Sunday August 7, In This Moment, Korn, and Rob Zombie played a packed Riverbend Music Center bringing the Return of the Dreads Tour to Cincinnati. The summer trek stretched through over 20 dates with Maria Brink and Co. opening with co-headliners Korn and Zombie switching spots nightly.
With scorching heat, the blond locked lady entertained the crowd with a multitude of costumes and role play characters acted out through seven songs. Korn came out with a barrage of stage lights and video screen but a toned down presentation compared to the theatrics they were sandwiched between. Rob Zombie headlined the evening with a stage full of monstrosities that you’d come to expect from the dread-headed director.
In This Moment’s show was a combination of living, breathing horror movie, Silent Hill recreation, with teases of movies after dark, sprinkled with burlesque ingredients. The lights went out as the crowd waiting for the enchanted dark mistress of the evening to emerge from the curtain. “The Infection” played over the speakers as drums hammered down and sirens screamed their red warning. The opening dreads flew a plenty as masked guitarist Chris Howorth carried the presence of Leatherface, bassist Travis Johnson performed like riding battalion style on Fury Road, dreaded guitarist Randy Weitzel could’ve passed for Firefly family blood, a dead voodoo pirate or corpse painted Norwegian with drummer Kent Diimmel playing joker on skins.
Brink’s dark rimmed, skeleton painted twin succubus’s emerged, Tourist Trap masked, ready to serve. She emerged bathed in blue light, wrapped in black like nights seductive shadow, with wiry nails ready to reap and jugulate. Her face covered in a shield of flowing blond strands. She began casting her web, iron grated shields in hand as the brothers in blood played “Sick like Me.”
She returned; more medically attired, steam cannon in hand while her lovely red horned assistant’s bandaged eyes ran red. Adrenaline laced needles came out to shoot the poison as the “Black Widow” symbolically stuck her venom into all curious spectators wanting to get closer.
The red chairs signaled it was time for the bunny’s to get playful as Brink came out red chested, pulling red lace to her throat “Adrenalized” in the moment, taking a stroll with the walking pole.
The ladies came out in pink as Brink mounted the red-crossed podium, holding the severed head of the siliconed, botoxed, lypo’ed plastic idols of what high society called beautiful. “Sex Murder Barbie” was homicidal royalty up in those Hollywood Hills.
The smell of the “Burn” swept over the pavilion as Brink emerged silver plated in superhero fashion, her black flagged wings soared through the smoke and air. That night in Cincinnati she was happy to be their “Whore.”
Weitzel walked out hockey masked ready for “Blood,” picking at his guitar like a torture victim. The crimson horned masks and claws of seduction came out, Brink pulling the chain of command, as they finished their set in what resembled a group horror movie shot.
Korn came on backed by a screen of revolving images, graphics and stock footage with rows of floor lights. Less theatrical but just as hard hitting they opened with “Right Now.” Davis yelled “Here we go” launching into “Here to Stay.”
New single “Rotting in Vain” from October’s upcoming The Serenity of Suffering sent a schizophrenic endorphin rush of lights cascading into the harsh heavy throw down of being treated and trampled like an insect on “Somebody Someone.” The mental portal/black hole opened on screen for “Did my Time” and “Coming Undone.” Davis thanked the crowd for still loving their music. Everyone there was the same collective person who came here to forget about their problems and have a good time.
Davis came out with the bagpipes, revving up the crowd to sing some nursery rhymes on “Shoots and Ladders,” ending with some justice to Metallica. For a song that needed no introduction Davis yelled. “Are you ready?”
The creepy chords of “Falling Away from Me” echoed through the speakers as the stage was bathed in medicinal blue and purple light. The quivering, blinking logo signaled the opening chords of “Freak on a Leash.”
The lights went out as Zombie’s intro spell-casting voice hissed out “The Electric Warlock Acid Witch” over the crowd. The stage was set like a madman’s playground, with life-sized Castle Grayskull, Snake Mountain type background with life-size boom box and screens. With a never ending moving machine of lights, stage cameo’s and horror movie images, all part of the greatest show on earth, or hell’s projection theater.
The show began with “Dead City Radio” Zombie dressed in hellbilly spiked cowboy thrills straddling the Nosferatu mic. The multi-screen surround experience showed vintage clips, videos and whatever sick, depraved images he wanted you to remember. “Superbeast” brought out sympathy for the devil, all 20 to 30 feet of him. Zombie thrashed, dreads flying like Medusa’s snakes. They couldn’t bite but by looks could definitely whiplash or maim. Surrounded by fellow ghostly ghouls John 5, grown up Eddie Munster bassist Piggy D and cross-faced, dreaded skinsman Ginger Fish, he kept good company.
The big, bad chrome domed extra-terrestrial came out to party on “Everybody’s F—king in a UFO” with plenty of alien mannequins tossed around. They went back to the mid-‘90s for “More Human than Human.” Zombie went to the crowd barrier and sang along with the front row then jumped on the speakers to make everyone feel closer. Use my body to keep you alive, they’re “Never gonna Stop.”
He looked out into the crowd and said he found the lack of cell phones disturbing. He asked everyone to take them out and light the place up, just like a Scorpions video. The next one was a little ballad for the ladies. “Dedicated Gore Whore” came with a load of busty balloons.
John 5 took center stage, making his guitar scream and sing, as Zombie secretly took an unannounced stroll through the crowd. The opening riff to “Thunderkiss” hit as he touched stage. He asked (nicely) for everyone to put their phones away for the next three minutes. Not three hours, three minutes. The sound of a one-handed clap is just not the same.
The preview for 31 came on, out in select theaters Sept. 1. John 5 played the buzz saw riff as the big beastly bone podium was wheeled out for “Dragula,” closing the show.
Images by Mike Ritchie