Last Friday night at the Rams Head Live in Baltimore I witnessed the most visually stunning concert I have attended this year. The bands were In this Moment supported by Motionless in White, Avatar and Gemini Syndrome. The vast majority of shows I cover are of bands I follow religiously. These bands I wasn’t as familiar with, but you can bet that will soon change. When the tour was announced the discussion by the fans of the bands lit up the Facebook groups and other internet forums, which piqued my curiosity. On this Half God Half Devil tour, In This Moment and the cohorts of supporting bands have been selling out venues left and right. And this Baltimore show was sold out months in advance. So I let this review be an unbiased assessment of the captivating live performance of the all the bands on the given night.
The prelude to the fans started on shaky grounds. The entire Washington DC metropolitan area was rattled by a thunderstorm during late afternoon, maybe a sign from the metal Gods to the fans who have made the trek to Baltimore, with a few coming all the way down from Ohio and West Virginia. As soon as I walked through the airport tight security of Rams Head Live, I witnessed the most excited group of heavy metal fans I have seen in Baltimore. The venue was jam packed, a testament that the fans were there to witness not only the headliner but every single band on the bill. Many fans were dressed in funky costumes like the ones worn by Maria Brink, the front woman of In This Moment in case you did not know, on the stage. Gemini Syndrome, led by Aaron Nordstrom on the vocals, took command of the stage right from the get go. And once the set was over, the drummer came to the midst of the crowd and started stamping the Gemini Syndrome logo on the hands, and in one case of a heavily tattooed guy the neck, of the fans driving them to a manic frenzy. Excellent job Gemini Syndrome, this is one hell of a way to keep the attention of fans!
Avatar, a band from Gothenburg (Sweden), brought a freakish cartoonish clown like energy to the stage. The tall lanky Johannes Nordstrom, lead singer with a variety of exaggerated facial expressions, is truly the frontman of the band. You just can’t take the eyes off of the antics of this guy during their set. Many have described the stage persona of this band as circus inspired, but I digress to say that he reminded me more of the Joker of the classic DC comics (not Heath Ledger one). The fans in the crowd were singing along with Nordstrom, with chants of “Avatar Avatar” ringing out in between the songs. I would love to see them headline a show in future just for the sake of the visual experience.
Motionless In White, a metal band from Scranton Pennsylvania provided the darkest set of the night. Chris Motionless Cerulli led his band with powerful vocals and an intimate interaction with the crowd, despite the barrier separating the crowd from the stage. He reiterated multiple times that in the past he used to head to the Rams Head as a fan from not so far Scranton to attend shows there. The dark ambiance added to the gloomy atmosphere created by their music. Their stage presence is something that can’t be described in words or photographs, it’s an experience all it’s own.
Finally, it was time for In This Moment. A white curtain was brought on to cover the front stage when the stage props were being assembled. As soon as the curtain was drawn off the crowd were treated to a Maria Brink making a dramatic and theatrical appearance in a golden dress, like the one work by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 classic, amidst billowing smoke. The well synchronized and beautifully choreographed movements of her and her two performers in company helped create a mystical and sublime theatrical atmosphere with aplomb. As the set progressed she changed costumes after almost every song and the lighting pattern changed accordingly. The multiple persona and environment brought on to the stage by her was something I had never witnessed in a metal concert before. The soaring vocals of Maria Brink added to all the factors that had the crowd going. Maria Brink, spent a significant amount of time giving a prolonged introduction of her bandmates to the crowd, with each band member performing a solo right after the introduction. Very nice to see such a heartfelt introduction of your fellow band members Maria Brink, you are well and truly of the finest ones! This was a truly night of the odd ones, each bringing a completely different ambiance and musical style to the stage. After witnessing this night, I am convinced that we need more bands like In This Moment, and certainly need more enigmatic personalities like Maria Brink. This diversity in styles is what makes heavy metal special. If you are an avid fan of any of these bands, I truly hope you have already bought a ticket to a show, chances are that your nearest show is sold out. And if you are not someone who follows any of these bands, you should start looking at the secondary market. This is one show worth attending even if you are not a huge follower of the bands’ music. I will certainly be attending the shows of In This Moment the next time they are in my area again, just for the theatrical brilliance. We will be reviewing tons of great shows in the next few months, so keep following us. Until then, adios!