Shadows Fall and Five Finger Death Punch, Oslo, Nov 9, 2009

By Andrea Chirulescu

I went to this concert after having listened to Five finger… (to be referenced as FFDP). But they have some soft songs there so I was prepared for a chill on the sofa atmosphere since I had no idea about the openers and was busy why hearing them. I only recalled the photo of the singer who had huge dreadlocks. Indeed, he had them. When he was spinning his head, the guitarists had to hide in the corners of the stage so they don't get hit. I wonder if he managed to play the cymbals with them.

Their sound check was funny since they didn't use the classical '1,2 testing' for the mic check, but some phrase related to guys genitalia. Wish I remembered it. But the great surprise started with the first sound of the concert. The americans proved why they have earned two previous Grammy awards for best metal performance. It was the kind of show that didn't allow you to stand still. You had to headbang. Jump. Or at least legbang, fingertap. Do something on the rhythm. My small complain was that the sound of the vocals' microphone seemed low, yet there was a big plus for the clean drum sound (not 'empty bucket' like). Brian Fair, the lead singer, didn't look like the most sober man on earth but if that helped him put that show up, who cares. He was climbing on the monitors in front of the stage to shake people hands and to get them to sing. He was air drumming and guitaring. He introduced each member of the band. And speaking of guitaring, I was surprised how nice they managed to include the fat and speedy guitar riffs in the thrashy sound of the rest of the songs. From the playlist, I can recall that they played 'Still I rise' (a song that starts as if someone has a shotgun), 'What drives the weak' and 'A public execution' (I recall the latter due the lyrics that were exactly what I needed to scream at that point and he got everyone to yell them out).

Soundcheck break, beers, comments etc. The singer from FFDP comes on stage just to announce that one of their guitarists (Zoltan) fell sick and was taken to hospital so he asked the crowd if we wanted them to perform without one or come back some other time. The consensus of the participants was they should perform. So they asked for a few more minutes then they came back on the stage to rock as Four finger death punch (same initials afterall). Yey, luckily the myspace music was pretty misleading. They indeed had cheesy parts in their songs but it wasn't all a never ending ballad. And a wow for the vocalist. He did his job well and he also was a great showman since he didn't only say the name of the next songs and the usual attempt to cheer in the locals language. He told the crowd that Norwegian women are beautiful (or the most beautiful, but I don't know if I agree with him). He also asked if Norwegians are the most depressed people in the world and then said something like 'Yea, you have 16 hours of dark, 4 hours of daylight then 8 more hours of dark. Gimme a razor'. Then something about the fact that america sucks and when the crowd cheered loudly for that, he said he agrees. And for the comeback, one of the guitarists went like 'yey, I'm alone on the stage. I never get to talk to the crowd. And now we're gonna play one more song'. Plus getting the girls to scream (followed by some meows) and then the guys followed by a loud growl, to which he replied 'vikings'. And he mocked the true metal.

So despite the lack of the rhythm guitar, they put together a damn good performance with the front part of John Dee juping most of the time. Actually the people even managed some moshpits in that tiny place. Too bad for those standing in the back who sort of looked like statues who were immune to the singer's attempt to get them to react. From the songs performed I guess I can't go wrong with the names since they only have 2 albums and they had a bit over an hour show. So there was Ashes, Meet the monster, the bleeding, way of the fist, Bad company.

And now I need to get back to work. Cheers and fuckitall