The All Stars Tour landed in Milwaukee yesterday at The Rave and the lineup of bands was as strong and diverse as you might expect for an event of its size. I was there as a guest of the melodic metalcore band In This Moment that hails from southern California.
With so much talent gathered in one spot and only so many hours in each day the set times ran around a half hour. Each band showcased exactly what they were about in short but concise sets that satisfied the hardcore fans and hopefully won over new ones in the process. In This Moment took the stage shortly after 6 p.m., and the five songs they played offered the crowd a powerful look into what makes them one of the most successful bands in their genre.
Starting out with "Next Life" from their debut CD "Beautiful Tragedy," In This Moment pounded the crowd with a musical assault of the heavy but melodic tune that helped to define them as a band in their formative years. The five-piece unit - Jeff Fabb on drums, Maria Brink on vocals, Chris Howorth and Blake Bunzel on guitar and Travis Johnson on bass - stretched their abilities right out of the gate, and they certainly didn't hold back. It's a song that lets each member step up to the plate and knock one out of the park.
Moving quickly to a personal favorite, they played the title track to "Beautiful Tragedy," a real crowd pleaser that found Brink shifting from her powerful clean vocal singing voice to her heart-stopping and aggressive screaming voice, all while perched on an elevated riser that featured her now-iconic handmade microphone stand that looks like it was assembled from parts found in an apocalyptic wasteland: antlers, broken baby doll heads and parts, skulls and feathers, all providing a haunting but beautiful display.
"Just Drive" and "Gun Show," both from their last CD, entitled "A Star Crossed Wasteland," were played next. "Gun Show," which was released as a single, is an amazing and high-energy song that has a western-themed video you can catch on YouTube. It was the perfect vehicle for In This Moment to really throw down and shred. It's a song that demands to be played loud and with force, and that's exactly how it was performed. "Daddy's Fallen Angel," one more song from their debut disc, ended the show, and Brink ventured out into the crowd to sing in the middle of a circle pit.
There was a mad dash of energy and excitement in the room as the band onstage looked out onto the Milwaukee crowd to see their singer engulfed in the sea of bodies that circled around her as she belted out the song and gave it every bit of her energy and vocal prowess, her band offering up every last trick in their book to finish the show on the highest of notes. It was an impressive and memorable way to end their set.
In This Moment continues on the All Stars Tour until the end of August, and then will take a break from touring while they continue to write and record new music for a CD that should appear on store shelves next year.