Photo & Review by Ed MacLaren


Christmas came early to Texas this year as In This Moment‘s A Winter To Remember tour made its way to San Antonio. But as Santa’s sleigh slid to a stop atop Scout Bar, it looked like vocalist Maria Brink‘s only Christmas wish would be for a functioning ear monitor system. Dressed in a candy cane mini-dress and fuzzy boots and surrounded by sparkling Christmas trees, tinsel and strings of light, Brink, along with guitarists Chris Howorth and Blake Bunzel, drummer Jeff Fabb and new bassist Kyle Konkiel took the stage to the throbbing metalcore of “Next Life” and instantly turned the crowd into a sea of banging heads. However, it didn’t take long before ear monitor issues had Brink spending more time at her monitor stack than at the front of the stage. Despite the obvious distraction, Brink and the band pushed through ear-crushing versions of “Prayers”, “The Great Divide” and “All For You” before Brink apologetically brought the show to a halt to rush backstage. Brink comes across as very sweet and soft spoken when she’s not screaming like a banshee but from her look of frustration, those responsible should have stayed away from the spiked egg nog. In This Moment has been riding a wave of success since 2007’s “Beautiful Tragedy” followed the next year by “The Dream”. Constant appearances over the last two years with Ozzfest, the Vans Warped Tour and periodic festival spots at the Download Festival have turned the band into a touring monster. Malfunctioning guitars, drums and even ear monitors are daily irritations but the best bands take it in stride. Within moments Brink was back – ear monitor fixed – and definitely more in the Christmas spirit. In This Moment then blasted into a string of their strongest tracks from “The Dream”. While “The Dream” featured more clean vocals instead of Brink’s trademark screams, the slashing riffs of “Mechanical Love”, and the single “Forever” kept the energy level high and gave her a chance to focus on another weapon in her vocal arsenal. Muscially, the band played as tight as Santa’s belly after a Christmas Eve eating cookies and milk. Howorth, dreadlocks swirling like a helicopter, kept the riffs coming and the breakdowns fast and heavy but the show belonged to Brink from beginning to end. Brink’s instrument is incredible, vocally changing from a guttural yowl to a powerful melodic wail in a heartbeat but her solo turn on piano with the ballad “Into the Light” showed an emotional range had held the audience enraptured. Eyes closed and soaked in sweat, she sang the song of hope in a raw clean voice making the lyrics sound just as personal to her now as the day she wrote it. Just to make sure the audience remembered they were at a metal show, In This Moment finished strong with a blistering take on “Ashes” – with guest screams from Chris Cerulli of opening band Motionless in White – and a truly majestic version of “Beautiful Tragedy”. With the crowd primed for more, the band returned for a well deserved encore – not to the stage, but to the middle of the Scout Bar floor. Taking the mosh pit to the next cardio-inspired level, the audience literally ran circles around the band in a “circle pit” while the band slashed through “Daddy’s Falling Angel”. Things are looking good for a new In This Moment CD in 2010 which means more touring and possibly another visit to San Antonio. For now, there was nothing left for fans to do but head home and nestle all snug in their beds while visions of sugar plums and a killer In This Moment show dance in their heads.

 

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