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Last night, adoring fans gathered at Ziggy’s Music Venue in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for the Hell Pop Tour II. The tour is headlined by metal band In This Moment with opening acts Butcher Babies, Devour the Day, All Hail The Yeti and Before the Mourning.
By 6:00 P.M., the time the doors were scheduled to open, a line had formed outside the venue and weaved its way through the entire parking lot. As the time ticked by and the doors still hadn’t opened, chilly patrons began to get antsy. Eventually, a venue security guard walked the line to explain that one of the bands had arrived late and they were waiting to let people in until sound check completed. A holler of excitement rang out as the doors finally opened at 6:30 P.M.
Unfortunately, because of the delay there wasn’t much lag between door time and when the first band Before the Mourning took the stage. The venue was still mostly empty, but the Los Angeles, California native metal band poured all their energy into their short set. A brief pause occurred between Before the Mourning and All Hail The Yeti’s sets, as the stage filled up with exotic props. All Hail The Yeti also had similar vibes as Before the Mourning – also being a metal band from Los Angeles.
Though Devour the Day has only been around since 2012, they have obviously already garnered a myriad of supporters. The hard rock band carried the least heavy sound of the night, but that certainly did not put them at a disadvantage as the fans tossed up rock fists and sang along to nearly every song. They saved their first single “Good Man” for their last song, which fans recognized immediately by the first strum of a guitar.
Butcher Babies returned the show to the heavy metal theme and were also not lacking in supporters. The band brought a unique sound and performance, highlighted by two frontwomen: Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey. Their stage set up was barren, giving the two ladies the ability to run from one side of the stage to the other, tossing their long locks around. Both women were bold and unabashed in terms of both appearance and voice, freely stepping across the barricade to touch and otherwise interact with admirers.
The stage was finally turned over to In This Moment, a metal band fronted by one of The Hottest Chicks in Metal, Maria Brink. In This Moment has quickly gained fame and popularity since their inception in 2005, when Brink formed the band with guitarist Chris Howorth. The two are joined by Tom Hane (drums), Travis Johnson (bass) and Randy Weitzel (guitar).
As the track “It Is Written” off their fourth and newest studio album Blood played in the background, the stage was filled with fog. Two scantily clad dancers sporting white masks and cropped black wigs crawled through the fog and around a gated stage prop. Hane made a quiet entrance to his drum set while Howorth, Johnson and Weitzel fill their places on stage. The center stage was lit up and Brink’s outline was revealed in the fog while “Rise With Me” began to blare through the sound system. She stepped onto a platform covered in white skulls and immediately envelops the crowd with extreme vocals that range from beautiful melodies to barely recognizable screams.
In This Moment’s set stayed high energy as they continued on with “Adrenalize,” “Blazin'” and more. Halfway through the show, Brink was left to perform a solo of “Into the Light,” followed by a cover of “Closer,” originally performed by Nine Inch Nails. Hane took over the spotlight with an impressive drum solo, then the band rejoined him to play three more songs before exiting the stage after performing “Whore.” Devotees screamed for Maria and In This Moment until the band returned to indulge showgoers with the encore song “Blood.” At the final closing, all members, including the dancers, joined Brink on her platform to thank the audience and take a bow.
The most devout fans had the opportunity for a VIP experience to meet and green with Brink after the show. The other bands meandered throughout the venue, taking pictures and signing autographs for new friends and supporters.
Hell Pop Tour II comes to a close on January 25, in Cape Coral, Florida, before In This Moment embarks out on the Shiprocked cruise. There are no further tour dates announced following the cruise, but there is always hope for them to be seen on one of this year’s many upcoming summer festivals!