Artist: In This Moment
Venue: Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Dr. Acula, Motionless In White, In Fear and Faith
Label: Century Media Records
In terms of my appreciation for how In This Moment delivers the Metal goods, I had to say that I have been pleased ever since I first caught them as the first band who was opening up for a show held by Kittie in NYC not all that long ago. They were impressive from the start and when they met with people in the audience they just seemed so “real” and happy to be a part of the mix. Since that time the band has released two solid albums and also found themselves on some legendary bills as opener for both Megadeth and Ozzy Osbourne. The latter show found them also playing with Rob Zombie and when you think about it, it is some pretty cool stuff for a band that is still relatively new at the game. They’ve visited NYC a number of times and I had not seen them since they gigged with Five Finger Death Punch as direct support, so it was nice to find them back in the Big Apple as the headliner on their “Winter To Remember” tour. They would bring along a number of acts whose names I was not yet aware of and the show in the city found one local opener kicking it all off. We made sure to get into the Gramercy Theatre nice and early to see what the whole thing was about. Here is how the night went down.
Dr. Acula: Apparently signed to Uprising Records came the first of what I was told were the “local openers”, and my how interesting it is to find the labeling of such a prospect being said with such disdain. Yet that was the case and after seeing the group that opened for The Genitorturers a few weeks earlier at this same space I had to admit I worried. Dr. Acula was a little bit more in sync to what I enjoy musically but not entirely in the pocket with what I like to see getting the audience started out on the show. They had a sound that employed the Rapcore/Deathcore with a dose of Grind tossed in which made me feel some focus was being lost. There was not much of a crowd for them or a real reaction so I am guessing that I was not alone. Mind you this sound does go over well based on certain other rosters so perhaps this was just an uneven call but good luck to them anyways. They maintain a seven member roster, so that cannot be an easy road ahead of them in this static music scene geography.
Motionless In White: Motionless In White was up next and actually appealing to me based on how energetic they were delivering their set. I didn’t know much about them either but felt they were more of an Emocore type of outfit and while that’s not my favorite angle in Metal, I gave some credit based on how good their singer Chris Motionless was handling himself. The band is signed to Fearless Records which was also something new to me even though they have been around for awhile. We’ve never managed to focus on their releases but perhaps that will change in the future. The guys appeared to be happy to be in NYC and a part of this tour and I am sure it helped them in some sense even though it was becoming brutally clear that the attendance numbers for this one would be rather low. One of the highlights of their set was a rendition of Rob Zombie’s “Dragula”. It had the whole crowd singing and it was amusing to see it done so close to its original vibe as opposed to being done slightly different. In addition to that, the fact that Rob Zombie himself was playing just about a mile away from this venue over at The Hammerstein Ballroom made this a fascinating choice of a set number for the band. Now onto In Fear And Faith.
In Fear and Faith: These guys were a two lead singer Metalcore outfit kind of like we see going on with Despised Icon but the difference would be that there is also some cleaner vocals utilized in their material while DI is primarily growling. They label the band as a “Post-Hardcore” outfit which I was just not seeing but perhaps they are indeed this. Either way it sounded like a conventional Metalcore band to me and nothing that was really blowing me away because I have just been seeing too many bands of this kind over the past couple of years. They managed to entertain the crowd of course and even though I didn’t know much of their material would assume that a decent amount of it came from their latest album on Rise Records called “Your World On Fire”. One of the highlights for me was hearing their very Metal rendition of the Coolio song “Gangster’s Paradise”. It was an interesting way to hear the song done and yet despite the added heaviness to the number I kept visualizing the riotous video that was done by “Weird” Al Yankovich when he his own version in “Amish Paradise”. I guess this is why Coolio hated him so much since it has to do that to more people than me alone. Oh well. Good luck to the IFAF guys in their quest for greatness and now the Winter to Remember tour would close up shop in style with In This Moment.
