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Hellpop Tour; In This Moment, Motionless In White, Kyng, All Hail the Yeti 11-20-2013

Hellpop Tour 2013
November 20th, 2013
Sokol Auditorium
In This Moment, Motionless In White, Kyng, All Hail the Yeti

It had been just around a year since the last
time In This Moment had played in Omaha but, with the excitement level of the fans waiting for Sokol Auditorium’s doors to open, it felt like we were
welcoming back loving friends who’d been away for even longer. The Nebraska
weather was starting to shift to the winter temperature but eager fans started
lining up well before noon on the day of the show. By 6:30pm, the line had
snaked down the block and finally around the corner. Fans bounced in line, some from the excitement and others to keep the blood circulating to their cold feet.

By the time All Hail The Yeti started their set, only about half of those
attending tonight’s sold out show had made it into the venue but All Hail The
Yeti played with the same energy one would expect from a band performing at a
sold out arena concert. All Hail the Yeti’s healthy dose of heavy metal was
just want the chilly crowd needed to warm them up. Normally I’m not a fan of
the trash style of heavy metal but All Hail the Yeti’s unique brand of dirty
southern rock was the perfect way to open the Hellpop Tour. The crowd, the vast
majority of whom had never heard of All Hail the Yeti before, were head banging
just as much as the band members were. The band did a fantastic job pumping the
crowd during their half hour set. Doing a little research, I can find next to
knowing on this new band other than they’d previously toured with Escape the
Fate and Hollywood Undead. Having a room full of people that had never heard of
this band before didn’t stop anyone from taking full advantage of the band’s
intense sound. By the time the third song had begun, a circle pit was forming
in the crowd. The guttural growls and screams from the lead singer meshed
perfectly with the band’s dirty southern rock style. The band’s morbid stage
dressings served well to enhance the feel of their dark music. The band’s
bassist, wearing a classic Native American poncho, played behind a mic stand
adorned with a cow’s skull. An alligator head, mouth agape, and various animal
pelts hung from the guitarist’s mic stand. The drummer was purely a maniac,
beating cymbals and snares like a trailer park father expresses his love to his
wife. It’s great to see a band for the first time and witness the acceptance
and love from a crowd who’s also seeing the band for the first time. Screams
and cheers erupted throughout the band’s set. All Hail the Yeti is thrash
metal at its finest and did an amazing job building the energy confined in
Sokol Auditorium to a breaking point. By the time the band has exited the stage
and started greeting all the new fans they’d made, the line of people still
waiting to get into the venue was still wrapped around the block.

Los Angeles trio Kyng were the next to take the stage. Another band that few of
the fans attending tonight’s stop of the Hellpop Tour were familiar with, the
moshing masses approved of Kyng’s style of head-banging-hair-metal but the
thrashing and crowd surfing was a bit more intense during All Hail The Yeti’s
set. Playing double duty, Kyng’s lead singer/guitarist spent portions of each
song thrashing about the stage. The music was laced with a good portion of
guitar solos and the band took full advantage of those vocal breaks to head
bang along with the crowd. While most of the crowd did get physical during the
first half of Kyng’s set, it wasn’t until the band’s cover of Van Halen’s Hot
For Teacher that the crowd surfing began. I think that for most people, seeing
a band live for the first time and being new to the music, most of the focus is
spent of the audio aspects of the band’s set but it’s when the band covers a
familiar song that the new fans can really cut loose in the crowd. By the time
Kyng started Hot For Teacher, the majority of Sokol’s floor was packed and it
was a crowded standing-room-only in the balcony. During the band’s last song of
their set, the lead singer snapped a few guitar strings, telling the crowd that
he’d “smash it on stage later.” Overall, while I enjoyed All Hail the
Yeti’s music more, Kyng’s style of music fit great into the Hellpop Tour and
the band did an amazing job keeping the crowd’s attention and building on the
energy of the evening.

