Whatever your opinions may be of In This Moment‘s evolving sound, one would be hard pressed to argue that they are not one of the most visually arresting bands on today’s scene. Their current Half God – Half Devil tour is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. Likewise, Sweden’s Avatar have quickly climbed the ranks of today’s most impressive live performers. Sandwiched between the two was SoCal’s Of Mice and Men; friends of the former that should have been opening for the latter. Regardless, the three put on a wonderfully dynamic show as they blew through Idaho on October 27.
Avatar, who released the best metal album of 2017 with Feathers & Flesh, kickstarted the event. The quintet fronted by Johannes Eckerstrom performed a 7-song set that included tracks from their three most recent albums; Black Waltz, Hail the Apocalypse, and the aforementioned, Feathers & Flesh. From the latter they played the hits, “New Land” and “The Eagle Has Landed.” The band opened the set with “Hail the Apocalypse,” and closed it out with fan favorites, “Let it Burn” and “Smells Like a Freak Show.” “Paint Me Red” and “Bloody Angel” were also in the set. Noticeably absent was the new single, “A Statue of the King” from their forthcoming new album, Avatar Country due January 12.
Of Mice & Men are touring in support of their most recent studio release, Cold World. It marked the band’s first Boise appearance with bassist Aaron Pauley handling lead vocals after the departure of Austin Carlile last year. The band opened up their 9-song set with a new track, “Unbreakable,” from their forthcoming as yet-to-be titled studio album. The group placed most of its focus on its 2014 Restoring Force album, playing five tracks from the record including; “Would You Still Be There,” “Bones Exposed,” “Public Service Announcement,” “Never Giving Up,” and “You Make Me Sick.” The only performed one track, “Pain” from the most recent album, and two from 2011’s The Flood including show closer, “The depths.”
In This Moment has become the modern-day Alice Cooper, with constant set and wardrobe changes, a truckload of props and a cast of extras. Vocalist Maria Brink remains the primary focus of the show, and her incredible voice and stage presence never fail to pull the crowd into her embrace. The band opened with its mammoth hit, “Blood” and closed with another fan favorite, “Whore.” In between the group’s attention turned to its latest album, Ritual from which they delivered six tracks including; the hits “Oh Lord” and “Roots” as well as “Lay Your Gun Down,” “River of Fire,” “Black Wedding” and their cover of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” Midway through the set, Brink takes her leave while the guys kick out a monster jam of some classic covers including Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Also performed were the songs, “Sick Like Me,” “Burn,” and “Adrenalize.” Brink enthralled the crowd throughout, with the darkly menacing Chris Howorth (guitar), Randy Weitzel (guitar), Travis Johnson (bass), and Kent Diimmel (drums) serving force as her rhythmic metal minions.
All photos © 2017 Katarzyna Cepek Photography