May 20, 2015 In This Moment magical at The Paramount Huntington, NY 5-14-15 w/ Butcher Babies, Upon a Burning Body, & The Nearly Deads
With the ever evolving genre of Heavy Metal, creative doors have been opening to many artists to build their musical landscape. Traditionally, men have ruled the microphone, axe, sticks, and bass in this scene, however, women have left their mark on the scene in a bold way throughout history. Women know how to rock, grab the microphone, dominate a show, and to fill a crowd with fearless as well as ruthless vocals. That is where a band like In This Moment come into the picture. Formed in 2005, the band nearly came to a crashing end when a third of their members called it quits, leaving vocalist Maria Brink and lead guitarist Chris Howorth deciding whether to pack up shop or face a daunting road of reassembling. They rose above it all, and not only reassembled, but reinvented their sound and image. Bringing in guitarist Randy Weitzel, bassist Travis Johnson, and drummer Tom Hane, they released their most successful album in 2012, Blood. Touring relentlessly, the band went from opening act to headliner within no time after the release and launched the band into Metal super-stardom.
The road to success did not stop with Blood, and in 2014 they followed up with their blistering new album Black Widow via new label Atlantic Records. Marking their highest charted album to date, In This Moment began their Spring 2015 headlining tour on April 17th and just a short hour away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, on Thursday May 14th, they arrived at The Paramount in Huntington Village. Bringing along Alternative Rockers from Nashville Tennessee, The Nearly Deads, as well as the brutal warriors from San Antonio, Texas, Upon a Burning Body, and finally the energetic leaders from Los Angeles, Butcher Babies, this was a dynamic lineup ready to explode. No stranger to the confines of The Paramount, this would be In This Moment’s first return to the venue since early 2014’s The Hellpop Tour II, evoking fans to come out in hordes, dressed up as black widows, and waiting in suspense for the visionary masterminds to take the stage.
Opening the evening was the undead act, The Nearly Deads. Forming originally in Tampa, Florida back in 2010, the band relocated to Nashville three years later and released their well-received debut album Invisible Tonight in 2014. Impressing the music scene by combining Alternative and Grunge music in a unique fashion, The Nearly Deads are neither a Pop, Rock, nor Punk act, but an energetic mix of all the styles, blended into one . They reawakened all from playing in major festivals such as VANS Warped Tour and Journeys Backyard BBQ, along with acts such as Halestorm and All-American Rejects. Consisting of Theresa Jeane (vocals/keyboards), Steven Tobi (lead guitar), Kevin Koelsch (bass), Javier Garza Jr. (rhythm guitar), and Josh Perrone (drums), they mastered the stage while the crowd began to grow. Pumping up the night with tracks like “Fact & Friction” off of their 2011 Survival Guide EP, enticed the audience, especially with Jeane’s rockin’ vocals. Their instrumentation really kicked off a Garbage-esque Alternative vibe during tracks like “I Said” and “Invisible Tonight.” Praised for the music video that brought them great exposure, the zombie-themed “Never Look Back,” was a highlighted moment of the night as they rounded out their set. Hopefully The Nearly Deads will come around again soon, as they are an exciting band the Alternative scene needs.
As the lights in the venue were low, the floor was crowded with ruthless fans eager to see Upon A Burning Body. Formed in 2005, these ferocious souls consist of, Danny Leal (vocals), Sal Dominguez (guitar), Ruben Alvarez (guitar), Rey Martinez (bass) and Tito Felix (drums). Continuing to support their third studio album, The World is My Enemy Now (2013), their heavy groove provoked the crowd that night opening with “Red Razor Wrists” and “Scars.” Leal reigned on stage and ripped in front of the audience, who moshed in delight. Taking control of the chaos, Leal demanded that all hands and fists to be raised into the air, along with circle pits to form. Honoring all metalheads, they went into “Pledge Your Allegiance” and “Middle Finger to the World” as fists remained elevated high while Felix aggressively slammed his kit. The robust sound continued during tracks such as “Mimic,” “Bring the Rain” and “The New Breed.” That is when the back to back dosage from their second studio album, 2012’s Red. White. Green, began with the reckless “Sin City” and the fan-favorite “Texas Blood Money. ”
Enjoying the Long Islander crowd, Upon a Burning Body ended the evening with the DJ Snake cover of “Turn Down For What.” Fun to hear a dance track transformed into Metal, Upon a Burning Body pulled it off quite well. Thankful for the positive response, Leal offered to meet anyone who approached at the Merchandise table in the rear. Upon a Burning Body will be in Europe after they conclude this North American run in their home state of Texas, on May 27th, at the Bell County Expo Center, so do not miss their pummeling form of Metal.
