In This Moment brings Black Widow tour to Stage AE

In This Moment’s newest album Black Widow has cracked the Billboard top 10, landing at No. 8 on the top 200 chart. Riding high on that wave of success, the band is currently out on the road with support acts 3 Pill Morning, Starset and Twelve Foot Ninja on the Black Widow Tour.

Each band on the tour brings something completely different to the table from the last. From the mainstream melodic hard rock of 3 Pill Morning, to the almost metal reggae sounds of Twelve Foot Ninja or the space-themed hard rock of Starset there is something for just about everyone to enjoy and, lest we forget the tour’s epic headliners.

The tour hit Pittsburgh on November 21st like a 10-ton wrecking ball, leaving the steel city in ruins in their wake. 3 Pill Morning got the devastation started with a killer set of melodic hard rock with titles like “Nothing’s Real,” “I Want That for You” and “Take Control.”

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The band had a great sound, excellent stage presence and a strong command of the crowd. Lead vocalist Jeff Stebbins paused after “Rain” to have the crowd pose for a group picture and told them to text themselves the band’s name so they would remember what happened tomorrow and dedicated closer “Loser” to the guy who stayed home.

Up next, all the way from Australia, was Twelve Foot Ninja. Their eclectic set and sound brought to mind Phish, Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, with a metallic reggae edge and their charismatic lead singer Nik Etik had a strong vibe and stage presence that channeled a young Eddie Vedder, after like 10 cups of coffee.

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Etik paused at one point to make sure everyone could understand their thick Australian accents and said, “This is our first time here. Thanks for being so fucking cool.” They may have been the odd band out that night, but the crowd ate it up and could not get enough.

Taking things to the next level and having the coveted spot of being right before the headliners, fell to Starset. Their name is quite befitting, seeing as they hit the stage dressed as spacemen, complete with blue LED-lit facemasks and drums to match, although their sound musically is more akin to vintage Linkin Park.

Lead singer and founder Dustin Bates, formerly of Downplay, even had a Chester Bennington-quality to him. Bates and the little oriental girl playing cello and violin onstage with them are the only two not in space gear. The strings added lush layers to the band’s already moody and atmospheric sound. Based on the traffic at their merch booth, they were the band that left with the most new fans.

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The fans were now properly primed and ready for headliners In This Moment. The band took the stage to unsettling mood lighting and a flurry of smoke. Judging from the overwhelming smell of marijuana- not all fake- as the intro music of “The Infection” roared through Stage AE’s rumbling sound system. The madness, moshing and crowd surfing had begun.

Their powerhouse set began with a blistering array of new material, including “Sick Like Me,” title track “Black Widow” and “Sex Metal Barbie,” to a massive audience response. With each and every song of the night having their own costume and set change as Maria Brink’s voice penetrated the darkness, giving positive affirmations on self-empowerment and self-respect.

The medley of Metallica, Slayer and Pantera was one of the true highlights of the set and allowed the band to take the spotlight at center stage as Brink introduced them and the crowd vocals on “Whore” were beautiful and majestic.

The near perfect sound mix and scantily clad back up dancers added further mystique to the fans enjoyment. Brink and company brought a young man on stage that was shaking like a leaf as they tied and bound him to a chair, for their cover of the Nine Inch Nails classic “Closer.”

They returned to the stage for the encore of “Blood” and by the song’s epic conclusion, everyone had been thoroughly entertained and left the venue spent and very content. In This Moment are on the precipice of greatness and immortality, so don’t miss your chance to catch them if the Black Widow Tour hits your town.

-Photos and review by Eric Hunker

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