Five Finger Death Punch welcomes Irvine to the circus

Welcome to the circus, motherfuckers! Five Finger Death Punch, Megadeth, Th HU and Fire From The Gods came to Five Point Amphitheater in Irvine CA on a lovely SoCal evening for an outside concert! Unfortunately, we were outside the venue for Fire From The Gods and The HU, due to credentials issues, but we’ll still catch Fire From The Gods at Blue Ridge Rock Festival in just a couple weeks! 

Since we were outside for the first couple bands, we got to watch the sea of fans filter in.

I love seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces and even catching partial conversations with setlist predictions. We could hear the classic HU chant from the gates; if you’ve never seen them, they are quite mesmerizing! Here’s a little bit of history on them (because I think they are just one of the most interesting bands): the band is made up of eight guys that combine rock music with traditional Mongolian instrumentation, like the Morin Khuur (horsehead fiddle), Tovshuur (Mongolian guitar), Tumur Khuur (jaw harp) and Mongolian throat singing (“khoomei”). Their music sounds so ancient and that’s because they’ve been building their style on a sound that’s been around for thousands of years! The name, The HU, is the Mongolian root word for human beings and they call their style “Hunnu Rock”, inspired by the Hunnu — an ancient Mongolian empire known as The Huns in western culture. Some of the band’s lyrics include old Mongolian war cries and poetry. I seriously love this blend of metal and tradition! We got in right as they were taking their bows and a photo which was a bummer, but hopefully we’ll get to see them again sometime soon!

With the health battles Dave Mustaine has endured, it’s pretty amazing to still be able to see Megadeth perform live! Fun little story: when my mom (Heather) was on Megacruise three years ago, she went on this 5k run/walk with Kiko L and Luc Carl (a host of Sirius XM radio). She was walking off the ship with Kiko and they were talking about kids and said her daughter (me) played drums and guitar. Of course, he asked if I liked Megadeth. She couldn’t lie though and said, “…she doesn’t like Megadeth.” Things have changed since then and I actually am a fan of theirs now! I was on the rail and directly in front of Kiko, ironically! At the end of the show he gave me his wristband! Their encore was a little delayed, which may have been the coolest part of the show; Mustaine saw a kid — maybe 5 years old —  in the crowd and had him come up onstage. He let the kid touch his guitar, gave him some picks and his wristbands! He apologized for the delay of the encore and said “just keeping metal alive”! Mustaine thanked the parents of the kid for having him wear ear protection. He then said to all of us, “I adore each and everyone of you, even though you’re assholes.” 

They proceeded to close out their set with “Holy Wars”!

The last time we saw Five Finger Death Punch was at Blue Ridge last year. Some things were said on 9/11 that made us leave their set early and sort of turned us off of the band for a while. It was sad because Five Finger was one of my favorite bands growing up, but this show definitely redeemed them for me! After a few songs, Ivan Moody asked us how much water cost. “$5? Bullshit! Hold on!” He had his crew bring a case of water and handed water to all the fans in the pit. Ivan talked about when they were in Europe for a month and a half and how good it was to see other countries’ perspectives on America. He said, “The one thing we all have in common is that we’re all Bad Company” and went straight into their cover of “Bad Company”. Ivan said one of the things that keeps him grounded is his kids; it happened to be his daughter Nova’s 10th birthday! He brought her onstage and we all sang happy birthday to her and he surprised her with balloons and cake! She took the mic to say something about her dad. He may be a rockstar to us, but he’s dad to her. I’m not crying, you’re crying!

After that, they slowed it down for a bit by singing the chorus/opening verses of “Far From Home”, “Gone Away” and “A Little Bit Off” before playing the whole song of “Wrong Side of Heaven, Righteous Side of Hell”. If you’ve ever seen Five Finger before, you know they have insane fire pyro during “Burn MF”, but tonight there wasn’t any! Ivan explained later why there wasn’t any… but, we won’t get into those reasons for “legal purposes”.

During “The Bleeding”, Ivan Moody always has a baseball bat that he gives to a fan who survived addictions or is now sober. This time, though, he gave the bat to his daughter as a birthday gift! “The Bleeding” is one of my favorite Five Finger songs; it’s always amazing to hear it live, because you can really feel the pain and emotion from not only the band, but the crowd, as well. After they finished their set, they threw so much shit into the crowd… from T-shirts to picks to even the chains Ivan was wearing on his pants! Ivan actually handed me a pack of his Moody’s Medicinals, which was so insane! This tour runs until October 15th, so be sure to catch it if it comes to a town near you!

Photography by Heather Vandemark; Recap by Kaiya Vandemark

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