Next up was the Los Angeles based band, Butcher Babies. Come together in 2010, and honoring Wendy O. Williams from the Metal-Punk band Plasmatics, many are unaware that the name Butcher Babies came from the song “Butcher Baby” off of the Plasmatics 1980 debut album, New Hope for the Wretched. Passionate lovers of Metal music, band leaders Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey, along with bassist Jason Klein, guitarist Henry Flury, as well as drummer Chris Warner have worked hard to develop their own sound which has Thrash Metal roots and incorporates modern Metalcore. Touring non-stop since the release of their 2013 debut full-length album, Goliath, via Century Media Records, Butcher Babies also have made stops at The Paramount in the past and were welcomed back with open arms.
Teasing the crowd with their “Yippee ki oh, ki yay” intro, the band walked on the stage and Metal erupted shortly after with a brand new song with an unknown title, which appeared to have a positive reaction. The crowd enjoyed this fresh tune and it was a great taste of what was next to come. Keeping on top with the roaring track of “The Mirror Never Lies,” Shepherd ran into the crowd for all to sing along, while Harvey vigorously headbanged. Moving along, Shepherd and Harvey’s energy was flawless, and when “Goliath” came on, it led the crowd to lose their minds. Next up from their 2014 EP, Uncovered, was the ZZ Top cover of “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers.” Shepherd engaged the crowd and made sure everyone would either raise their Beer or Hell during this fun tune. “Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine” thunderously came in next with Warner’s charismatic energy on the drums and the grunts that Harvey is most famous for, bewitching the entire room. Shepherd then announced “Mr. Slowdeath,” which had the entire band headbang in complete unison. Flury shredded on guitar and Klein plowed away on the bass, seizing the moment as a special one.
Moving on to another new and unreleased track, “Monsters’ Ball,” the band confessed it was written for the fans, which had everyone singing along. The Osmonds cover of “Crazy Horses” came on and had Shepherd and Flury moving around on the stage while Harvey growled out her chords. Shepherd’s abrasive screams mixed with Harvey’s gut-wrenching tone, puts them in a class of their own, and this was exemplified during “They’re Coming to Take Me Away,” before closing their set with “Magnolia Blvd.” It was a headbanging grand finale where everyone was fully satisfied. The introduction of new songs was a delightful change-up for fans who have religiously seen Butcher Babies each time they have come around. Their style continues to emerge with a soon to be released second studio album.
After a short break, it was time for the main attraction In This Moment. Anyone who has seen the band before know that their music comes to life at a heightened level during their live performance. Filled with theatrical costumes, clarified lighting, and a dark, eerie atmosphere, it is what a Rock show is made of.
Seductively opening with “The Infection” captivated the crowd with their magic as they moved into the glamorously heavy track “Sick Like Me.” Star struck, in awe, and losing a sense of reality due to being caught in the web of “Black Widow,” fire erupted while dancers holding syringes moved in the backdrop, and Brink swayed with her massive vocals. A quick costume change followed, where Brink dazzled all with her top hat and tuxedo jacket, playing the crowd favorite “Adrenalize.” The theatrics only grew heavier and stronger when “Sex Metal Barbie” began. Between the deathly plastic mask on Brink’s face to the flawless vocals behind it, it was a sing-along enjoyment for all. Keeping the energy flowing, the room grew darker as a black cape covered Brink on the hauntingly blue lit stage. Marking a turning point in the set, “Burn” fueled the gears to turn and even the dancers embraced Brink. Heavy and irresistible, the track had Brink heavily dancing along while Howorth, Weitzel, Johnson, and Hane handled the instrumentals. Dressing the room in darkness once again, everyone waited before the emotional “The Fighter” lifted off. This was a special acoustic version where Brink’s vocals echoed across the room. Keeping with the emotion, a surprise instrumental tribute to the fallen heroes in memory of the late Cliff Burton of Metallica, Jeff Hanneman of Slayer, and Dimebag Darrell of Pantera overwhelmed the crowd. Hearing clips from infamous songs such as “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Angel of Death” and “Cowboys From Hell,” was a pleasant treat, as well as a magical moment before a throbbing drum solo from Hane.
Moving towards the end of the night, the dramatic “Big Bad Wolf” creeped into an explosion of headbang bliss. Then, after being caged in, Brink broke out of those chains, ready to sing the lyrics to the self-empowering hit “Whore.” It was a magnificent ending, however, there was still a yearning for more. Brink asked the crowd if they wanted to hear one more and told them to chant, “We want blood!” over and over again until the alarm set off, and “Blood” ignited, wrapping up an evening on a heavy and remarkable close out.
Between their musicianship to the stunning imagery and theatrical acts, In This Moment prove to be one of a kind. Brink reminds all to rise above their weaknesses and to find strength within themselves. In This Moment will embark on a Summer trek with 36 Crazyfists and Defiled joining them. This is a show no one should miss, In This Moment will no doubt adrenalized some more fun.