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In This Moment 08-06-2012

In This Moment
Sokol Underground
Omaha, Nebraska
Blood Summer Tour
August 6th, 2012

It has been just over five years since In This Moment had graced the stage of Sokol Underground and so many of us were eagerly anticipating another brilliant show. The band’s debut in Omaha had happened during Kittie’s Funeral For Yesterday tour with Walls of Jericho back in 2007 and I for one was wondering how much the band had grown since those days so long ago. I remember talking to Maria about how much she had looked to Walls of Jericho lead singer Candace Kucsulain for inspiration on how to maintain a physically healthy touring life-style.
Since that time, Brink and In This Moment have toured the world and played in front of crowds whose size would make me shutter with stage freight. Thankfully, In This Moment were no stanger to the stage and no one doubted that this would be the best metal show Omaha had seen all year.
After nearly 3 hours of thrash and grunge metal from the opening bands, the screaming fans were getting restless. Brink’s trademark microphone stand, and base, comprised of a mound of skulls, were placed on the stage as the band’s banners flagged either side of Hane’s drumkit.
It was nearing 11 o’clock when the venue’s doors opened and a figure was escorted down the stairs into Sokol Underground. Gasps and whispers erupted from the room.
Walking through an anxious crowd as they cheered their approval, our Rock Goddess, Maria Brink entered the underground wearing a sheer white hooded cloak. Her head was tilted down, face covered by the hood like a pagan goddess being ushered to the alter for worship. Following closely in line was the band. Tonight would be the first time that many of us were seeing this current incarnation of In This Moment. While lead guitarist Chris Howorth had started the band with our Rock Goddess, Maria Brink, back in 2005, the addition of drummer Tom Hane, bass player Travis Johnson and rhythm guitarist Randy Weizel happened during the band’s 2010/2011 touring cycles.Brink’s pristine appearance was in stark contrast to the post apocalyptic feel of the guys’. While Brink was clad in crisp, clean white, Howarth, Hane, Johnson and Weizel were covered in soot and ash, their faces streaked with bolts of black.
As soon as the band retreated to their dressing room, the lights dimmed and the harmonic chorus of Rise With Me began to soothe the seething masses. Hane was the first to take the stage, seating himself behind his kit and shortly followed by Weizel, Howorth and Johnson. The screams of approval from the crowd were nearly deafening. The evening’s main course was soon to be served.
Brink took her place atop the pile of skulls, shrouded in her cloak, her voice purring the lyrics to Rise With Me, the opening track from the band’s soon to be released BLOOD album. A black top hat, emblazed with a grinning skull and crossbones, sat perched on her head and a smile crossed her lips. The shadows cast by the boys danced across the crowd. As the stage lights burst to life, we could see she was also wearing the same style of mask that the Phantom of the Opera had worn as he terrorized his beloved. If there were any doubts about the theatrics associated with tonight’s music, after seeing this simple disguise, those doubts were quickly forgotten. Tonight Omaha would be rocked to it’s core.
As Weizel and Johnson began pacing their side of the stage, Brink gave a slight nod to the crowd and Howorth struck the opening chords of Adrenalize. Brink gripped her mic stand and began head banging in unison with her band. Brink’s long blond hair began to flutter in the slight breeze. Her voice was ethereal and, coupled with the sinister visage of the band, gave a glimpse of what it must be like to see an Angel perform at the Gates of Hell while being backed by a troupe of Demons. My favorite track off of their BLOOD release, Adrenalize was the perfect track to open with as it gripped the crowd instantly. Being a new track that very few of the crowd was familiar with, the reaction was beyond intense. The moshing and bouncing started as soon as the band’s headbanging did.
Blazin followed and the crowd blessed the band by singing every word back to the stage. The constant thumping of feet shook the floor and vibrated the walls of the Underground.
As the lights dimmed, Brink took a quick moment to introduce another new song by simply saying, “This song is called Whore.” Brink swapped her top hat for a Red Cross emergency cap and produced two policeman’s batons, waving them at the crowd as she screamed, “You probably thought I wouldn’t get this far. You thought I’d end up in the back of a car. You probably thought that I’d never escape.” This was the anthem that so many of us wanted to hear and the wake up call that so many of us who never thought we’d be good enough for anything so desperately needed. “I can be your whore,” Brink screamed during the song’s chorus and heralded more thrashing from the crowd.

