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In This Moment, Motionless In White, Vimic, Little Miss Nasty 07/12/2017

Half God/Half Devil Tour
July 12th, 2017
U.S. Cellular Center
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
In This Moment, Motionless In White, Vimic, Little Miss Nasty

It’s nothing new to have someone ask me why I would travel so far to a concert. Why wouldn’t I though? Isn’t that was fans do? A 5 hour drive to see some of my favorite bands is nothing new, especially when those bands put on the most amazing live shows I’ve ever experienced. It also helps that I have a special history with tonight’s venue. I’m getting ahead of myself though.
It’s always great to come back home. My first concert experience was at the U.S. Cellular Center, then known as the 5 Seasons Center, back in 1995. I was a terrified 17 year old watching crucified clowns being lowered from the stage ceiling for White Zombie’s Astro Creep 2000 tour. Since then I’ve seen dozens of bands grace the arena stage. Marilyn Manson. Slipknot (twice). System of a Down. Rammstein. Ozzy. Disturbed. Flyleaf. The list goes on and on. Finally getting the chance to see In This Moment at one of my fondest venues was an experience I’ve waiting nearly a decade for, it felt like everything had come full circle.
Originally scheduled for the McGrath Amphitheater, weather and an extreme heat index forced the Cedar Rapids, Iowa stop of the Half God/Half Devil tour to change its venue the U.S. Cellular Center just a few days before the concert. Ticketmaster had sent out the “change of venue” email, but that left the majority of us having to rely on social media to get our information for any time changes. Hearing live music as I walked up to the main doors, I knew I was late.  While the change of venue was marked, nothing was noted about the doors being pushed up from 7pm to 5:30pm. Showing up around 6:45pm and thinking I was early, I had missed Little Miss Nasty’s initial performance, and half of Vimic’s set.
Even though their name is new, you’ve probably heard of Vimic’s members and seen many of them on stage with their other bands before. Vimic was formed out of Scar the Martyr, and is the current band of former Slipknot founder and drummer Joey Jordison. I can’t tell you why Jordison didn’t just continue as Scar the Martyr, a band that I’ve seen numerous times, but I’m glad these guys have decided to continue making music. Vimic’s set, at least the back half of it, was loud. Being relatively unknown, it didn’t matter to the fans packed into the U.S. Cellular Center. Vimic thrashed the crowd hard, reminding several thousand fans that, despite the rumors, metal music is not dead.
After a brief set change, the stage lights went dark, harkening the introduction of Motionless In White. It had been a long 3 years since MiW have played an Iowa venue, and we were ready. Like so many other fans, this band holds a special place in my heart. Tonight would be my 7th time seeing them since 2013’s Hellpop Tour when they also opened for In This Moment. Even though the band gets very little airplay from the local rock stations, MiW have risen in popularity thanks in part to their extensive touring schedule. While tonight’s show was the first time the band has played Cedar Rapids, they’ve toured heavily throughout Iowa and the midwest in the past decade.
Opening with the appropriately title Loud (Fuck It), it took a few minutes for the crowd to fully get into MiW’s set. The band’s brutal sound and strategic light show pushed aside any reservations the crowd may have had and by the time Loud shifted into Rats. Thrashing had taken over the venue. As I looked behind me and into the crowd during Devil’s Night, I noticed more and more fans screaming along.  Unstoppable was given a much heavier sound than the band’s studio version. As vocalist Chris Motionless addressed the crowd, thanking us for our continued support of the band, he asked that we sing along with the next song. It was really cool to hear a few thousand voices screaming and chanting A-M-E-R-I-C-A.
For their cover song, MiW chose System of a Down’s Chop Suey. I’ve not had the chance to hear this performed live by the band yet. As much as I would have rather had the guys play another cut from Graveyard Shift, they did an amazing job with this cover. At one point the crowd’s screams almost drown out Chris Motionless’ vocals.
Motionless then dedicated Eternally Yours to the fans, and ended their set with Dead As Fuck, and Reincarnate. Motionless In White’s 9 song set was the perfect mixture of tracks from their 3 most recent releases and a cover song, with a focus on the cuts from the band’s current 2017 release, Graveyard Shift. If you get the chance to catch Motionless In White live, don’t miss it. These 5 men put on one helluva concert, whether or not they headline.
Little Miss Nasty’s took to the stage for a 2nd time, performing their heavy metal version of burlesque. Dancing and strutting around to Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Ozzy and Slipknot tracks, these amazing young women were the perfect primer for In This Moment.
The stage was being setup as a white curtain emblazed with In This Moment’s Black Widow logo was raised in front of the barricade. One highlight for their recent tours is playing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing before they take the stage. It’s always cool to hear self-proclaimed metal heads sing every word of a power ballad from the 80’s. As soon as Journey’s song ended, the light went out and Salvation began.
