July 10, 2017 In This Moment Tear Up Lancaster, PA 7-3-17 w/ Motionless in White, Vimic, & Little Miss Nasty
In This Moment’s Half God Half Devil Tour goes above and beyond to create a package that is visually arresting, artistically provocative, and so damned heavy you are guaranteed a bang-over! Now into its second leg, Lancaster, Pennsylvania – normally known for Amish bonnets and horse-drawn buggies – played host to these delicious festivities on Monday, July 3, 2017. What a way to celebrate A-M-E-R-I-C-A!
Presented by Downtown Lancaster’s Chameleon Club, the evening’s events actually took place several streets over at the much larger capacity Freedom Hall. A 5,000-capacity venue, Freedom Hall was much better-suited to the full-scale theatrics of the Half God Half Devil Tour; with the pageantry and artistry on display, bigger absolutely meant better! In This Moment brought the drama with Pennsy’s own Motionless In White, as well as Joey Jordison’s Vimic and the sassy Little Miss Nasty.
Getting the night started was Little Miss Nasty, a group of four young women who bill themselves as “Rock N’ Roll Burlesque.” In truth, what they do – while most definitely sensual performance art – is not true burlesque: instead, this is more like a Pussycat Dolls who prance around the stage to Classic Rock and Metal offerings; not the fine art of burlesque but definitely Rock N’ Roll! Hailing from the City of Angels, these lovely ladies flaunt a multitude of feisty personas: from The Badass to The Foxy Vixen and, everyone’s favorite, The Good Girl Gone Bad.
Introducing their brand of stilettos and leather to Lancaster, Little Miss Nasty – Nichole Weber, Gina Katon, Tarin Pratt, and Luiza Comsa – took to the Freedom Hall stage to open the evening’s festivities. Their opening set was a celebration of being the naughtiest, sexiest schoolgirls possible. The ladies shook their sassy hips to the sounds of the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right (To Party),” Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name,” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In the Wall.” The crowd seemed to especially love original track – from Katon’s own Gina and the Eastern Block – “Sippin’ On A Forty,” a blend of Metal, Hip Hop, and alcohol.
Vimic – Jordison, Vocalist Kalen Chase Musmecci, Guitarists Jed Simon and Steve Marshall, Bassist Kyle Konkiel, and Keyboardist Matt Tarach – took to the stage following the naughty cavalcade that is Little Miss Nasty; an interesting segue but a segue nonetheless. As Jordison climbed behind his drum kit, the crowd went into celebratory cheers. Heavy Metal is indeed alive and well here in sleepy Pennsylvania, folks! With their seething stomp in full-force, Vimic launched into songs off their highly-anticipated debut, Open Your Omen.
The sextet opened to the screams of “Parasite Persona,” immediately setting the tone for the evening. Brand new single, the infectiously pulverizing “She Sees Everything,” served to show off the stellar background vocals of Keyboardist Tarach, and is a stomping, raging affair that got heads banging.
Metal horns waved for “Empty Handed” and “Beautiful Mistake,” continuing the band’s heavy assault on Lancaster. Musmecci – a former backup singer for KoRn – is a dynamic front-man, prowling across the stage with his silver-bullet microphone in a pin-striped suit, growling like the embodiment of pure power and evil. His white mane flailed on the battle cry of “My Fate,” one of the band’s less heavy offerings and yet still a rager full of frenetic energy. The crowd devoured the rage and the animalistic growl of closing number “Simple Skeletons,” wanton for more. While Vimic’s set was short – due to their opening slot – they were quick to conquer new fans and bring blistering Metal to the Red Rose City.
Motionless In White – Chris “Motionless” Cerulli (Vocals), Ricky “Horror” Olson (Guitar), Ryan Sitkowski (Guitar), Devin “Ghost” Sola (Bass), and Vinny Mauro (Drums) – were met with explosive applause and cheers as they took the stage. Wasting no time in starting the spooky party, the band launched into the anthemic “Loud (Fuck It),” with middle-fingers waving throughout the crowd. Immediately turning toward the more lurid side, the band referenced their newest release, the phenomenal Graveyard Shift, with the darkly sensual romp that is “Rats.” Always a crowd favorite, “Devil’s Night” – from 2012’s Infamous – is a call-to-arms for the hopeless legions floundering in a world of disgusting hypocrisy. Like much of Motionless In White’s work, it is angry, it is bitter, and it seethes: the Lancaster crowd loved every second of this cathartic release!
There could not have been a better way to kick-off Independence Day 2017 than with the band’s hit single, “America.” Chris – a known member of the Straight Edge community – paused to discuss the impending holiday with the crowd, urging them to enjoy their celebratory libations but to stay safe. Inviting fans to sing-along on the track’s spelling lesson, “A-M-E-R-I-C-A” would quickly become the rallying call for Fourth of July. To keep the party going strong, the band stepped outside of their own catalogue to offer a glorious cover of System of a Down’s “Chop Suey.” Chris’ vocals absolutely soared as he led the crowd in a sing-along that was one of the evening’s clear highlights.
