By: Pete Troshak
The Hellpop Tour featuring All Hail The Yeti, Butcher Babies and headliners In This Moment rocked an enthusiastic full house at the legendary Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia on Friday night. In This Moment have survived nine years together, delivering four albums of their unique mix of theater and metal. The group underwent multiple lineup changes until finding the right mix in 2011 with it’s current lineup. Led by original members Maria Brink (vocals) and Chris Howarth (Lead guitar), the band has sold over two-hundred thousand copies of their current release, Blood. The album has just been re-released with a bonus disc of a visually stunning concert film of In This Moment in concert called Blood At The Orpheum. The band has played on the Ozzfest, Warped Tour, Mayhem Fest and The Carnival of Madness Tours but is on their biggest headlining tour in Hellpop.
The surprise of the night was a great set by under the radar metal group All Hail The Yeti. Singer Connor Garrity sang the first few songs of their set in a wizard costume (robe, pointy hat, fake white beard and all) claiming the band was actually called “Sleeve of Wizard” (a reference to Borat.) The dark orange banners that spelled out the initials of the band’s name – A H T Y – and the mic stands decorated with the (probably fake) bones and pelts of animals gave the band’s true identity away. Their self-titled first album sounds like a swampy and doom-filled trip through a dark southern-fried wasteland populated by serial killers, vengeful spirits and samples from the overlooked horror movie Session 9. They recreated that mood live, delivering an impressive short set of tracks from their debut built on a combination of skull-crushing precise riffs, building shaking bass and the passionate shotgun-full-of-gravel vocal blasts of Garrity’s voice. Their performance left the crowd wanting more and wondering why this band wasn’t more widely known.
Next up was the pounding rhythms, massive riffs and furious anger of Butcher Babies. The group is fronted by the dynamic duo of Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey who look like angels but roar like pissed-off heavy metal devils. Backed by a tight three piece ghoulishly made-up band Shepherd and Harvey stormed the stage. They headbanged and wailed impressively through a half hour of loud Slipknot-like metal mostly drawn from their excellent current album Goliath. Shepherd and Harvey were a blur, bouncing around the stage and engaging the crowd with their infectious energy and commanding stage presence. The duo finished their set while in the crowd, fist pumping and singing with the audience.
In This Moment’s stage setup included a foreboding looking brass gate, a small mountain of rubble in the middle of the stage with hands and eerie faces sticking out of it and a ton of fog. Red, blue, green and white lights flashed for a few minutes before the stage went dark. When the lights came up again Brink was standing atop the rubble, hands on her hips staring out into the crowd smiling. In This Moment kicked off their twelve song set with the primal drumming and stuttering riffs of “Adrenalize Me.” Soon after was an amps on 11 version of “Blazin’” during which Brink wailed while shooting plumes of white smoke out at the audience using a huge firehose. During the set Brink was flanked by two raven haired and tattooed dancers wearing white expressionless masks. Behind them drummer Tom Hane cranked out powerful rhythms while looking caged in by the brass gates. Lead guitarist Howarth slashed out burning leads and riffs all night while stalking from one side of the stage to the other. Rhythm guitarist Randy Weitzel and bass player Travis Johnson lurched around behind Brink, delivering a solid musical foundation while dressed like nightmarish bikers.
Brink made frequent costume changes, but did them so quickly that her disappearances were barely noticeable. Some of the costumes included a red hat wearing band Majorette, a nurse and an angry megaphone toting schoolgirl. During “Burn” she was a tied up witch or saint in white robes and restraints, by the end of the song she was free of her restraints and holding a huge, billowing red cape behind her. The music was on par with the powerful imagery of the bands show. The band delivered a sexy, slithering cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” and a memorable, redemptive version of their best early song “Prayers.” One of the biggest highlights was a mid-set moment of beauty in “Into The Light.” Brink leaned forward on a chair alone atop of the rubble bathed in stunning blue light to deliver the stunning version of the ballad about love and death. The best moment came as the encore, when the band delivered a loud and powerful “Blood.” While her band delivered razor sharp staggering riffs, Brink sang and screeched ferociously. She urging the crowd to clap, wave and scream along one last time before the song and show ended in one final explosion of lights and sound.
In This Moment setlist:
Rise with Me
Into the Light
(Nine Inch Nails cover)
The Gun Show
Prayers / Next Life
Daddy’s Falling Angel