Making my way back to the front of the auditorium, the room was buzzing about
Motionless In White’s set. I’d never heard of the band before but was intrigued
to see their live show. By the time the clock had struck 8:30, the auditorium
was packed and people were noticeably getting antsy for the show to continue.
The crowd started bouncing during the band’s sound check and didn’t skip a beat
when the lights went out for a third time this evening. The auditorium erupted
in cheers and screams and we could barely hear the theme from Halloween that
introduced the band over the excitement that had built in the auditorium. Opening
with Synthetic Love, Motionless In White wasted no time hammering the fans into
a frenzy. My first impression of the band was their outfits. Each member
dressed in black, and coated with a layer of baby powder to enhance to visuals.
It’s the first time I recall ever smelling a band, and odd that that smell was
of fresh and clean baby powder. Motionless In White’s music has a definite
industrial vibe. My initial thought about the band’s music was that they had
the appearance of Misfits meets Marilyn Manson, (lead singer and founder Chris
Motionless was wearing a Misfits t-shirt under his stubbed leather jacket),
while the band’s sound was an amalgamation of KMFDM and Dope meets Slipknot
with a hint of Rammstein, Disturbed and The Birthday Massacre thrown in for
good measure. The band’s video for America was even directed by Clown, one of
Slipknot’s founding members, M.Shawn Crahan, while half of the band’s Infamous
release was produced by former KMFDM and Marilyn Manson member Tim Skold.

For so many people attending a concert featuring a band that they’ve never
heard before, it’s the band’s visuals that first grab a hold of them. Seeing
Motionless In White’s bassist, Devin “Ghost” Sola, start out their
set wearing a veiled back mourning bonnet was my clincher. I was hooked. Sola’s
stage presence seemed to be inspired by an early Twiggy Ramirez’s stage antics.
There was instant approval from the crowd. While the few thousand people
attending tonight’s show seemed to hold back during Kyng and All Hail the Yeti,
all Hell broke loose during Motionless In White’s set. Lead singer Chris
Motionless needed to clarify something though early on during the band’s set.
Pausing to address the sold out crowd, Motionless wanted to assure the fans of
what they’d expected from tonight’s show. “For those of you who look
confused; yes, we are a band and yes, you are at a metal show.” The fans
responded with another round of moshing, thrashing and crowd surfing.

Motionless worked the stage like a pro, directing the crowd like a ringmaster
and owning the venue during the band’s time on stage. While it may have been
the band’s appearance that first caught the fan’s attention, it was their
intense music that kept that attention and shift the energy into a nuclear
level. During Devil’s Night, Sola pulled a familiar concert stunt on stage,
taking a gulp of water and spraying a mouthful all over a small section of the
crowd, myself included before joining guitarist Ryan Sitkowski in synchronized
thrash bouncing. Everyone watching the show cold clearly tell that the six
member of Motionless In White loves their job and are having fun every night
they get to play. The Omaha crowd also marked the first time ever that the
fan girls in the crowd flashed the band. “Just don’t tell our mom’s,”
Motionless joked. During the band’s cover of Danzig’s Mother, a circle pit
opened on the floor. While I expected it to be a group of angry guys throwing
each other around, at closer inspection, it was the girls in the crowd that had
opened the pit and were beating the guys at their own game. After the initial
shock of being body slammed by more than a few girls, the guys eventually took
back the reign of pit boss though. Taking a short break after Infamous, the
title track from the band’s latest release, the theme song from AMC’s The
Walking Dead bled into a brutal rendition of Puppets 2 (The Rain). After asking
the fans to scream out their pent up frustrations, Motionless then addressed
the crowd again. “I just want to record you, Omaha, and fall asleep to you
at night.”

The crowd went ballistic during America. Motionless thrust his mic into the
crowd several times, once at a fan crowd surfing, letting us scream the track’s
chorus. The circle pit that had opened during Mother only gained intensity
through the closing notes of America. Motionless In White made more than a few
new fans tonight and hopefully will return soon to pummel us again.

Having seen three amazing bands for this tour’s line up, time seemed to fly by
but it was nearly time for In This Moment’s set. Elaborate stage dressings were
set up. In This Moment knows how to use the perfect mixture of visuals and
music to create one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Co-founder and lead
singer, Maria Brink, will once again be placed high on mound of discarded and
bleach white mannequin pieces. Ten blank faces will be staring into the crowd,
while half a dozen cracked hands reach up to the stage. Rod Iron cemetery gates
placed are placed behind the mannequin mound and pikes stacked high with skulls
are set on either side of the mound. Long before set up is even finished, the
stage is flooded with fog. The bleak mood has been set.

