Metalcore band In This Moment, brought their all-powerful Half God Half Devil Tour to The Wiltern Theater, in Los Angeles, CA on October 18, 2017, in promotion of their new album Ritual, released in July 2017. Joining them on this swing were Avatar and Of Mice and Men.
Swedish band Avatar took the stage starting the evening off to what was already beginning to look like a packed house. Johannes Eckerstrom (lead vocals), Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby (guitar), Tim Öhrström (guitar, backing vocals), Henrik Sandelin (bass guitar, backing vocals) and John Alfredsoon (drums) left the audience wanting a new album more than ever as they haven’t put out a record since 2016’s Feathers & Flesh. Playing songs like Hail The Apocalypse, Paint Me Red, New Land, Bloody Angel, The Eagle Has Landed, Let Him Burn and Smells Like A Freakshow, had those present on their feet and completely enticed. Donning his signature horror makeup, Eckerstrom’s vocals soared from Marilyn Manson style rasp to extreme screams. They are truly an underrated band, but it could also be that it has been quite a while since they have put out new music.
Following Avatar was local band Of Mice And Men who are based out of Orange County, California. With a name inspired by John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel, Of Mice And Men have recently completed the recording of their new album and were seemingly ready to get back out there and fans did not hold back as Aaron Pauley (vocals, bass guitar), Phil Manansala (lead guitar, back vocals), David “Valentino” Arteaga (drums) and Alan Ashby (rhythm guitar, backing vocals) played with overwhelming energy and took time to poll how many fans that were present and who had seen them before, and those who were there for the first time. Pauley yelled for everyone to bounce and the audience participated which bled into the rest of the set which included Unbreakable, Would You Still Be There, Bones Exposed, Public Service Announcement, Never Giving Up, Pain, You Make Me Sick, The Flood and The Depths . Overall, it was an impressive set despite the lack of superficial props which the act before and the headliner appearing after had brought to the show; so it seemed a bit misplaced.
Once the white curtain with a black widow on it came down, it signified timing for headlining band In This Moment, to come out creating anticipation throughout the crowd. As the curtain came up, the show opened with 2012’s newly Certified Gold record title song Blood, opening things up in true theatrical form with their dramatic true to fashion set that included pumpkins and a burlesque Nightmare Before Christmas theme. Maria Brink (lead vocals, piano), Chris Howorth (lead guitar, backing vocals), Travis Johnson (bass guitar, backing vocals), Randy Weitzel (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Kent Diimmel (drums) and Brink’s two incognito dressed back-up dancers began, they maintained and ended the show with 150% and nothing less.
After the removal of Brink’s robe into her first of many costume changes, which led into River Of Fire, from their new album titled Ritual, received escalated enthusiasm from the crowd with it’s catchy chorus. Weitzel and Howorth entertained the crowd while Brink changed costumes for the popular song Adrenalize Me and Burn, which are also from the Blood album along with new song Roots. Brink made a speech about the celebration of music as she sat at the piano and said “We are all here together as one. We came out hoping it would be a good time because you never know.” Being that the next song played was very special to her, Brink asked everyone to put up a light for the next song, the entire audience followed suit holding their phones up in the air in flashlight mode and there were even a few lighters as she began playing the eerie, heartfelt song Lay Your Guns Down, which is the final track from Ritual. Aside from creating an intimate moment with Brink playing a heartfelt piano, her voice was intense, raw, powerful and as always compelling. It changed the vibe a bit but it didn’t change the energy as Brink stepped off stage for a break, leaving Weitzel, Howorth, Johnson and Diimmel to play a cover of Metallica’s For Whom The Bell Tolls. This was a great way to keep things moving at the same tempo of excitement as Brink stepped back out to the Wedding March. Everyone knew what was next and that was Black Wedding, featured on the new album minus the vocals of Rob Halford as heard on the new record followed by Phil Collins classic In The Air Tonight. Infection, the first track from the Black Widow album produced more to look forward to as Brink and her dancers came out in black hats for Sick Like Me. The final song and first song off the the new album Oh, Lord, was the music video come to life with Brink and her dancers each holding a ball of light and by the end everyone knew this couldn’t be it and the band knew it too. Brink was heard off stage asking the audience to scream asking if they needed one more thing from them. The audience howled when Brink, Weitzel, Howorth, Johnson and Diimmel came back out with the dancers. Brink was wearing her infamous Whore dunce cap and she gave an incredibly moving speech about how when she was just a girl she was told she would amount to absolute shit and the next song was about taking what people hate about you or what they think they can say or use to control you. She continued stating to channel it from hate to love and being in control of your own life. As giant white balloons were thrown into the audience and bounced around like beach balls, Brink and the guys completed the show with Whore leaving their fans known as the Blood Legion completely satisfied. Brink’s voice didn’t skip a beat and the rest of In This Moment were just as flawless making their permanent impression on their hometown of Los Angeles.
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