Pop & Hiss

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CMJ: Five Finger Death Punch and the Broken West

October 24, 2008 |  6:11 pm


Ivan Moody, the lead singer of Los Angeles' Five Finger Death Punch, with his muscle shirt, tattoos and mohawk, gives off the mixed-up vibe of a martial arts cage fighter who really cares about his fans. “If you don't want to get hurt, now is the time to get" out of here, he said to one extremely aggressive, metal-loving crowd at last night's CMJ showcase at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza.

He commanded the crowd near the stage to form a circle and kindly warned the women near the front (of which there were quite a few in that ocean of testosterone) that this mosh pit could get vicious.


Summoning the spirit of Dimebag Darrell and accompanied by Matt Snell on bass and guitarist Darrell Roberts, Moody's primal wailing grabbed the audience by the throat with “White Knuckles,” a melodic yet steel-toed thrashing ode to inner demons.

Moody, also known as “Ghost” began this crowd-enthralling set with “Ashes,” and by the following song, he was already giving fist-bumps to crowd-surfers, crashing down near the stage.

Talking directly to the N.Y. audience, Moody showed himself a formidable frontman, never lacking for a snickering comment about the New York Giants, or a moment of silence for fallen U.S. soldiers. His charisma wasn't lost in all the brutal pushing, shoving and crowd surfing -- that was all in a night's fun for those who needed a litte heavy metal to get things off their chest.


Making another impression on the CMJ crowd, but of a different rock variety, was the sunny pop of the Broken West. Lead singer Ross Flournoy's melodic vocals made up for any early sound troubles at the Red Bull Space in Soho.

The L.A. power pop quintet was also dealing with some substitutions while drummer Rob McCorkindale was out with a broken arm. Bassist Brian Whelan stood in impressively on drums, supplying effective and powerful (thus the “power” in power pop) rhythm on songs such as “Down in the Valley” and “Perfect Games.”

Though some in the crowd were more apt to check their BlackBerry messages or take drinks from the open bar, it didn't take long for the band to establish themselves with the tiny crowd.

Hair perpetually in his eyes, Flournoy charmed with his tender lyrics on “Gwen, Now and Then,” and the more upbeat but alas lovelorn “On the Bubble.”

The group, signed to Merge Records (home to Arcade Fire), makes a stop at Spaceland on Nov. 7.

--Post and bottom two photos by Camilo Smith

Top photo by Sarah Dope