Ten years ago, this show would have never been possible. Only one other female
fronted rock band has sold out Sokol Auditorium, Halestorm, and In This Moment
opened for that show. In This Moment have proven themselves as true Rock Gods
and Goddess, and now it’s time for Brink and her boys to shine during their own
headlining set. It’s a true accomplishment for a band that has toured almost
non-stop since first forming and proves that the band’s fans love the band as
much as the band loves their fans.

As the lights dimmed and the stage glowed with an eerie blue tint while Rise
With Me played, the Blood Girls were the first to make their way onto the
stage. The screams and cheers of the band exceeded any level reached before for
the opening bands. This was the moment so many of us had been waiting all night
for. The thunderous beats of Adrenalize make it the perfect opening song for
the band’s set. Drummer Tom Hane cut loose the moment he sat down behind his
kit. Brink danced with the two girls during Adrenalize and Blazin while
co-founder Chris Howorth thrashed on stage right. From the moment Brink took
the stage, dressed in a tight red captain’s jacket and white lingerie, she was
instantly in control of the crowd. The Blood Girls strutting around their area
of the stage, dancing around Brink and flirting with the crowd. This being the
6th time I’ve seen In This Moment live, I knew that we were in for a great live
show but having the Blood Girls on stage served to enhance the urgency and dark
undertones of the band’s music. The sexual tone of In This Moment’s music was
exceeded during Beast Within. The track is sultry and Brink’s crisp vocals and
swaying hips prove that she’s earned the title of Hottest Chick In Metal.
There’s also a threatening aspect to the band. Bassist Travis Johnson and
Guitarist Randy Weitzel, while two of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, give
the impression that they could hold their own in the mosh pits that their music
creates.

Continuing with the intensity of Beast Within, Brink introduced the next song,
Burn, as being about the whole reason the band is making music. The stage was
bathed in blood red light. The Blood Girls were at Brink’s feet as she Brink
raised a red cloak high about herself, the fabric blowing in the breeze caused
by the stage fans. Brink’s outfit, meshed with the dark image of her band mates,
greatly enhanced the visuals of each track. You could tell that the band put a
lot of thought into how their music would influence their music. After the last
note of Burn, the lights dimmed again and a stage hand placed a chair with a
white sheet draped over it onto center stage. Brink then appeared on stage,
solo, sat down on the chair and performed an incredibly beautiful rendition of
Into The Light. The piano driven ballad was a perfect fit in the set, proving
that the band isn’t all about the intense heavy metal of their genre. In This
Moment isn’t just a one trick pony.

After a short break to catch our breath, the Blood Girls marched on stage. Each
wore a military grade helmet and carried a rifle. It was time for the gun show
to start. While Brink head banged with the heavy hitting beats, Weitzel and
Johnson each stepped to the front of the stage, demanding the crowd’s attention
and pushing the limits of the mosh pit that had once again sprung up in the
middle of the auditorium. As Brink swayed seductively to during The Gun Show’s
chorus, the Blood Girls danced and marched, using their rifles like stripper
poles. In This Moment brought their A Game to this tour. It’s great to see a
band who’s willing to use a phenomenal stage show to accentuate their music and
not just head bang during their entire set. Having seen the band live numerous
times before, it’s truly inspiring to see how much their live show has evolved
since the first time I saw them open for Kitty on the small Sokol Underground
stage. Granted, the band’s intensity on stage is just as exhilarating now as it
was all those years ago but you can tell that Brink and Howorth have grown as
artists.

