Augusta, Georgia (January 17, 2018) – In This Moment (with the support of Ded + @P.O.D.) entranced and mesmerized the masses tonight at Augusta’s Miller Theater. Between the theatrical presentation and the overwhelming presence of the music itself, the crowd was brought to their feet; fists pumping and heads banging. The acoustics of the Miller Theater where amazing, leaving you with the sensation of being immersed in a sea of sound. The music became a physical presence that consumed and surrounded you. With its clean modern lines, the Miller made for an extreme contrast against the grit of the music showcased at tonight’s performance. The soft, bright colors served only to amplify that this music, and those who came to be a part of it, where removed and other; a feeling that is echoed often in the music of the three fabulous bands seen here tonight.
The night opened with Ded, the greenest band in The Witching Hour Tour. They have only been performing a little over a year, but their lack of experience doesn’t hinder them in the slightest. They set the backdrop for their performance well, every corner of the stage covered in a thin haze and creatures with glowing eyes loomed behind band members Joe Cotela (lead vocals), David Ludlow (guitar, backing vocals), Matt Reinhard (drums), and Kyle Koelsch (bass guitar, backing vocals). Lights danced casting everything in shades of vibrant darkness that reflected the feel of the music. Much like the harder side of Linkin Park, the music of Ded drips with a feeling of contained chaos and the audience revels in it. The intensity of their attention on the stage is astonishing, and as they roll into their final song “Anti-Everything”, we see the kinetic energies finally take hold. People begin to flee their seats seeking out any available floor space to create small mosh pits and relish in the music they all love.
The next band is distinctly seasoned; they have been performing for over 25 years. Veterans in the entertainment industry and greatly cherished, P.O.D. (Playable on Death), took the stage with the same faces we have loved since their early years. Cousins, Sonny Sandoval (lead vocals) and Wuv Bernardo (drums, backing vocals), as well as Marcos Curiel (lead guitar, backing vocals), Traa Daniels (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Sameer Bhattacharya (keyboards, backing vocals) form P.O.D. This nu-metal band formed way back in 1992 and has since released nine albums and has amassed a large and varied following that transcends generations.
On mounting the stage you could feel the quickening of every pulse in the room, a physical rising in temperature. This only intensified when Sonny called all of us to our feet. He even commented on the lack of floor space saying “I apologize for these seats; it is very unusual for us. Feel free to move as you are able.” P.O.D. enveloped themselves in the performance of the music they are so passionate about, going on to play “Soundboy Killa”, “Boom”, “Murdered Love”, “Lost in Forever”, “Southtown”, “Alive”, “Get Down”, “Ghetto”, “Youth of the Nation”. This powerful set contained songs from their newest album as well as music spanning back almost half of their career. Sonny and band brought the stage alive with movement in its rawest form thrashing and bouncing enraptured by the music and adoration of their fans. P.O.D. gave that love back thanking and engaging their fans often through-out the show saying “You sound amazing! Y’all thank you so much.” When they sang along to “Alive” the energy they built on stage spread in waves out into the crowd and soon had fans lashing higher and higher ascending on waves of passionate sound; that wave crested when the band began their last song of the night, “Youth of the Nation”. What I saw then was a group of diverse people brought together as one unite, one tribe, by a music that speaks to that primal part of them. In that moment we were all the same.
The pièce de résistance of the night is immeasurably talented In This Moment. Their following is incredibly devoted and has surpassed many of those who have come before them. Forming in 2005 under the watchful eye of Lead singer Maria Brink and lead guitarist Chris Howorth, the band started life as Dying Star. Unhappy with the musical direction, they moved away from this name and by the end of the year had added some new members and the band we now love was born. Many faces have come and gone but Maria and Chris are always the constants. They released their first album in 2007 titled Beautiful Tragedy, and have released another five albums since. The most recent of these is Ritual, which dropped last year and is being promoted on this tour.
In This Moment
view the full In This Moment image gallery here
The band made a memorable entrance gliding on stage through the thick fog; the appearance held a lot of impacts, from the costumes to the setting. It was a procession of the acolytes: Chris Howorth, Travis Johnson (bass), Randy Weitzel (guitar), followed by their darkly shrouded priestess: Maria Brink. As they started in on their performance the crowd settled, completely enraptured by the display before them. Maria bewitched the crowd with the power that fell from her lips in the form of song. The show rolled before us in a parade of sexy, sensual, and tasteful costumes; imagery that clearly painted a visual picture of the words being sung flashed across the screen on stage.
A large sampling of tracks from Ritual was performed in the spine-tingling 11-song set tonight: “Blood”, “River of Fire”, “Adrenalize”, “Roots”, “Burn”, “Lay Your Gun Down”, “Black Wedding”, “In the Air Tonight” a Phil Collins cover, “Sick Like Me”, “Oh, Lord”, and the encore, their most popular song on iTunes, “Whore”.
We rose with Maria in her ecstatic dancing for songs like “Roots” and “River of Fire”; the drums pulsing in our veins resetting our heartbeats to match theirs. We fell into trance with “Lay Your Gun Down”; so when Maria requested we “Show her some light… let me see some stars.” we gladly obliged. In a moment the room was lit, as a clear summer night sky with hundreds of stars. Maria savored every bit of the loving devotion from her audience and paid it back “We understand you could be anywhere tonight, but you chose to be here. For that, I bow down to you.”
Maria even took time on stage to introduce us all to her musical family, and in that brief period of time, we were truly a part of it. Bonded in our shared affinity we stood bemused by this band we love so much and we were just that – a family. As we came to a close she drew us in for her final act. When she felt we had sufficiently expressed our need for just one more song she came and spoke to us about “Whore”. Whore, she explained, is about “Rising above people’s perceptions and ideas.” She recounted a bit of her experience with being subjected to these stating, “this is what I was told when I was small. That I would amount to shit!” and she shared her hope that this song would inspire us to rise above. When all was concluded her parting words where simple, speaking to the soul of why this band is so adored “Be kind to one another, take care of one another.”
To see any one of these bands is a life-altering event. To see In This Moment in person is to experience a contrast in the musical sensation that can only be compared to things better left unspoken; things that promise both pleasure and pain. We hope you will come out and see this tour – it does not disappoint.
Check out In This Moment’s tour dates here.
Ritual is ITM’s newest album, released July 21, 2017. This album puts a dark artistic spin on traditional secular religion; it speaks to love, redemption, and the pain of being different. Ritual features 12 tracks : “Salvation”, “Oh, Lord”, “Black Wedding” (featuring Rob Halford) , “In the Air Tonight” a Phil Collins cover, “Joan Of Arc”, “River of Fire”, “Witching Hour”, “Twin Flames”, “Half God Half Devil”, “No Me Importa”, “Roots”, and “Lay Your Gun Down”. Each song stands on its own but all flow together to create a whole that makes it worth listening to in serial just to get the full effect.
Photographer: Leelee Hawkins
Journalist: Kathleen Harpe