Live gig review and photo credit: Adrian Hextall (Journalist / Writer / Contributor)
As I arrive at 4pm to interview openers Starset, there is already a substantial queue of die hard In This Moment fans, desperately hoping to grab barrier spot for the show tonight. The show is completely sold out and reflects the popularity of the head-liners and the fact that tickets are a mere £12 doesn’t hurt either! Can anyone remember when a ticket was that cheap for a band as big as In This Moment? It’s truly refreshing to see such a high profile band happy to play to a capacity crowd without having charged them an arm and a leg to get into the venue.
The last concert of the band’s current European tour sees them bringing one of the most theatrical stage shows I think I’ve seen in a long time. Not wanting to be outdone, a large portion of the crowd have dressed up appropriately as well. There are spiders on outfits, tattoos, leather, boots with soles adding a good six inches to the wearers height and lastly to give the event a truly Gothic feel, a guy dressed in a bright yellow banana suit.
Opening with new single ‘Sick Like Me’ [check out the video below] , the crowd (as you might expect) bunch up and surge forward towards the stage like disciples flocking to their spiritual leader. That spiritual leader is of course Maria Brink. She is wearing an outfit that suggests an aristocratic, elegant woman, complete with wide brimmed hat. But as the smoke clears, the elegance and aristocracy give way to a sense of foreboding as if the Bride of Dracula was slowly walking towards us. The talons on her hands could rip a man to shreds and the theatrical horror theme, akin to Alice Cooper at his best pervades throughout the rest of the show. The KOKO’s stage changed ‘outfits’ as many times as Maria and her two accompanying dancers. Everything was complimentary, the dancers outfits adding to but never overshadowing Maria’s and the stage sets designed in such a way to provide maximum impact visually to an adoring crowd.
The rest of the band are of course present to play riff heavy metal and although the visuals provide a fabulous backdrop to the whole show, the music still takes centre stage. Both Chris Howorth and Randy Weitzel prowl stage left and right like lycanthropic twins, a blur of hair, beards, leather and guitars. Travis Johnson and Tom Hane do suffer slightly as the smaller stage forces them to the back to give Maria and her dancers room to move. Tom Hane is able to occasionally acknowledge the band and finally gets to bask in the limelight with a short solo late in the set. Likewise Travis is hidden behind the scenes which is a shame as the face mask he’s become so well known for wearing is truly menacing when seen up close. Thankfully he too appears later in the set with the two guitarists either side of him.
Maria Brink knows she can captivate a crowd and takes the opportunity to do so on several occasions. Most of the songs performed this evening are from recent albums ‘Blood’ and ‘Black Widow’ and showcase a very versatile singer, capable of soft, mellow vocals punctuated with some roars and howls that are up there with the best of them.
Even though the theatrically and musically heavy numbers dominated the set, there were moments of pure serenity.
‘Into the Light’ slows the set down and sees Maria sat atop a chair with multiple beams of white light holding her and the audience in thrall as she sings what must be an extremely personal song for her, such is the level of emotion she puts into the performance. The hushed crowd bursts back into life as the song concludes and normality (is there such a thing during an In This Moment show?) resumes as the volume and energy ramps back up thanks to a medley of ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ and ‘Cowboys from Hell’.
‘Whore’ sees full on support from the crowd who sing along to every word and then the band are gone. As Brink returns, she works the crowd into a final frenzy and then, the band perform their last number, the anger fuelled ‘Blood’. As the band depart to a rapturous response from the sweaty, happy crowd, the smiling faces suggest it was a great night both for band and audience. And only twelve quid! An absolute bargain.
Sick Like Me
Sex Metal Barbie
Into the Light
For Whom the Bell Tolls/Cowboys From Hell (covers)
Big Bad Wolf