I don’t usually start an article with an apology, but this time I feel I must. See, we arrived at Louder Than Life last year while DED was onstage. I missed them, even though their publicist, “Brother” Ed Bunker had insisted they were not to be missed. So I wanted to start by saying, Ed, I’m sorry. You, per usual, were right about DED. More on those guys in a moment.
Any day or night that I can spend at the Louisville Palace is always great. I mean, what better way to spend a Saturday night than with 1,000+ fellow music lovers in such a beautiful venue? Right? On this night, I joined my fellow metalheads at my favorite venue on earth. I’ve said that before and I’m certain that I’ll say it again, but the truth will set you free. So I’ve been told.
The Louisville Palace hosted four bands on Saturday night. None of which were all that similar and let me say that I really like tours that give you a nice variety. DED, New Years Day, P.O.D. and In This Moment packed the Palace with an extremely diverse audience. I saw kids with mohawks, teenagers with piercings, older ladies flashing young men, older gentlemen two-fisting beers, lots of black clothing, a surprising amount of dudes in flannel and everyone in between. To me, that’s my kind of America and a show like this brings all cultures together. Music will always break down barriers.
First up was DED. This four-piece metal juggernaut from Phoenix, AZ brings a familiar, yet fresh approach to the metal genre. You’ll hear the influences right away. Fans around me were saying I get an old school Korn vibe, but the groove is more Metallica with lots of aggressive vocals. I can’t say I totally agree, but I also can’t describe them any better, so let’s roll with it. I will add that I felt a bit of King 810 or even some Killswitch Engage in their set.
DED was a very high energy band. The somewhat early set time was likely to blame, but the crowd was a bit reluctant at first. It didn’t take long for them to warm up though. By the time came for songs like “F.Y.F.M.” and “Anti-Everything”, most people were on their feet, which is all a band can ever hope for if they’re growing like DED. I walked away as a fan myself and from what I witnessed, so did many others.
I’m going to be completely honest, I had never heard a song from New Years Day before Saturday night. I totally respect them after seeing them live, but they just aren’t for me. Thankfully though, my opinion was not that of the majority. I am not bashing them by any means, they are really talented. They were extremely tight as a band, maybe the best band there from a technical aspect. People were on their feet and headbanging along, especially when they covered Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile”, but I just couldn’t connect vocally. I admire Ash’s courage for even trying to sing a Pantera song though. Their new song, “Disgust Me”, was the highlight of their set for me.
Ash took a few moments after their set to take photos with several young girls at the edge of the stage. That is how music lives. Those bonds will last a lifetime for those young ladies and that made me a fan of Ash. Look, Metal is a tough business in the first place, but being a female in Metal is a whole other level of difficulty. I wish New Years Day all the best though, especially since Ash is an inspiration to many.
P.O.D. needs no introduction. They’ve been blessed with a long and prosperous career. They’re professionals in every sense of the word. I’ve always enjoyed them on a personal level and photographing their set is always fun. These guys know how to put on a great show. It had been a few years since I had seen them live and I’ll admit that I forgot just how good of a frontman Sonny is. He always comes across as genuine, honest, commanding and has great stage presence.
With such a vast catalog of music, it’s easy for bands to fall into the “just play the hits” mode. Especially when fans can get a little demanding. Thankfully that’s not who P.O.D. is. Sure they threw lots of familiar songs out there, but they always keep things fresh by introducing new material. In fact, they opened their set with their newest single, “Soundboy Killa”.
They brought tons of energy and by their set time, the beer was flowing and the crowd was ready for a party. P.O.D. happily provided the soundtrack. Highlights for me included the aforementioned “Soundboy Killa”, “Boom”, “Rock The Party” and of course, “Alive” and “Youth Of The Nation”.
It was now time for In This Moment. This is a band that has grown as much musically as they have artistically. Many bands have a “gimmick” and I don’t generally buy into that. With In This Moment, it’s not a gimmick. It’s art and it’s incredible. The albums have become conceptual and the music now shares an equal spotlight with the visual concepts. Those concepts come to life right before your eyes on the stage. If you’ve never seen ITM in concert, treat yourself to a show. Even if you’re only a casual fan of the music, you’ll certainly enjoy all the incredible imagery.
Vocalist Maria Brink is a beautiful lady that knows the importance of people like myself. What I mean by that, is with so many costume changes, she knows that as a photographer I can help her spread her art. By allowing us to photograph their entire set, we become her messenger and I’m 100% okay with that! As someone who has been in music and now the press side of things, I think allowing photographers to capture the entire set is just smart business. It makes them a band that photographers want to cover and it also puts more lenses and ultimately eyes upon the band. Alice Cooper has made a career utilizing press in a similar way, for me at least, it just makes sense. Especially if you are going to commit to your art as deeply as In This Moment.
Their set was packed with many fan favorites. Songs like “Blood”, “Adrenalize”, “Roots”, “Big Bad Wolf”, their cover of Phil Collins classic “In The Air Tonight” and of course the encore of “Whore” made for a massively entertaining night. I met many fans and each of them seemingly had a different favorite song. My personal favorite on the night was “Roots”. That one is a bit more on the industrial side of things, but the energy and groove are absolutely undeniable in a live setting.
When you think about all the bands that have used a strong visual at their shows, you start to see a pattern of longevity. Think about it. KISS, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, GWAR, Slipknot, Rob Zombie and now In This Moment have all had long and prosperous careers. The fact that the visual aspect makes a concert an event is not lost on me. Pay the ticket price and enjoy In This Moment. You won’t be disappointed.