Newest single “Eternally Yours” is the quintessential Motionless In White track: blistering heaviness alongside beautiful melodies, all tainted with a dark black lacquer that is entirely Gothic. Fans were ecstatic to hear the band tackle the track as the set sadly began to wind down to a close. With only two songs left, the audience was in dire need of a clear education in MIW theatrics: and it is all about the visuals, baby. On the light-hearted “Dead As Fuck,” the band were clear to tell a story that is all tongue-in-cheek (no, they are not really necrophiliacs!) but offers the opportunity for some witty on-stage antics. Joined by dynamic performer Kylie Devyn – clad in an MIW cheerleader’s uniform, complete with pom-poms and pigtails – Chris and the boys offer up something that is decidedly lacking in today’s Heavy Metal: humor.
They ended their all-too-short set on a high note with crowd favorite, “Reincarnate,” off their ground-breaking album of the same name. One particular audience member, of about five years in age, was brought onstage to join Chris in an impromptu headbanging session, and the little guy played his role with pizzazz. Leaving the stage to make way for Little Miss Nasty’s second set, Motionless In White had clearly won over Lancaster and made her their bitch!
The headliner, none other than In This Moment, a band that defy all categorizations. These highly beloved headliners began their ascent to fame in 2005, when Vocalist Maria Brink and Guitarist Chris Howorth combined their irrefutable talents to create the now-legendary Metal outfit. From their debut album, 2007’s Beautiful Tragedy, to the upcoming Ritual, the band have shown a steady evolution from simple Metalcore quintet to a genre-bending, mind-blowing experience that is entirely undefinable.
In This Moment – Vocalist Brink, Guitarists Howorth and Randy Weitzel, Bassist Travis Johnson, and Drummer Kent Diimmel – brought their special brand of creative chaos to Lancaster in honor of freedom and Independence Day. As a white curtain fell before the audience, the band took the stage to the haunting echoes of “Blood.” The crowd favorite received a deliciously dark treatment that flowed beautifully into new track “River of Fire.” For “Adrenalize,” Brink and her Blood Girls moved together to create a beautiful shadow dance, arising from the mist like sirens on the prowl. Not wasting a moment, “Burn” saw Brink brandish massive silken wings, continuing her witch’s spell, seducing the assembled masses to the dark side. A key component of In This Moment’s stage presence are the visuals: the end result is a performance that is something out of a gorgeously-artistic fine-art photo-shoot.
She might be known for her vicious screams – and the ability to take anything a man can do and do it a thousand times better – but Brink shows her emotional depth and sensitivity when she dials it down a notch, coming to center-stage along with a keyboard set amongst flowing white silks to perform the ballad “Lay Your Gun Down,” off upcoming Ritual. To keep the intimate moment alive, she donned an illuminated crown – giving the appearance of an angel in a Christmas pageant – to perform a beautifully minimalist rendition of Phil Collins’ classic, “In the Air Tonight,” which will also appear on the new disc. A third new track – and Ritual’s first single – “Oh Lord” brought to life the band’s newest video, complete with glowing white orbs and gorgeous flowing robes.
Taking a moment to shine the spotlight on her well-deserving bandmates, Brink introduces each of the boys before disappearing offstage and giving the band a chance to shine. During their monster jam session, Howorth, Weitzel, and Johnson worked the crowd into a frenzy as they moved about the stage. The tension and excitement built throughout the venue, all culminating in one truly superb “Black Wedding.” Brink joined forces with Motionless In White’s Chris Motionless to perform the duet, which, on Ritual, will co-star the legendary Rob Halford. The performance in Lancaster, however, was fraught with astounding charisma as Maria and Chris fed off each other’s boundless talent and energy, displaying for all what it is like when two supernovas collide musically.
Gigantic butcher knives, leather, fringe, and one fierce smoke gun came out to play for “Black Widow,” driving the Pennsy crowd into a frenzy. In a randy display of her unending Girl Power, Brink even led Weitzel across the stage on a leash. The seductive “Sick Like Me” kept the sensual vibe thick, preparing the crowd for the end. The gigantic send-off that is mega-hit “Whore” sees Maria standing behind a pulpit, preaching to the audience about a world full of hate and discord. The moment feels oddly surreal, a bit ecclesiastic, and yet it is clear to see why her beloved Blood Legion refer to Brink as “Mother Maria.” As balloons rained from the rafters and the experience came to a close, it is abundantly obvious as to why In This Moment are unstoppable in a dying industry.
In this world, we all possess our own talents, and a select group of highly-talented artists belong on a stage; their charisma and artistry bring something special into a world that is truly lacking in love, light, creativity, and sincerity. In This Moment and Motionless In White are two of these talented entities, groups that think outside the cage and create live shows that are truly transcendent experiences. If you have a chance to see either band live, absolutely do; and if you have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Half God Half Devil Tour before it winds to a close in early August, you would be stupid to miss it!