FEBRUARY 28TH, 2015
REVIEW BY MELANIE BREHAUT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RITCHIE BIRNIE
There are certain bands in the rock and metal world whose look inspires their fans just as much as their music does: think Turisas’ red-painted faces, My Chemical Romance’s cartoonesque Killjoys, or Rammstein’s industrial militarism. So with winter taking one last opportunity to kick the UK’s ass (or possibly just ‘a typical pishin’ doon Glasgow evening’) an ever-growing colourful line of fans took their place outside The Garage to pay tribute to goth-tinged industrial rockers In This Moment on this, their opening date of their first headlining UK tour.
It was quite a sight to behold; peeking out from under a plethora of umbrellas and hoodies were several heavily made-up faces, elaborate costumes inspired by ITM frontwoman Maria Brink, back-combed and dreadlocked hair, and even the odd steampunk-style jacket inspired by support act Fearless Vampire Killers.
Doors opened promptly at 7pm and the line filed in, with the most ardent fans making a beeline for the barrier. The room quickly filled to capacity and a sense of anticipation hung heavily in the air.
First support came in the form of ‘cinematic rock’ act Starset. With a stage set that included neon gas masks for the band members and a large, hi-tech touchscreen monitor that vocalist Dustin Bates fiddled with throughout, they were certainly interesting visually.
Musically, their sound was rather pop-rocky, with a gothy, theatrical touch. Their songs, taken from their debut album Transmissions, were catchy and bold, with rousing choruses and enough singalong moments to keep the front portion of the crowd entertained.
Bates was certainly a multitasker, carrying not one, but two microphones and even playing synths on occasion. Whilst impressive, it was also slightly distracting – perhaps they need to add another member to lighten his load? Nonetheless they were fun and entertaining, with final number ‘My Demons’, their debut single, garnering the most enthusiastic response.
Loud teenage screams heralded the arrival of Fearless Vampire Killers to the stage. The band have been touring doggedly since their formation in 2008, with their fanbase growing along with them. Clad simply in black, they may have toned down the steampunk look of their early days, but their sense of theatricality certainly hasn’t deserted them: their music is brash, quirky and enormously good fun.
Co-vocalists Kier Kemp and Laurence Beveridge are both passionate and charismatic, whether they are singing alone or harmonising beautifully together. A funked up/roughed up version of Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’ (yes, really) gets more of the crowd involved as they sing along (some ironically, perhaps).
They wrap their set up with ‘Unbreakable Hearts’ from their latest album of the same name, which really demonstrates their gothy, storytelling songwriting ability, as well as their excellent ear for a catchy chorus. Thanking ITM and the crowd they depart, wreathed in broad smiles.
As a white satin curtain is abruptly raised, the crowd squeal with excitement, but they’ll have to wait – argh! After an agonising twenty minutes, ‘Cry Little Sister’ from vampire flick ‘The Lost Boys’ rings out and the anticipation in the room jacks up about two hundred percent. ‘The Infection’ intro from latest album Black Widow rings out, the Blood Girls dancers hit the stage, followed by the band, to roars of approval. And then suddenly, there she is: vocalist Maria Brink in all her glory.
They open with ‘sick Like Me’, and it becomes immediately apparent why the two rather thespian support acts were chosen for this tour: the theatricality of In This Moment’s shows has been ratcheted up several notches, overseen by the exacting eye of Ms Brink. “Am I beautiful?” she sings plaintively, to resounding roars from the ecstatic crowd.
Each song is followed by a brief break, during which Brink changes costume. Whilst this broke the momentum slightly in the beginning, the crowd soon learned to anticipate her reappearance – it was almost like she was inhabiting different characters each time she returned, whether it was a sexy nurse for ‘Black Widow’, a ringmaster for ‘Adrenalise’, or a dunce cap-wearing schoolgirl for ‘Whore’.
The trick to a successful gig is to sound like your recorded material – but MORE. Bigger, better, punchier. Tonight ITM sound simply massive, both musically and vocally. Brink is an unquestionable star, both diva-esque and vulnerable, often within a single song. Her screams were effortless, her clean singing was gorgeous, and her solo turn during ‘Into the Light’ was absolutely spine-tingling. She is simply the most captivating and sensual woman this dumbstruck reviewer has ever seen on a stage.
The crowd is frankly delirious, almost drowning the band out at times. Following ‘Into the Light’ Brink announces that the boys are “going to entertain [us] for awhile”, and as she slips offstage they blast into a medley of songs including ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ and ‘Cowboys From Hell’, which just goes off. A moshpit breaks out, heads are banging wherever you look, and even a brief drum solo is greeted with howls of appreciation.
At this point the crowd are so pumped up that they would scream if Brink read out a shopping list. Instead, they are treated to a fierce, pounding ‘Big Bad Wolf’, complete with cage prop, followed by a part a cappella ‘Whore’, during which the crowd actually manage to drown Brink out. She slips briefly from character as a delighted grin spreads across her face – which of course only makes the screams louder.
Their encore consists of just one song, the title track from the previous album Blood. It’s a ferocious beast of a number, and even more so live. And then it’s all over, bar Brink handing out some flowers and her dunce cap to a few overjoyed fans at the barrier.
In This Moment put on more than simply a gig tonight: this was a show. Part vaudeville, part burlesque, and wholly an immersive experience, this was the sort of gig that will go down in the minds of the audience as one of the best, ever. The band have moved on from their unsure beginnings as a metalcore band of sorts, as demonstrated by a setlist lifted almost exclusively from their two most recent albums, and have blossomed into a force to be reckoned with, both musically and as a live act. No wonder so many fans tonight dressed up; as Brink herself announced at the start of the gig, “In This Moment fans don’t just come to the show, they become the show!”. Indeed. Uplifting and dazzling this was, put simply, a phenomenal gig.
Sick Like Me
Sex Metal Barbie
Into the Light
Medley incl. For Whom the Bell Tolls/Cowboys From Hell (instrumental)
Big Bad Wolf