As the lights went out again and fog rolled across the stage, the chair was
once again placed on center stage. Brink made her way back to her post, this
time wearing a wide brimmed hat and black corset. She placed herself gingerly
on the chair as the female stage hand walked up to her holding a glass of wine
and a handful of grapes. The stage hand then fed Brink the grapes as Brink
lounged back in the chair and took a sip of the wine. The stage was again
flooded with red lights as the opening chords of Closer began. Having an
auditorium full of fans of metal music, it was no surprise that the room burst
to life as soon as they realized which track was being played. While the song
itself is dirty, In This Moment’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Closer is throbbing
with sexuality. Brink let the Blood Girls dance around her during the first
half of the song. The sexual tension produced on stage was tangible the entire
evening but had reached a peak during Closer, almost to the point of sensory
overload. I’ve been to a lot of concerts, nearly 300 by my count, and I can
think of only three other bands who have the same level of intensity as In This
Moment’s stage show; Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. And Brink
isn’t one of those artists who just stands on stage and sings while the band
plays behind her, her energy is just as brilliant as the fan’s moshing in the
pit is.

Giving Brink time for a short break, Hane got the chance to dazzle the crowd
with a thunderous drum solo and was then joined on stage by Howorth, Weitzel
and Johnson. The four guys jammed for the fans for close to five minutes before
Brink made her way back to the stage and introduced the band, each granted
applause from the crowd. Brink then asked if we’d like to hear something older
off of the band’s first album. “Would you guys like to hear the heaviest
track off of Beautiful Tragedy?” No one in the crowd objected as the band
cut into Prayers. Brink then decided that Prayers might not be the heaviest
track off of the album and apologized for the err, “Maybe that’s not the
heaviest. How about something different?” The crowd was pleased to hear
Next Life. Having released four full length albums during their career, I can
only imagine how difficult it is to pick and choose which tracks are played on
stage, thankfully In This Moment realizes that their fans also appreciate the
band’s older tracks.

The stage lights dimmed again. The chatter of the crowd was broken by high
pitch air raid sirens. Brink and the Blood Girls walked back on stage as
Howorth strummed the opening chords of Whore. Brink, wearing a white dunce cap
emblazon with WHORE in big red letter, took her place on a stool, the Blood
Girls each sitting beside her with their heads hung low. Whore has been a fan
favorite since the release of the Blood album and a requirement for In This
Moment’s live set and gives the women in the crowd a chance to take over the
pits. It’s great to see the more fair sex to cut loose and get just as
aggressive as the testosterone driven guys. Brink wielded a yard stick during
Whore, whipping it back and forth, thrusting it forward, using it to accentuate
key lyrics of the song. While Weitzel, Johnson and Howorth thrashed on stage,
Brink, still sitting on the stool, swayed like a marionette on broken strings.
Whore is an anthem for anyone who’s ever been in an abusive relationship or
who’s ever felt like they weren’t good enough to be happy and let me be the
first to say that there’s nothing more glorious than hearing a few thousand
people screaming “I can be your whore.” Closing the anthem, Brink
removed the dunce cap and threw it into the crowd.

As the song came to a close, Brink thanked the crowd for joining them this
evening and quietly walked off stage, soon joined by the rest of the band. But
the fans were far from done for the evening.

Brink, hearing the screams and pleas for the band to continue their set, took
to the microphone, asking “What do you want, Omaha?” The crowd
screamed in unison, replying “BLOOD!” That’s right, Omaha was out for
Blood and In This Moment was going to give it to us.

The air raid sirens burst to life again as the band took the stage for the
final time that night. The stage hands armed the fog cannons and the Blood
Girls danced. Brink, conducted the crowd like a ringmaster. It was a thrill to
see the entire auditorium bouncing while chanting “Blood, blood, blood
pumped through my veins.” But Brink wasn’t done tempting us. As the fog
cannons burst to life whenever Brink screamed Blood, the crowd continued to
surge to life, not wavering for a second. The fans energy level remained high
during the entire show, and the band fed off of our energy.

Brink closed the show imparting her words of wisdom. “You’re all here for
a reason. Whether it’s to enjoy the show, or for a while to just forget about
the shitty week you had. You were all strangers when you walked through those doors. You passed each other on the streets and had no clue who each other was before tonight. But now we’re all family. That’s what the Hellpop Tour is all about. I hope you all had a great time!” Of course we all had a great
time. You can tell when a band is on stage to earn a paycheck and when a band
is on stage to put on a great show and prove that you spent your hard earned
money wisely. Tonight’s stop on the Hellpop tour was worth the wait, and it’s a
night that we will all remember for a long time. That is, until the next time
In This Moment comes

 

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