Last Saturday night in Milwaukee In This Moment brought their headlining Hell Pop Tour to The Rave. Motionless In White, Kyng and All Hail the Yeti supported In This Moment as opening acts for the show that went on from around 7:30pm to just after midnight. The tour kicked off in late October and runs through the end of November. The Hell Pop II Tour was recently announced and will happen during January, 2014 with Butcher Babies, All Hail The Yeti and Devour The Day opening the 15 announced concert dates.
From a photojournalist standpoint the show should have been a feast of visual magic. In This Moment's elaborate and thought provoking stage antics and props really play into the theme of their current album "Blood," and in addition to Maria Brink on vocals, Chris Howorth on guitar, Travis Johnson on bass, Tom Kane on drums and Randy Weitzel on guitar, two faceless dancers flocked Maria on both sides of her microphone alter.
From the start of the night it was clear that whoever was running the light show at The Rave had no intention of straying from the old standards of dark and red lighting that is the bane of all photographers existence. All Hail The Yeti played to a virtually dark stage. Kyng was treated to more of the same lighting tactics, as was Motionless In White. There was almost no point in trying to photograph any of the opening bands. Right before In This Moment took the stage it was kind of like a moment in Star Wars where a holographic Princess Leia is heard saying, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope." If there was any chance of saving the night from being a total photographic loss it landed squarely on the shoulders of In This Moment.
In This Moment sounded great last Saturday night. Let me get that out of the way first. While the set list was heavy with current material, as you would expect, the band wasn't afraid to dive head first into some classic material as well. There was even a take on "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails which found it's groove early on and never let up. Sonically, the show was a wild success. Maria sounded amazing, her potent and textured vocals ringing out loud and true in the mix. Chris was solid on guitar, he just keeps getting better with every tour. Travis, Tom and Randy were warriors onstage, unrelenting in their journey.
The light show, however, was abysmal at best and the photographic feast of visual magic never happened. The scene was backlit, dark and there was way too much fog from the smoke machines. Even with the ISO cranked to 3200, a wide open f2.8 aperture and shutter speeds around 1/160 of a second to freeze the frame the results were simply awful. The sad thing is that while there was just enough light to make an image, there was very little clarity or definition to the quality of the light. Everything was in shadow. The smoke and fog was a thick layer of haze that made focusing an issue and stole from us any hopes of quality photographs. There was almost a total lack of front lighting, which was the major issue of the night facing photographers. The Exif data from my photos shows that there was a 30 second period of time where some stray white light shined on Maria, but even those photos are lackluster without significant editing, and even then they don't stand up to the quality of images my gear produces on a regular basis. Sadly there weren't enough images to create a slideshow, so one photo of Maria is all I can offer for all the work I put into the evening.