You wanted Halloween in June… well, you got it
Photos by Jeff Hahne
The humid Carolina air did not put a damper on the countless fans, including myself, who lined the sidewalk in front of The Fillmore Charlotte Friday evening. It was like a flashback from 2005, and memories of my first pair of tripp pants and black lipstick came flooding back as we patiently waited to be admitted for one of our most anticipated shows of the month. Vimic, Motionless in White, and, of course, In This Moment.
With a sold out show and a packed to the brim venue, I finally made it inside at the end of Vimic’s set. I was fortunate enough, however to catch the final song of their act. The Iowa based metal band consisting of vocalist Kalen Chase, guitarist Jed Simon, guitarist Steve Marshall, bassist Kyle Konkiel, Matt Tarach on the keyboard, and drummer Joey Jordison finished their set with the track “She See Everything,” which followed a quick drum solo by Jordison as vocalist Chase jumped from that stage and into the crowd for a few minutes of surfing action.
Now I will be the first to admit, I have never listened to Motionless in White, and I had no idea what to expect of their set. Roadies began setting up and I noticed the elaborate stage design which honestly took me by surprise. Huge masses of candles were adorned on top of amps, Jack O’ Lanterns were scattered around, including the kick drum of drummer Angelo Parente which adorned yet another Jack O’ Lantern worthy of a Tim Burton film.
During MIW’s setup, I chatted with my fellow concert goers and found out the woman behind me was at her first metal show. Her husband, a metal veteran from Texas, was explaining to her pit etiquette, and what to expect from crowd surfers. Then the lights went out.
The sound of a Fox movie about to play filled the venue and the excitement in the air went from a six to a thirteen. MIW opened their set with the track “LOUD” as a stage dancer began to fly a flag with the band’s initials on it, just like in the official music video. The track “Rats” off of MIW’s latest album entitled Graveyard Shift was the second song of the set, and fans screamed along with vocalist Chris Motionless as bassist Devin ‘Ghost’ Sola, who is known for his elaborate costumes on stage, moved around dressed as Dracula from 1958.
As the fourth song of the evening “Devil’s Night” began to blare through the speakers, vocalist Chris yelled into the audience, “No one here today wakes up without a bang over tomorrow.” As you can imagine this is when the crowd really began to move. Crowd surfers were coming over in droves and my battle buddy was hanging tightly onto me and her husband. Taking a quick breather Chris began to tell us how they recently came back to the states from touring Europe and they could not be happier to be back home. Chants of USA filled the air as the the track “America” began to play.
The next track that was played took me completely off guard as I heard the familiar guitar riff of System of a Downs “Chop Suey.” Fans began singing at the top of their lungs to the familiar tune, moshing and crowd surfing whenever the pace of the song picked up. “This song goes out to all the ladies!” Chris announced as “Dead as Fuck” began to play over the shrill sounds of feminine screams.
The final track of MIW’s set was taken from their fourth studio album of the same name, “Reincarnate”. Motionless in White thanked the countless fans who had taken time out of their busy lives to see them and after a few quick waves left the stage. As the house lights came on my battle buddy turned to me and said “I feel like I’m in a religious cult. Those fans did everything the singer said without blinking an eye!”
A treat for the crowd of the venue took the stage next as the burlesque act Little Miss Nasty from LA, showed off what their mama’s gave them to tracks by Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Pantera, and Korn. When Little Miss Nasty finished their memorable set, a white curtain was raised in front of the stage as the headliner of the evening readied the stage for a show everyone was sure to never forget.
In This Moment began to subtly make their presence known by making shadow signals on the other side of the curtain, hyping the already excited fans up even more. Female fans began to climb on the shoulders of their male counterparts to get a better look at the stage as the house lights once again went off and the sound of a thunderstorm filled everyone’s ears. In true In This Moment fashion, vocalist Maria Brink, along with two dancers known as the Blood Girls, took the stage that now resembled a graveyard found in a bayou in Louisiana. “Blood” was the opening track for In This Moment’s set, to the pleasure of the fans pushing the barricade closer. Keeping up with this idea, Maria graciously “drank” from a goblet offered to her by the Blood Girls as the first song of the set ended.
Have you ever felt the spirit of Halloween surround you in the middle of the summer? That’s exactly the vibe The Fillmore Charlotte felt last night as the third track of In This Moments set began to pan out. “Witching Hour” off of their new album Ritual began with Maria and her Blood Girls gathered around a green smoking cauldron with words of “double double, toil and trouble” filling the venue.
Taking a quick breather and surrounded by her brothers, Maria began to thank the audience from the bottom of her heart for coming out to see them. “You could have been anywhere tonight, but you chose to come to this show. We all came together even though we have different beliefs, religions, and opinions. We unite, scream, and cry together in the name of music.”
Introductions were then made of the group. Singling out each member individually, Maria first introduced guitarist Chris Howorth, who originally formed the band back in 2005. Maria then climbed up on the drum riser to introduce drummer Kent Diimmel, who joined the group last year. Next we were introduced to rhythm guitarist Randy Weitzel, and finally bassist Travis Johnson. The second Johnson is introduced a familiar riff and drumbeat began to play. You would think it would be a ITM track but we got a pleasant surprise!
The boys time to shine quickly unfolded into a medley of Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Creeping Death.” Recognition fell upon the fans who gave up moshing for those few precious moments and instead went with a good old fashion headbang. Hair was flying around like a sale on cuts at a barber shop as the guys in In This Moment paid homage to one of the world’s most legendary rock and metal artists. The old school metal heads in the crowd chanted along “die, die, die…” during the bridge to “Creeping Death.” This mashup was followed shortly by a memorable drum solo as In This Moment was joined on stage by a special guest.
Chris Motionless took the stage as a wedding march off of an old vinyl began to play. Maria soon joined the stage once more to stand in front of Chris as the two began to sing yet another new track off of Ritual, “Black Wedding.” Chris got down on one knee in front of Maria to profess his love as the song continued. All too soon our favorite MIW vocalist took a quick bow and returned back stage.
A cover track that has officially been added to the new album was played next as Maria took center stage and began to sing a haunting rendition of “In the Air Tonight” originally performed by Phil Collins. Although Brinks does not scream like she did on the group’s first album Beautiful Tragedy, there is no denying that the metal goddess has an extraordinary voice. The last track of the evening began to play shortly after the end of “In the Air Tonight.” The second track off the new album entitled “Oh Lord” began with a bluesy feel not expected of In This Moment. Maria and the Blood Girls began to put on a show with lit orbs, hypnotizing the crowd with one final performance.
Surprisingly, the venue began to thin out during the performance of “Oh Lord.” The individuals who left missed out on an outrageous encore performance as Maria dawned her famous white whore hat and stood behind a podium. “I’ll be your whore. I’ll be whatever you need me to be,” Maria tells the audience as huge red, white, and black balloons filled the venue while fans continued to rock out to the music of In This Moment along with a game of balloon volleyball.
The evening concluded with the members of ITM taking center stage and once again thanking the audience for attending the show. Taking a bow, the group then began to throw little mementos out into the crowd. Maria took one last look into the thinning crowd and noticed a young girl around the age of seven sitting on her dad’s shoulders waving her down. Maria gave the girl a white rose and blew her a kiss before heading backstage on the arms of her brothers.