Opening with their RIAA: Gold Certified track Blood, In This Moment hit the stage with full force. Vocalist and founder Maria Brink, positioned center stage, wore a full length black gown and starburst crown. Bassist Travis Johnson, founder and guitarist Chris Howorth, and guitarist Randy Weitzel each wore black papal robes, their faces covered with emotionless white masks remarked with a single large black crosses. The Blood Girls, resembling twisted Alter Boys, waited in attendance on either side of Brink. At one point during the band’s opening tracks, the Blood Girls offered Brink a sip for a silver chalice.
Brink’s costume change was simple yet effective for River of Fire. Brink removed her crown and took us to church as she strolled around the stage in her black robes, clapping out the song’s beat. In This Moment’s fans turned into a congregation eager to accept the band’s message.
Adrenalize followed and gave us the most detailed choreography of the night. Wearing a half face crown, and full length black gown trimmed in gold with high slits up either side, Brink stood center stage as 2 of the Blood Girls positioned themselves behind her. The Blood Girls’ position and arm movement gave the impression of Brink emulating Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. It was brilliantly enhanced by the long gold fingertips extending from each of the ladies’ gloves.
Tonight marked my 17th time seeing In This Moment in concert since they first opened for Kittie back in 2007, and 11th since the band introduced their highly technical show with the Blood Girls. Even having seen multiple shows of each tour, their stage show never gets boring.
Brink then dazzled the crowd for Burn while waiving around massive sheer black wings. Her vocals soared throughout the arena, pulling the crowd deeper into the band’s set. Brink became our Angel who had fallen from Heaven and begged for our redemption.
As the stage lights dimmed, the crew placed a keyboard draped in white lace center stage. After taking her place on the keyboard’s bench, Brink asked the crowd to raise their lighters and phone lights then began Lay Your Gun Down. Off of the band’s soon to be released 6th studio album, Ritual, the track was haunting played live, especially with Brink bathed in the purifying white stage lights. I can only imagine how this track’s studio recording will sound.
After introducing the band, and giving the guys their time to thrash out with Monster Jam, a medley of tracks by Metallica, Slayer and Pantera, drummer and most recent addition to the band, Kent Diimmel dazzled the arena with a blistering drum solo.
Brink then entered the stage wearing a sheer black veil and carrying a bouquet of white roses. Chris Motionless of Motionless In White followed soon after and provided duet vocals for Black Wedding. The track, recently premiered live and also found on the band’s upcoming Ritual release, was originally recorded with Metal God and Judas Priest founder Rob Halford. It was spectacular to once again hear how well Motionless’ vocals perfectly meld with Brink’s.
Thrashing heavy into the crowd, Sick Like Me followed and the mosh pits opened once again. Black Widow, a fan favorite, had Brink and the knife wielding Blood Girls stalking around the stage slasher film-esque hacking at Howorth and Weitzel. Brink even took the stage show a step further and led Weitzel around on his chain leash.
Closing out their main set, three glowing orbs heralded the end of tonight’s ritual. Brink and the Blood Girls, each in white robes, swayed back and forth holding those glowing globes for Oh Lord. Their movement similar to a Wiccan summoning ritual.
In This Moment weren’t really done with us though. As the stage remained dark, Brink’s voice cut through the cheers, and a podium was placed center stage.
“Is there something we’re forgetting, Cedar Rapids,” she asked of the crowd. “Is there something you want to hear?”
A few thousand voices responded in unison. “WHORE!”
Instead of playing Natural Born Sinner as the introduction for Whore, audio clips of Martin Luther King Jr and other equal rights activists were heard. The Blood Girls, dressed as Handmaidens, walked on stage carrying signed mark with large red letters spelling out SHAME and positioned themselves on either side of the podium.
Brink then took her place behind her podium, dunce cap on her head. The crowd cheered its approval. Brink loudly cracked her yard stick on the podium, and the crowd fell silent.
“Ugly. Fat. Worthless. Pathetic. Disgusting whore. When I was growing up,” she admitted to the crowd, “I was told all I was all of these.”
If tonight’s concert had one message, it was that of unity. Thousands of strangers gathered into one arena. Each of different races, religions, and sexual orientations. But none of that mattered. Tonight we were all one family and part of the Blood Legion.
As the band whirled and jammed on stage, and Brink flailed about from her podium, and a few hundred balloons of various sizes and colors dropped from the ceiling. Tonight we closed out In This Moment’s set celebrating our diversity. Whore was our anthem.
No fan would be content with musicians simply standing on stage and playing their music straight off of their albums. That’s why we have spectacular light shows, and stage costumes. What first drew you to bands like KISS, Alice Cooper, Elvis Presley, or Slipknot? It may have been the music that first sparked your interest, but it’s their stage shows that captured you. I can say the same about In This Moment. With the current leg of the Half God/Half Devil tour, In This Moment have evolved their live show to a level that few other bands have achieved. Whether it’s Brink’s precise choreography with the Blood Girls, Weitzel being lead around the stage like a dog on a leash, Howorth lurking menacingly in the shadows of the stage lights, or Johnson stalking stage right, In This Moment have found the perfect combination of live visuals and music. Their live shows are more than a concert. It’s a full on theatrical experience.

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