go and check it out, you won’t be disappointed.