The Black Widow Tour
November 29th, 2014
7 Flags Event Center
Des Moines, Iowa
3 Pill Morning, Twelve Foot Ninja, Starset, In This Moment
On brisk fall day in the middle of Iowa, the Black Widow was poised to strike at the hearts of the Blood Legion. The thriving masses began lining up around noon outside of the 7 Flags Event Center, eager for the chance to be one of the first in line and secure their spot against the coveted barricade. The determination of the fans oftens pays off. Showing up so early for tonight’s show, the dedicated few were honored by the chance to hear In This Moment’s soundcheck; Sick Like Me, Big Bad Wolf and Dirty Pretty. Patience paid off again as one by one each of the band members playing tonight took the time to talk with the fans, sign autographs and take photos. Each of the bands on the Black Widow tour knows how much their fans appreciate the opportunity to express our gratitude for their music, and for the opportunity to see the bands on stage.
It wasn’t long though before the line into the venue wrapped around the parking lot. People exchanged stories of how the music effected their lives, took photos to post in Instagram and Facebook to prove to their friends that they were about to become one with the show, and shiver with anticipation at the impending rock show.
The crowd may have been a wide mixture of demographics but tonight we would all enjoy the show as one family. Tonight was also local rock station KAZR’s Rock Girl Pagaent. Every year, KAZR hosts the pagaent to pick the next face of rock in Des Moines. The contestants walked among the crowd, greeting the fans and posing for photos. Voting had yet to be tallied but, by the time doors opened, the fan favorites had already been picked. Before the end of the night, the pagaent contestants would prance around the stage in bathing suites, and show off their best evening wear before finally announcing KAZR’s 2015 Rock Girl.
Minneapolis’ 3 Pill Morning would be the first to take the stage. The band’s unique brand of rock was perfect to prime the crowd and set the tone for the evening. Being from the midwest, 3 Pill Morning has enough of a fanbase that the crowds of their regional shows are scattered with more than a few fans who sing along with the band. While vocalis Jeff paces around the stage orchestrating the crowd, bassist Riplee and guitarist Aaron feed off of the crowd’s energy and project into their stage show. Drummer Trent, who’ve I’ve heard numerous times referred to as “Hey hot drummer”, is like a caged animal behind his drumkit.
Australian’s Twelve Foot Ninja are no stanger to the stage, but this would mark the band’s debut in Des Moines. Playing to a crowd full of fans who’ve never seen you live before can be difficult. The Australian quintet does put on a great live show though and kept the fans amped up.
Currently the most talked about rock band in the country, Starset were also tonight’s most anticipated performance and the band was going to raise the bar already set by 3 Pill Morning and Twelve Foot Ninja. This would be the first time that many of the band’s Iowa fans would being seeing Starset live and the band had a few surprises for their live set.
What began in the early hours of New Years Day 2013, as a mysterious signal emanating from a star within the Ophiuchus Constellation has evolved into the band we know today. Starset’s live demonstrations now include the addition of a cellist into the band and two HD LCD screens displaying images of the cosmos and various clips from the band’s videos. The visuals of the band’s live show; the LCD screens, Vocalist Dustin Bate’s transparent DJ touch screen, the space suites and neon ble helmuts, and the illuminated drumkit, enhance the music.
Seeing bassist Ron DeChant and guitaris Brock Richards thrash around the stage as drummer Adam “Drum Abuse” Gilbert live up to his nickname pushed the crowd over the edge. Bates paced around the stage like a caged tiger ready to pounce and conducted the crowd on more than one sing-along. It was brilliant to see the fans singing along to each of Starset’s songs and and devouring the energy that the band was producing. Bates took the time to announce a milestone for the band, today marked the first anniversary of the band.
Loudwire.com named Telescope the 10th best rock song of 2014, and it was during Telescope and Halo that the crowd, holding cellphones and lighters high, looked like a glowing starfield. The newest addition to Starset’s line-up, Mariko, was even given a chance to shine as her cello solo brought forth screams and cheers from the crowd. The cinematic rock that Starset has become known for lived up to every expectation the crowd had. This was never more apparent than the voices of a few thousand fans united as one singing My Demons, the first song to introduce the world to Starset. Several times during the band’s set, the voices of the crowd nearly drown out Bates’ own vocals.
