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Brantley Gilbert, Five Finger Death Punch play Alerus Center

The evening was an unlikely mix of today's Nashville-influenced country music and the metal rock, mosh-pit-inducing style of Five Finger Death Punch.

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Ivan Moody, lead singer of the band Five Finger Death Punch, leans toward the crowd during the band's performance on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
Toryn Jones/Alerus Center
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GRAND FORKS — The unlikely alliance of a heavy metal band and a country star drew thousands to the Alerus Center on Friday.

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Toryn Jones/Alerus Center
Country music artist Brantley Gilbert performs on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

Country artist Brantley Gilbert this year has teamed up with Five Finger Death Punch for a fall/winter tour that started Nov. 9 in Michigan and is set to conclude next week in Las Vegas.

Both performed a full set on Friday, but they also joined for their cover version of "Blue on Black." The song was a hit when it first debuted in the 1990s, performed by the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, but it's seeing new life with the rocked-up version from Gilbert/Five Finger Death Punch. They collaborated on a studio version of the song, along with Shepherd and Queen guitarist Brian May, in 2019. On Friday, Gilbert joined Five Finger Death Punch on stage for the song, stirring the crowd. They also noted proceeds for the song are directed to the Gary Sinise Foundation in support of first-responders.

As for the rest of the evening, it was an unlikely mix of today's Nashville-influenced country music — Gilbert's set was country by definition but obviously tinged with rock influences — and the metal rock, mosh-pit-inducing style of Five Finger Death Punch. Gilbert's stage included a large video screen in the background that played clips as he performed; Five Finger Death Punch's stage was backed by a massive mural of a snake curled into an infinity sign.

Both Gilbert and Five Finger Death Punch singer Ivan Moody mentioned the contrast during their performances.

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Gilbert grew up in Georgia before heading to Nashville as a singer-songwriter. He has a number of popular hits and won the American Music Award for Favorite Country Album with “Just As I Am” in 2014. His hits include the Country Music Association’s Awards Song of the Year nominee “Dirt Road Anthem” and RIAA five-time platinum-certified “Bottoms Up."

Five Finger Death Punch formed in Las Vegas in 2005 and also has a number of hits. The band released seven consecutive albums that were certified gold or platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and in 2014 and 2015, was name Best Live Band and Artist of the Year, respectively, at the SiriusXM Octane Music Awards.

Related Topics: MUSICALERUS CENTER
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