Iron Army followed and the crowd picked up the pace after hearing a track that was familiar to them. Brink still waving around the batons and conducting the seething masses to a near frenzy.
While the boys took a short breather, Maria introduced the next track, Beautiful Tragedy, a song Brink admitted was “written about never feeling like I was good enough for anything.” I thought to myself, ‘How could this young woman, who has inspired so many of us, ever feel like she wasn’t good enough’? Brink continued with, “never, ever, let anyone tell you you’re worthless.” Words to live by for sure. Beautiful Tragedy was also the only track that was played off of the band’s debut release and, sadly, we would find out that nothing from the band’s sophomore release would make it into tonight’s set.
The stage was bathed in sinister crimson hues as the fans were treated to Standing Alone and Just Drive. Despair filled music was married to the haunting vocals of each track giving the feel of Heaven and Hell colliding on stage. The further into tonight’s journey that the band lead us the deeper we fell in love all over again with their music. Tonight’s show reminded us why the heavy metal genre is no longer dominated by the harsh male vocals.
A short interlude after Just Drive gave the crowd just enough time for a brief break to collect our senses and enough time for bass and guitars to be switched out.
“This next song,” Maria urged to the crowd, “is our favorite track we’ve written off of the new album. We’re very proud of it.” Brink then asked for everyone to take out their cellphones and lighters and wave them in the air. A sea of shimmering lights danced in front of the stage as the band played Burn and continued to paint the most beautiful and brutal sonic landscape I’ve ever witnessed. “Set me on fire and watch me burn,” Brink purred to the crowd as Weizel, Howorth and Johnson thrashed about.
Brink then exited the stage and allowed the guys to showcase their own amazing musical talents. Written on the setlist as “Face Melting Solos”, Hane was the first to impress us with a gutsy drum solo. Weizel, Howorth and Johnson again joined Hane on stage and the guys teased the room with, of all songs, Eye of the Tiger and it was more than enough to get the crowd bouncing once again.
Towards the end of the guy’s Face Melting Solo, Maria walked back on stage, this time wearing a jeweled policeman’s cap. By this time I made my way to the front of the crowd and found a place in front of Johnson and Weizel. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a concert and found myself wanting to braze the brutality of the pit for the chance to witness the show up close and personal. Maria then took this chance to introduce the band and thank the fans for sharing the evening with the band.
Then it was time to get back to business. “This is Blood,” Brink informed the screaming masses and the thrashing began once again. A circle pit opened in front of the stage and I swear I could see Howorth grinning from ear to ear at the sight of dozens of moshing fans.
Maria’s choreography for the night had evolved perfectly from that of a puppet on tangled strings to that of a woman who had finally been set free to be whom she was always meant to be. Perfection of voice, mind and body reigned during the show. Tonight’s performance was not about where In This Moment had been but where the future would be taking them and showcased newer material. Tracks from Blood mixed perfectly with those from A Star Crossed Wasteland. Brink’s voice was crystal clear during the more harmonic tracks, then flipped like a light switch to the more brutally intense, gutteral screams and growls.
Thanking the crowd once again, the band exited the stage. This was not what the crowd wanted though. Chants of “One more song” and “Gun Show” began almost as soon as the band left eyesight. We were begging and pleading for another reason to escape the reality of the life’s harsh lessons and thankfully In This Moment were listening.
From behind the stage, Brink asked, “Do you want another song?” Our screams weren’t loud enough though. “You’re going to have to do better than that,” she informed us. And we did do better. Air raid sirens began to sound, heralding the beginning of the end for tonight’s show. Gun Show was the track that the fans were most familiar with and had been waiting the entire night for. Another circle pit opened on the floor and the band was feeding off of the crowd’s energy for one last time.
As the band walked off the stage for a final time tonight, guitar picks and drum sticks were tossed off stage and landed in the hands of a few lucky fans. Maria took the time to grasp the outstretched hands of those of us lucky enough to be within arm’s reach and thanked us again for joining them.
In This Moment has once again proved they’ve earned their place int he music industry and Omaha awaits their return.

Setlist;
Rise With Me
Adrenalize
Blazin
Whore
Iron Army
Beautiful Tragedy
Standing Alone
Just Drive
Burn
Blood

Encore;
Gun Show

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