It’s because of live performances such as Starset’s demonstration that true rock shows still exist. The band knows that in order to put on a great live show, the has to be visual aspects to it as well. Ignorance is slavery, and knowledge is power. Starset have the longevity that will continue to educate and set us free for years to come.
First Light (intro)
Rise and Fall
Down With the Fallen
The Future Is Now
The crowd was given a short time to gather their thoughts and catch their breath as Starset tore down their set and the Black Widow curtain was lowered in front of the stage. The fans proved they still had enough energy in them for In This Moment’s set. When the house lights darkened, Maria Brink’s voice beconed us to prepare ourselves and not just witness the show but to become a part of the show.
The Infection heralded the return of In This Moment to Des Moines. All hell broke lose when the curtain fell and Brink and the Blood Girls danced around the stage for Sick Like Me. Drummer Tom Hane, thrashed around his corner of the stage. Founder and guitarist Chris Howorth shredded on his side of the stage and bassist Travis Johnson and guitarist Randy Weitzel teased the crowd from stage left.
Brink fired a smoke gun into the air during Black Widow as the stage was bathed in brilliant light. Costume changes for Brink and the Blood Girls during the set kept the crowd attention and hightened the urgency and authentic metal music of each song, but it was Brink, wearing a pagaent sash and standing behind a podeum during Sex Metal Barbie that got the best reaction from the crowd early on in their set.
In This Moment have perfected their stage show for the Black Widow Tour. As the Blood Girls knelt at her feet, Brink waved her massive cloak in the air and beconed the crowd to set their hearts on fire during Burn. Brink sat solo, center stage, and dazzled like a diamond as she softly sang Into the Light.
Brink then took the time to address the crowd. “This is where we thank you. You could have chosen to be anywhere but you chose to celebrate with us. We’re all strangers. As one we unite in the name of music. In This Moment fans don’t just come out to the show, they are the show.”
As Brink departed the stage, it was the guys’ turn to show the fans how much they could rock. Thrashing around the stage, the guys hammered through instrumental renditions of Metallica’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, the crowd providing the vocals. Hane was then given the chance to shine as his thunderous drum solo echoed throughout the auditorium and bled seemlessly in Big Bad Wolf. It was great to see so many people in the crowd dancing along with Brink to the band’s latest single. Brink thrashed around the wolf cage, as the Blood Girls, wearing wolf masked, taunted her and the crowd.
After a set change, and the intro to Natural Born Sinner, Brink stepped on stage wearing the her altered Catholic School Girl uniform and dunce cap emblazened with 5 red letters and addressed the crowd. “This song is in the name of anyone who’s ever been publicly humiliated. It’s about taking something dirty and hateful and turning it into something powerful and liberating,” she told the crowd. Their reaction was loud and instant.
“So if in some small way I can turn hate into love then tonight ladies and gentleman I will be your whore,” she continued. The crowd screamed their gratitude. “Know your path. Follow your heart. Never be afraid.”
Whore was the song that everyone had been waiting all night to hear, and all their lives to sing. The track has become an anthem of unity for so many of us and it was an honor to have witnessed a thousand voices singing every word.
After another short set break, Brink noticed a young girl in the audience. Her motherly instincts then took over. Addressing the young girl’s mom, Brink told her that she “should cover her ears during the next song. Probably her eyes too.” This got a chuckle out of the fans. Brink then picked one lucky fan to get “infected” and join them on the stage. Jamie, a fan who traveled from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was escorted to the Big Bad Wolf cage and instructed to dance around during the band’s next song, their cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Closer. Blood Girl Bianca sat on a chair and Brink gave her a lapdance while singing the sexually charged song. After Bianca left the stage,, Brink climbed up the massive webbing backdrop, dangling from the web as she screamed the song’s final verse.
The band ended their hour and a half set with title track off of their 4th album, Blood, and gave the fans one last chance to cut lose for the night. “You could have picked to be anywhere tonight,” Brink told the crowd, “but you chose to be here with us and we love you for that.”
Sick like me
Sex metal barbie
Into the light
Big bad wolf
Whore w/ Natural Born Sinner intro
“The crowd responses are overwhelming and perfect, so we’re super grateful. It used to just be they’d clap and they’re happy and that’s it at the end of the song, where now they’re like screaming with everything they have and some people are crying and it’s definitely going to a brand new level, for sure, that we’ve never had before.” – Maria Brink