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AFTERNOIZ Archive

In This Moment, Rams Head Live, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, April 23, 2015 (With the Butcher Babies, Upon a Burning Body, and The Nearly Deads)


In This Moment, Rams Head Live, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, April 23, 2015  (With the Butcher Babies, Upon a Burning Body, and The Nearly Deads) Joe Prostredny

Ever since I saw In This Moment early last year, I’ve wanted to see them again.  I had never really followed the band at that point but I was totally blown away by their show and over the top stage presentation.  I became a devoted fan of the band at that show and have spent a lot of time in the last year listing to their older albums, as well as this year’s new release, “Black Widow”. I was anxious to see them again, now that I was more familiar with their music…  and I got my chance at Rams Head Live...

There were three opening bands that night, and the first one up was a band that I wasn’t familiar with: The Nearly Deads.  Now… when I was younger, I used to dread hearing that there would be a lot of opening bands, because I didn’t want to sit through a lot of music that I wasn’t interested in… just to eventually hear the band I came to see perform.  But over the years, I’ve gotten more excited about opening bands, because I’ve actually discovered some awesome groups that I would have never heard about if they hadn’t been opening.  Well…  tonight was one of those nights, because The Nearly Deads really blew me away!  The TNDs are a five piece hard rock band from Nashville, Tennessee.  Self described as “polished grunge”, they first formed about 4 years ago and have released two EPs as well as their first full length album, “Invisible Tonight”.  They are fronted by the charismatic and talented TJ (Theresa Jeane).  With her incredibly stunning voice and endless stage energy, TJ and the rest of the band did a great job of energizing the audience for what would be an awesome night of music.  The almost sold out crowd was very interactive for their set with lots of cheering, clapping, singing along, and waving of “horns” in the air.  I think they played about six songs, but I lost count.  Each one seemed better than the last.  I did recognized, “Fact and Friction”, “Brave”, and “Never Look Back” from You Tube videos that I had just viewed that day.  I wasn’t familiar with the others… but I intended to rectify that, and went straight to their merch stand.  I bought their albums and a T-shirt… which I proudly wore for the rest of the night.  This is definitely a band that I will continue to follow, and… I strongly suggest you do as well. 

Next up was Upon a Burning Body..  and they definitely kept up the energy level that the first band had established.  Upon a Burning Body is a four piece Deathcore band that hails from San Antonio.  I had heard of them before and had some familiarity with their music, but had never seen them play live.  They hit the stage wearing business suits and dress shoes… which I assume is their signature style as I’ve seen them dress like that in online videos.  The music, however, was not something you’d expect to hear in the board room… and they ferociously hit the stage with crushing death metal growls, frantic guitar riffs and a blistering drum cadence.  The audience responded in kind with a lot of jumping, crowd surfing, and moshing.  The set began with “Red Razor Wrists”.  They played what I believe was a 7 song set, but, as with the previous band, I got caught up in the music and lost count.  One of the later songs in the set, “Texas Blood Money”, seemed like one of their favorites as their vocalist, Danny Leal, really worked the audience into a frenzy.  I was especially entertained by the guitarist, who was incredibly animated, and pulls the greatest metal guitar god faces…  ever.  Their set ended with the audience participation favorite: “Turn Down For What” 

Direct support was provided by the Butcher Babies, a 5 piece metal band from California.  I was first introduced to their unique style of in your face, take no prisoners brand of metal last year when they also opened for In This Moment on the Hell Pop 2 tour.  I was blown away by their talent and showmanship and have been a fan of the band ever since.  They are fronted by two vocalists, Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd who both sing a blend of clean lyrics and death metal growls.  They hit the stage like they were charging into battle and the energy never died.  The head banging was savage and the other stage antics they performed required more energy than I’ve ever had, even on my best days. The vocal and the musical quality was excellent. I especially loved the brutal energy and style of the band’s drummer, Chris Warner.  The audience was really into them as well and the crowd surfing got extreme.  The band played for about an hour and gave us several great songs from the album, “Goliath”, including “Mr. Slowdeath” and “Magnolia Blvd”. There were also songs from their new cover EP including the creepy, “They’re Coming To Take Me Away”. It was a great set! I was a fan of them before and I’m an even bigger fan now!

There was a significant intermission after the Butcher Babies, due to the time it took to set up In This Moment’s elaborate stage.  An In This Moment show is a combination of a rock concert and musical theater… combining the best elements of both.  Maria traditionally performs on an elaborate central dais with two dancers/attendants, while the other musicians perform to either side of her platform.  On the last tour, my one complaint with the show was that the remainder of the band was a bit obscured by the smoke and large size of her dais (especially the drummer).  But this year they seemed to solve that problem by reducing the size of her dais and providing elevated platforms on the sides that allowed a clear view of the rest of the band. I was glad to see that they read my review from last year and took my advice…

The show began with “Sick Like Me” from their new album, “Black Widow”, with Maria dressed in the long black gown and long golden finger extensions from album cover and the video.  There was a costume change and stage modification for ever song.  The second song was the title track from the new album for which Maria dressed in the creepy nurses outfit from the last tour.  Her attendants dressed similarly while wielding giant syringes.  “Adrenalize Me” saw Maria change into what looked like, to me, a silver sequined Ring Master’s outfit.  A giant pink podium was brought on stage next, and Maria emerged in a pink jacket for the performance of “Sex Metal Barbie”.  One of my favorite performances of the night was “Burn”, during which, Maria wielded giant cloth wing like structures.  The twirling of the wings and the elaborate smoke and lighting created a unique and fascinating other worldly effect.

After the energy of the previous songs, we had a calmer moment while Maria remained seated on a cloth draped stool for the performance of “Into the Light”.  As you’d expect from the song title, this song was also accompanied by elaborate lighting effects.  The energy level rose again when Maria left and the rest of the band took center stage for the instrumental performance of “Fallen Heroes”.  My other favorite performance of the night followed as a large cage was brought onto the stage for “Big Bad Wolf”.  Maria spend most of the song dancing in the cage, intermittently “bending” the bars to partially emerge before retreating behind the bars again.   Combined with the lights and the smoke, the visual effect was stunning.  The final song of the regular set was the empowering, crowd favorite, “Whore” which Maria performed seated with her school girl skirt and “Whore” dunce cap.  The band then left stage and… as if they knew what was coming next, audience started screaming for Blood…  no, not the real thing (well, maybe a few of them), but the song “Blood” from the album of the same name.  The band was only happy to oblige and Maria emerged bathed in red lights dressed in a cape and elaborate headdress looking like a mythological Blood Goddess.  But all good things must come to an end and after the song the band took their final bows. 

This show was, without a doubt, one of the most elaborate spectacles I have ever seen in the metal genre.  In addition to the visual aspect, the music was great and Maria’s vocals were in top form.   I’m really sad I could only make one show on this tour… but with the frequency with which this band tours (are they ever not on the road?)… I’m sure I’ll see them again soon… and I expect to see all of you there!!


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