In This Moment: As I mentioned I was really happy to find the band doing a headlining tour because even though they are one of the newer bands on the scene in some sense, they do deliver the goods with their live show and do their best to get everyone into it. The stage this evening was decorated with small white Christmas trees and some other lighting that brought the winter spirit to life and slightly made me think of the way that the first go round for Twisted Sister’s Christmas show had looked. The other thing I enjoy about In This Moment is that they seem to be ultra energized by their fans and truly appreciate them. In all honesty they are probably very humbled by the good fortune that has found them over these last few years. Their latest album is “The Dream” and it was a great follow-up to their couple of years ago release “Beautiful Tragedy”. When the band hit the stage it appeared that singer Maria Brink was getting into the proper spirit of the season by sporting a Santa style jacket which was cut in such a fashion to better display her ink.
The set this evening would be a cool blend of the two albums and the group hit the stage with a great level of energy and smiles about being there. As I mentioned the group looks to be enjoying themselves and that is very important to recognize. Guitarist Chris Howarth had his fingers and dreadlocks a flying for every number and his skills on the fret board were only complimented by the shredding of Blake Bunzel. Drummer Jeff Fabb seems to have moved to a smaller kit and while showcasing some fancy footwork was not using two kick drums this evening. Sometimes “less is more” works very well when you are a talented skin basher and lucky for the others in ITM he is. The first difference noticed was that bassist Jesse Landry was not among them and instead we found Kyle Konkiel handling the bass. At the time of the show I was not yet aware that Landry had left the group and we wish him well in his future pursuits. For the most part the band was getting to every song that I had some fondness for and did their newest hit “All For You” rather early as song four. I love this tune almost as much as its album companion “Forever”. For “Into The Light” Maria would sit at a keyboard that had been brought out for her to use and while she started out normally on the tune would turn into a growler for the closing portion of it and I had to say that I did not like that at all. The album version is a stunning and touching number that just moves you and I felt why mess with success.
The show was drawing to a close by the time they reached “Ashes” from the first album and for this one Maria called out Chris Motionless from the earlier opening band Motionless In White. He worked well with her in a back and forth fashion and the audience seemed to enjoy this quite a bit. When they did the closing staple of “Beautiful Tragedy” I felt that we were calling it a night but I would be wrong for after this rousing number Maria spoke to the crowd and said if they could follow directions that they were going to do something special and come out into the crowd for the last song “Daddy’s Fallen Angel”. From this point Brink, Bunzel, and Konkiel entered the audience general floor region and had the venue security flank them. Maria instructed them to run only one way and in a circle around them in order for this to work out the best and safest for all and I was happy to report that the crowd did this like it was orders from the high command. I braved the inside of the circle pit to snare some moments of this little bit of controlled chaos and had to say that it was super cool of the band to do that for their fans. It is unlikely that one would see this kind of activity done at a Testament or Slayer show where the circle pit is probably the most dangerous space in the room.
This was a good time even though I felt I would have enjoyed it more with some different openers. I liked Motionless In White the best out of that offering in the end but could have passed on the others when it came down to it. The band was supporting not only “The Dream” but the release of the ultra deluxe “Violet” edition of the album and that showcased their own version of Blondie’s “Call Me”. With this being the case I was surprised that they did not do the tune since they gave an interesting version of it. The other down side would be the very dismal attendance that we found in the venue. This was clearly due to the Zombie show that was going on uptown because his show pulls the same audience in for the most part. I had to say that even though I knew he was playing I would have rather been here with Maria and friends because it’s a little more special and was their first ever NYC headlining gig. That in and of itself was cause for celebration and you knew that everyone in the audience this evening was a true fan of the way that they do things.
ITM Set List:
1. Next Life
3. The Great Divide
4. All For You
5. Mechanical Love
7. Violet Skies
8. Into The Light
10. Beautiful Tragedy
11. Daddy’s Fallen Angel
Since the band was doing their very first headlining appearance in the city tonight, we couldn’t help but take a snap of the Gramercy Theatre’s marquee which was brightly lit up for all passersby to see and perhaps even spark a little Metal curiosity in.